Means of Egress – Conducting a workplace Inspection
Means of Egress, which refer to Emergency Exit Routes, is one of the standards adopted by OSHA in 1971. According to theAct (1970), the primary objective of the regulation is to spell out acceptable minimum health standards in a bid to raise Occupational Safety awareness and consequently reduce casualties at the workplace in cases of emergency.
RealTime Investments is an IT Service provider that is premised on a storey building covering two floors – the ground floor and a floor upstairs. The ground floor coverage is spacious, hence allows ease of movement of customers without brushing shoulders with one another. The entrance door is two meters wide and is always wide open during business hours such that should an emergency occur, customers and the employees are both able to conveniently evacuate themselves to safety without crowding at the door.
Also, the stairs to the first floor are wooden. This serves to reduce chances of bodily injury should one fall on the stairs during emergencies. The floor also spacious and office desks are well spaced from one another. The whole office building is properly ventilated. However, there exists only one Exit Route door in the upstairs. Even though is it marked for visibility; the door is always locked. Currently, the business has 23 fulltime employees and receives traffic of about 75 customers per day.
Design and Construction of the Exit Route – 29 CFR 1910.36
Is the Exit Route Permanent? Yes/No
Is the number of exit routes adequate? Yes/No
Does the exit discharge lead to an open space with access to outside? Yes/No
Is the exit route unlocked from the inside? Yes/No
Does the exit route meet the minimum height and weight requirements? Yes/No
Maintenance and Operational features of the Exit Route – 29 CFR 1910.37
Is the exit route free of any hazardous physical obstacles? Yes/No
Is the exit route marked ‘Exit’ for enhanced visibility? Yes/No
Is the exit route maintained and during construction and repairs? Yes/No
Are the employee alarm systems operable and in excellent condition? Yes/No
Are the fire retardant properties of the exit route paints maintained? Yes/No
According to the OSHA requirement 1910.36(b)(1), exit routes should be minimized to two for ease of prompt evacuation should an emergency occur. RealTime Investments, however, has only one exit route in the upstairs floor. Given the large number of employees and the floor arrangement, this is a non-compliance issue.
Moreover, the business has not complied with the OSHA requirement 1910.36(d) stipulating that the exit route must remain unlocked from inside for ease of opening during emergencies, for the exit route for this establishment is always locked from inside.
Also, there exist physical obstacles along the way to the exit route. This too flaunts the OSHA requirement 1910.37(a)(3) requiring that no equipment should temporarily nor permanently be placed within the exit route. Within the exit route of this company, however, cartons of used furniture have been left lying along the way. Hence a possible obstruction should an emergency occur.
As enumerated as lacking, an additional exit route should be constructed in the standards that meet OSHA requirements. This exit should be on the ground floor to conveniently serve the customers and employees operating on the floor.
Besides, the exit route should be repaired so that it can be unlocked from inside without using keys. This would ensure prompt evacuation and consequent minimization of casualties should an emergency occur. Additionally, the way of the exit route should be made and always kept clear of the obstacle. The cartons should, therefore, be removed and stored at the appropriate place.
Furthermore, the employees should be sensitized on the occupational safety and health practices to enhance avoidance of emergencies. Further, an emergency drill should also be conducted to improve their response to emergencies and contain it to minimize consequential damages.
Summary of Overall Compliance.
The business, RealTime Investments, is compliant with the 29 CFR 1910.36 and 1910.37 OSHA requirements on Occupational Safety and Health Practices. In so far, neither of the emergencies defined in this Act has occurred. However, more needs to be done to tighten up on the existing loopholes so that an impact of a crisis is significantly reduced should on happen.
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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (1996). Exit Routes (Means of Egress). Published by United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/federalregister/1996-09-10
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Posted by United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=9724&p_table=STANDARDS
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Maintenance, safeguards, and operational features for exit routes. Published by United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9725
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