Emergency Lighting Standards: Helpful Information for Making Your Building Compliant

Local and national structural codes determine what emergency lighting requirements must be met in a commercial or residential structure. These standards are designed to ensure the safety of anyone occupying your building at the time of an emergency. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration created their own set of emergency lighting standards involving exit path identification. You might have to meet both sets of codes, or only one, depending on the structure’s nature.

The goal behind safety regulations is to ensure all employees or residents can make their way out of the building in a safe manner when needed. What would happen if your building had no backup lighting, exit identifiers, or safety areas? Individuals would most likely suffer injuries or get trapped within the building. This can cause unnecessary legal consequences, structural shutdown, and countless other issues you can avoid by meeting all applicable codes. The expense of proper signing and lighting is far less than the associated costs for not being code compliant.

Self Luminous Safety Signs: Backing Up Your Installed Disaster Lighting

An exit access is any building section that leads to a point of egress. Any portion of a structure used to separate a space or equipment used for safe travel outside the building is an exit. Every egress route in your structure must have sufficient lighting for visible maneuverability. Egress points are also required to be marked with an “EXIT” sign designed to be seen in low to no visibility settings. Doorways or egress pathways cannot be covered with visibility reducing items, nor be blocked by objects. Each egress sign is required to be legible, at least six inches from the floor, and show a directional arrow if not easily apparent. Identifiers can be lit by external, internal, or luminescent means.

Examples of internal light sources include incandescent, fluorescent, and LED or light-emitting diodes. Battery or a backup generator can power external sources. Self luminous safety signs are those that do not use a power source and operate independent from any other building factors. They are the most recommended among safety codes because they are reliable in an emergency.

Self luminous safety signs may be combined with emergency lighting to provide dependable egress paths for your occupants. Building codes have strict rules regarding both battery and generator powered emergency illumination. They must be present for a minimum of one and a half hours when normal sources fail. The provided lighting has to be set up so the average is at least one-foot-candle. Illumination measurements are taken from floor level throughout the egress path.

Maximum lighting cannot exceed forty times that of the building’s minimum illumination. This prevents the occupant from maneuvering between extremely light and dark points in the building. The system must be capable of automatic detection and operation. You should place lighting along every egress path and above exit locations.  Emergency lighting standards are far more detailed than what has been described here. Refer to your local code guidelines, or OSHA, to learn more about area regulations. GloBrite can provide additional signing to ensure you have a well enforced exit path.

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