If OSHA pays you a visit anytime in the next few months, you can expect that they will look at egress issues at your workplace. In the June 17 edition of OSHA's Quick Takes, OSHA issued the following:
"OSHA is reminding compliance officers to check for adequate means of egress at all workplaces. This follows the recent disastrous fire and explosion that killed at least 119 workers on June 4, 2013, at a poultry processing plant in China.
A memorandum sent to the agency's regional administrators and state plan designees directs field inspectors, when conducting inspections, to be mindful of whether employers have provided and maintained adequate means of egress from work areas. This includes checking that an adequate number of exit routes are provided, that the exit routes are free and unobstructed, and that exit doors are not locked. See OSHA's Emergency Exit Routes Fact Sheet for more information on employers' responsibilities to ensure that their workers are able to exit the workplace quickly and safely."
Who is affected? Most employees in the nation come under OSHA's jurisdiction. OSHA covers private sector employers and employees in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. jurisdictions, either directly through federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program. In particular, OSHA has guidance specifically for nursing homes as it relates to egress. Be prepared for an OSHA inspection before it happens.