OSHA - Exits-Emergency Plans-Fire Plans

OSHA - Exits-Emergency Plans-Fire Plans

Course Description

The subject matter of this course includes Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans.  It also contains requirements essential to providing a safe means of escape from fire and similar emergencies. This subpart deals with the need to have a safe and efficient means of leaving a building or facility under emergency circumstances.

Accreditation Information: KLA Education Services LLC is accredited by the State of California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP16145.

Course Certification: Once you have completed this course, click on the “Print Certificate” option below to save or print your CE course certification. If you are not yet registered in a course plan with IvyLeagueNurse, please complete the registration and payment process so that you are able to log into your account and fully obtain your course certificate. Our affordable and unlimited one-year CEU plan starts at just $19.99.

Print Certificate Print Course

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the course participant will be able to:

  • List or describe the three parts to an appropriate exit route.
  • Discuss at least four characteristics of an effective exit route.
  • Give four reasons for developing an emergency action plan.
  • Name the required elements of a fire prevention plan.
  • List at least four of the five classes of fire extinguishers and the types of fires they can properly extinguish.
  • Describe at least four requirements for proper maintenance of portable fire extinguishers.

Course Content


  • Fires and explosions kill more than 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers each year

    • In 1995, more than 75,000 workplace fires cost businesses more than $2.3 billion.

  • There is a long and tragic history of workplace fires in this country caused by problems with fire exits and extinguishing systems

  • OSHA requires employers to provide proper exits, fire fighting equipment, and employee training to prevent fire deaths and injuries in the workplace


Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans: 29 CFR 1910 Subpart E

Fire Protection: 29 CFR 1910 Subpart L

An employer who demonstrates compliance with the exit route provisions of NFPA 101-2000, the Life Safety Code, will be deemed to be in compliance with the corresponding requirements in 29 CFR 1910.34, 1910.36, and 1910.37.

Exit Routes

  • A continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety (including refuge areas)

    • An exit route includes all vertical and horizontal areas along the route.

  • Consists of three parts:

    • Exit access: that part of an exit route that leads to an exit

    • Exit: that part of an exit route that is generally separated from other areas to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge

    • Exit discharge: that part of an exit route that leads directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside

  • 29 CFR 1910.34

  • Refuge Area

    • A space along an exit route protected from fire by a barrier with at least a 1-hour fire resistance rating; or

    • A floor with at least 2 spaces, separated from each other by smoke-resistant partitions, in a building protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system

  • Emphasis is on escaping from fires; however, some additional hazards include explosion,earthquake, bomb threat, toxic vapors, storms (tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.). Compounding factors that may interfere with safe escape include panic and confusion, poor visibility, lack of information, and misinformation. These factors frequently cause more injuries and fatalities than the hazard itself.

Exit Routes - Basic Requirements

  • Exit routes must be permanent and there must be enough exits in the proper arrangement for quick escape

  • Exits must be separated by fire-resistant materials

  • Openings into an exit must be limited to those necessary to allow access to the exit or to the exit discharge

  • An opening into an exit must be protected by an approved self-closing fire door that remains closed or automatically closes in an emergency

  • 1910.36(a) and (b) ; 1910.37(d):

Exit Discharge

  • Each exit discharge must lead directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside that is large enough to accommodate all building occupants likely to use the exit route.

  • Exit stairs that continue beyond the level on which the exit discharge is located must be interrupted on that level by doors, partitions, or other effective means that clearly indicate the direction of travel to the exit discharge.

  • Reference: OSHA 1910.36(c)

Exit Doors Must Be Locked

  • Must be able to open from the inside at all times without keys, tools, or special knowledge

  • Devices that lock only from outside are permitted. (e.g. panic bars)

  • Must be free of any device or alarm that could restrict emergency use if the device or alarm fails

  • May be locked from the inside only in mental, penal, or correctional facilities where there is constant supervision

  • Reference OSHA 1910.36(d)

Side-Hinged Exit Doors

  • Must be used to connect any room to an exit route

  • A door that connects any room to an exit route must swing out in the direction of exit travel if the room is designed to be occupied by more than 50 people or contains high hazard contents

    • High Hazard Contents: liable to burn with extreme rapidity or which may produce poisonous fumes or explosions in a fire

      • Examples include flammable chemicals and grain.

  • Reference: OSHA 1910.36(e)

Exit Route Capacity and Dimensions

  • Must support the maximum permitted occupant load for each floor served

  • Capacity must not decrease in the direction of exit route travel to the exit discharge

  • Ceiling must be at least 7-½ ft. high with no projection reaching a point less than 6 ft.-8 in. from floor

  • An exit access must be at least 28 in. wide at all points

  • Reference OSHA 1910.36(f), (g) and (h)

  • Information regarding “Occupant Load” is located in NFPA 101-2000, Life Safety Code.

  • Objects that project into the exit route must not reduce the width of the exit route to less than the minimum width requirements for exit routes.

  • An outdoor exit route is permitted if it meets the requirements of 1910.36(h).

Minimize Danger to Employees

  • Exit routes must be free and unobstructed.

  • Keep exit routes free of explosive or highly flammable materials.

  • Arrange exit routes so that employees will not have to travel toward a high hazard area, unless it is effectively shielded.

  • Emergency safeguards (e.g., sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire doors, exit lighting) must be in proper working order at all times.

  • Each exit route must be adequately lighted so that an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route.

  • References: OSHA 1910.37(a) and 1910.37(b)(1)

Exit Marking

  • Each exit must be clearly visible and marked with an “Exit” sign.

  • Each exit route door must be free of decorations or signs that obscure the visibility of the door.

  • References: OSHA 1910.37(b)(2) and (3)

  • If the direction of travel to the exit or exit discharge is not immediately apparent, signs must be posted along the exit access indicating direction to the nearest exit.

  • The line-of-sight to an exit sign must clearly be visible at all times.

  • References: OSHA 1910.37(b)(4)

  • Each doorway or passage along an exit access that could be mistaken for an exit must be marked “Not an Exit” or similar designation, or be identified by a sign indicating its actual use (e.g., closet).

  • Reference: OSHA 1910.37(b)(5)

Emergency Action Plan

  • Describes actions that must be taken to ensure employee safety in emergencies

  • Includes floor plans or maps which show emergency escape routes

  • Tells employees what actions to take in emergency situations

  • Covers reasonably expected emergencies, such as fires, explosions, toxic chemical releases, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and floods

  • Emergency plans include, as a minimum:

    • Escape procedures and escape route assignments

    • Critical plant operations shutdown procedure

    • Procedure to account for all personnel

    • Assignment of rescue and medical duties

    • Means for reporting emergencies

    • Identification of responsible persons to contact for further information

  • Employee training is necessary and an alarm system must be in place which has a distinctive signal. See OSHA Publication 3088, “How to Prepare for Workplace Emergencies,” available at www.osha.gov for more information.

Fire Prevention Plan

  • The plan must include:
    • A list of the major fire hazards and handling, storage, and control procedures

    • Names or job titles of persons responsible for maintenance of equipment and systems to prevent or control ignitions or fires

    • Names or job titles of persons responsible for control of fuel source hazards

    • Training for all employees who have responsibilities in the plan

  • The fire prevention plan must be in writing for businesses with more than 10 employees.

    • Businesses with 10 or fewer employees can communicate the plan orally to employees.

  • Accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials and residues must be controlled so they do not contribute to a fire emergency.

  • Currently a fire prevention plan is required by OSHA only where an employer’s written policy:

    • Requires immediate and total evacuation of the workplace upon the sounding of a fire alarm signal

    • Establishes an appropriate emergency action plan

    • Prohibits employee use of fire extinguishers

  • Reference: OSHA 1910.157(b)

Portable Fire Extinguishers

  • If portable fire extinguishers are provided for employee use, the employer must mount, locate and identify them so workers can access them without subjecting themselves to possible injury.
  • Employers can choose whether to train their workers to fight fires or to rely on outside services.
  • Reference: OSHA 1910.157(c)(1)

Extinguisher Classification

  • Letter classification given an extinguisher to designate the class or classes of fire on which it will be effective.
    • Class A – ordinary combustibles (wood, cloth, paper)

    • Class B – flammable liquids, gases, greases

    • Class C – energized electrical equipment

    • Class D – combustible metals

  • The class of extinguisher should be on the extinguisher shell. The picture-symbol labeling system now in use is designed to make the operation of fire extinguishers more effective and safe to use through the use of less confusing pictorial labels. The system also emphasizes when not to use an extinguisher on certain types of fires.
  • Because of recent information outlining the difficulties inherent in the extinguishment of fires in cooking appliances that involve combustible cooking media (vegetable or animal oils and fats), a new classification (Class K) has been established. This classification is not listed in OSHA standards. NFPA 10 specifies that listed and labeled Class K fire extinguishers are to be provided in these cases.

Extinguisher Rating

  • Numerical rating given to Class A and B extinguishers which indicate how large a fire an experienced person can put out with the extinguisher

  • Ratings are based on tests conducted at Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.

    • Class A: 1-A, 2-A, . . . 40-A

    • Class B: 1-B, 2-B, . . . 640-B

  • A 4-A extinguisher, for example, should extinguish about twice as much fire as a 2-A extinguisher

  • Class C extinguishers have only a letter rating because there is no readily measurable quantity for Class C fires which are essentially Class A or B fires involving energized electrical equipment.

  • Class D extinguishers likewise do not have a numerical rating. Their effectiveness is described on the faceplate.

Maintaining Portable Fire Extinguishers

  • Must maintain in a fully charged and operable condition

  • Must keep in their designated places at all times except during use

  • Must conduct an annual maintenance check

  • Must record the annual maintenance date and retain this record for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell, whichever is less

  • References: OSHA 1910.157(c)(4) and 1910.157(e)(3)

Portable Fire Extinguisher Training and Education

  • Where portable fire extinguishers have been provided for employee use in the workplace, employees must be provided with an educational program on the:

    • General principles of fire extinguisher use

    • Hazards of incipient (beginning) stage fire fighting

  • Employees designated to use extinguishers must receive instruction and hands-on practice in the operation of equipment.

    • Training and education required upon initial employment/assignment and at least annually thereafter.

  • “Incipient Stage Fire” means a fire which is in the initial or beginning stage and which can be controlled or extinguished by portable fire extinguishers, Class II standpipe or small hose systems without the need for protective clothing or breathing apparatus. [1910.155(c)(26)]

  • Reference: OSHA 1910.157(g)


  • There must be enough exits in the proper arrangement for quick escape

  • Exit routes must be marked, lighted, free of obstructions, and locks must not be used to impede or prevent escape

  • An emergency action plan and a fire prevention plan must be in place

  • Fire extinguisher classes and numerical ratings help a user understand its capabilities

  • Fire extinguishers must be inspected, maintained and employees must be trained in how to use them

Course Evaluation

Please select the extent to the following was met. (Disagree..Agree)

1. Course met objectives?

(1) (5)

2. Applicability or usability of new information?

(1) (5)

3. Adequacy of the instructor's mastery of subject?

(1) (5)

4. Efficiency of course mechanics?

(1) (5)

Course Evaluation

Please select the extent to the following was met. (Disagree..Agree)

1. Course met objectives?

(1) (5)

2. Applicability or usability of new information?

(1) (5)

3. Adequacy of the instructor's mastery of subject?

(1) (5)

4. Efficiency of course mechanics?

(1) (5)

Get Certificate

How would you like your certificate for ""?

Print now Download PDF

Print later, take me back to courses

Course Exam

Before you receive your certificate, you must complete the exam and achieve a score of % or higher. (You have unlimted attempts).

This exam is required by your state licensure.



We are required to delay the exam hours. Check back soon!


We are required to delay the exam until you have had time to view the course material. Please view the course first!

No Licenses on File

Please add a license to your account before you continue. Thank you!

Premier Healthcare Provider

Register Now