Thomas Galassi, Director of Enforcement Programs for OSHA sent out a memorandum to inspectors to pay attention to exits during their inspections, especially in light of the recent accident that killed 119 workers in China where exits were blocked.
In the memo, dated June 10, 2013, Thomas Galassi instructs inspectors to pay attention to:
1. “whether the employer has provided and maintained adequate means of egress from work areas”
2. that “exit routes are free and unobstructed”
3. that “exit doors are not locked”
Knowing that inspectors are going to be paying special attention to this issue, be proactive. Make sure that all exits are clearly marked with signs.
In areas where a power outage make make the exit signs hard to see, consider lighted exit signs that turn on when the power goes out or glow in the dark exit signs.
Above all, make sure that the access to the exits aren’t blocked and, of course, that they are not locked.