Requirements for Exit Signs in Industrial Spaces
While fires in industrial and manufacturing factories' properties have greatly decreased over the past several decades, it is still an important topic. From 2011 to 2015, an estimated 37,910 fires in industrial and manufacturing properties were reported to U.S. fire departments per year.
Thankfully civilian deaths from industrial fires have also decreased. All of this is in large part to better regulations and restrictions when it comes to fire safety, both proactive and reactive. In particular, emergency exit signage has come a long way and the regulating authorities that oversee fire safety signage for industrial buildings have put strict rules in place to protect both civilians and workers.
Who Are the Regulating Authorities for Fire Exit Safety?
When building or renovating a building you know you have to meet certain criteria in order to open your doors. One group of criteria is around fire safety for both guests and employees. Regulations for emergency exit safety are not only set up by your state and local fire marshal but also by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).
It is important to understand the requirements and regulations. Failure to implement them correctly or ignoring them altogether not only will put those in your building at risk but put your company at risk of hefty fines and penalties- including a shutdown.
Important Exit Sign Rules for Industrial Buildings
While you need to follow all the requirements for fire safety, we are highlighting ones that specifically shouldn’t be ignored for industrial spaces. It is important to keep in mind that electrical distribution and lighting equipment (24%), heating equipment (16%), and intentional fires (9%) were the leading causes of industrial structure fires from 2011 to 2015.
Hopefully, this will guide you to purchasing the correct emergency exit signs and egress products for your building.
Exit Sign Illumination
The requirements for exit sign illumination are created by NFPA and their Life Safety Code (NFPA 101).
This code dictates that:
1. Every sign required should be suitably illuminated via a reliable source of light. Externally, internally, and photoluminescent illuminated signs are all permissible.
2. There must be at least 1.5 hrs. of emergency light if the building lighting fails.
3. The provided emergency lighting should put out light that is at least an avg. of 1 foot-candle, and never less than .1 foot-candle. The regulation also sets out standards for the decline of the strength of light and the uniformity ratio of that light.
4. If a photoluminescent sign is used, a light must be provided to charge that sign so that if the lights go out, the sign will stay illuminated for at least 1.5 hours.
OSHA also states that all exit routes should be lit well enough that any employee with normal vision will be able to see the route. Also keep in mind that depending on your location, your city or state will also have various requirements regarding your fire exits.
Exit Route Markings
Beyond having exit signs, industrial buildings like other buildings, need to have exit route signage. OSHA defines an exit route as, “a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety (including refuge areas).” All exit routes are required to have emergency lighting and signage should power go out. This means that any area along the route needs to have these considerations.
When looking at your exit routes they are broken into three areas, each equally important to mark:
● Exit Access: The part of the exit that is the entrance to the exit.
● Exit Itself: This is the part of the exit that is separate from any other section or part of the building and offers a protected path of travel to the discharge.
● Exit Discharge: Where the exit meets the public way.
Photoluminescent Exit Sign Compliance
Photoluminescent exit signs are permitted in industrial buildings. Like other exit signage, they must be the requirements set forth by all regulating authorities. Specifically, look to the NFPA for illumination requirements.
Any type of exit sign you intend to use with internal illumination, such as photoluminescence, should be listed and comply with the standards of UL 924. UL 924 is the agreed-upon standard for power equipment as well as emergency lighting, set by Underwriters Laboratories.
Shop Code Compliant Exit Signs
Jessup Manufacturing provides industrial buildings with a wide variety of code-compliant exit signs and fire safety signage. Our popular photoluminescent exit signs offer buildings an excellent sustainable choice that requires no electricity.
Contact the team at Jessup Manufacturing to learn more about photoluminescent exit signs and egress systems. We look forward to serving you.