Exit Signs Requirements According to OSHA

OSHA is a federal agency of the U.S. that oversees health and safety in the workplace. OSHA standards cover a variety of topics, but one topic that applies to all buildings are exit sign requirements. Below, we look at the standards for exit signs in commercial and large residential buildings according to OSHA.

Lettering requirements

According to OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.37(B), exit signs must contain lettering that is at least six inches high, with the letters’ principal strokes being at least 3/4 inch wide. These requirements apply to letters that form the word “Exit” on a sign’s face and not non-luminous letters found on other parts of the sign.

Illumination requirements

According to 29 CFR 1910.37(b)(6), exit signs must have a surface luminance of at least 54 lux. However, self-luminous or electroluminescent exit signs can have a minimum surface luminance of .06 foot lamberts. The surface luminance of exit signs should be distinctive in color (e.g. red or green)

Mounting requirements

When mounting signs, building owners should refer to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) code 101. According to the code, exit signs should be mounted with their bottom not less than 80 inches above the finished floor. To meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, exit signs should be mounted with their bottom not less than 60 inches above the finished floor, and should contain information in Braille.

In each case, a sign should be mounted in a position where its face is fully visible when viewed from the egress path it faces.

Choosing the best sign for your building

Meeting OSHA exit sign requirements is a critical aspect of fire and evacuation safety. But building owners should also be vigilant about choosing the safest exit signs. For many building owners, photoluminescent exit signs offer the most safety, and the reasons why are obvious.

Unlike electrical signage, which could malfunction due to battery failure, explosions, or falling debris, photoluminescent signage contains no breakable parts and does not require electricity or backup batteries. Its luminescent technology allows it to absorb and re-emit photons from ambient light, creating a bright glowing effect. Thanks to our patented Glo Brite technology, our luminescent signage offers superior visibility at 100 feet and burns for up to 96 hours in total darkness.

In addition to being the safest exit signage, photoluminescent signage is also the most cost effective signage. Because its radioactive capsules require a special disposal fee, even electricity-free Tritium signage costs more to operate than photoluminescent signage. According to energy efficiency research, replacing 100 incandescent signs with photoluminescent ones can save over $3,500 a year in utility costs alone.

At Jessup Manufacturing, we understand the challenges that come with improving egress safety. That is why we’ve spent years developing photoluminescent egress products that are affordable, easy to install, and offer dramatic results. If you need signage that meets OSHA exit signs requirements, browse through our large selection of OSHA compliant signage for a design and price that meets your needs.


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