Why Emergency Doors and Exits Need to Be Kept Clear to Be Effective
Although emergency doors and exits have noticeable signs, they are a regular fixture in a building and can be forgotten over time. These areas will end up being blocked by boxes, carts, garbage cans, and workstations if employers don’t get the message across to staff to keep these areas clear.
In the event of a fire or another emergency, items blocking the emergency exit will slow anyone attempting to escape. If the clutter is heavy, it will require more people to move the items, further slowing down their exit. And if people aren’t willing to waste time clearing the way in an emergency situation, the clutter can become a tripping hazard, leading to more risks for injuries. The more time that is spent trying to clear an emergency doorway or hallway, the less time people have to exit the building in an emergency, which can lead to serious injuries and risk of death.
Both staff and employers must make every effort to ensure emergency doors and hallways are kept clear at all times. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the work environment is safe. However, staff must also be aware and cautious for their own safety and the safety of everyone else.
Tips for Ensuring Safe Emergency Exits
1. Have regular inspections of emergency exits and equipment.
Regular inspections of emergency exits are recommended to make sure there is no clutter blocking the way. Workplaces often have a health and safety committee that is responsible for checking that all emergency doors, exits, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, and other emergency equipment are in proper condition and easy to access. Staff are also encouraged to find all the nearby emergency doors so they will know which way to exit should an emergency occur.
2. Educate staff about safety procedures.
Staff should be well aware of all emergency exits, locations of fire extinguishers, and all emergency equipment. They should also be encouraged to keep emergency doors clear of any clutter at all times. This can be done either through posters, meetings, or both. Managers should go over these safety procedures with their staff regularly.
3. Encourage staff to speak up about safety.
If there is clutter in front of an emergency exit, your staff should be comfortable notifying a supervisor if they are not in the position to clear the clutter themselves. A safe work environment includes promoting safety amongst staff. Staff should never be made to feel that their safety concerns are not important or not their business.
Keep staff and work environments safe by promoting health and safety procedures and always keeping emergency doors and hallways clear. A minute can make a life-altering difference when it comes to an emergency.