Facility Safety, Can you spot the problem?


Please understand that if your department has a more stringent policy governing any of the topics contained in this article, you should adhere to your department's policy.

photo of circuit breaker panel and a cardboard panel

Electrical Panel Accessibility

OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.303 (g) states that there must be sufficient access and space around all equipment that services 600 volts or less. For equipment and electrical panels that service between 120 to 250 volts, there must be a minimum of 3 feet in clearance around the panel. There must also be at least 30 inches of clearance in front of the electrical panel

photo of a fire door and extinguisher

Fire doors

These act as barriers to the spread of gases, smoke and heat during a fire. Fire doors are generally found at exits and near stairwells, and they are labeled accordingly. They commonly have signs that read "Fire Door: Keep Closed." The purpose of this sign is to remind employees, residents or visitors not to prop the door open for convenience because it will impair the door's ability to control fire. Fire exit doors also have or should have a sign that reads, "Do Not Obstruct." This is because it is usually an emergency exit. Blocking the door could keep people from quickly leaving the building as well as create difficulty for firefighters attempting to enter. Fire doors should have a Fire Rating Label on the side or edge. This label should indicate the temperature that the door materials can withstand and should also provide the door's fire rating.

photo of boxes in a pathway

Travel paths

NFPA Life Safety Code Manual Chapter 34 says an unobstructed path of travel must be maintained for all exits. Housekeeping issues in this photo are showing an inappropriate width travel path and are also several trip and fall hazards.

OSHA 1910.36(g)(2) requires that an exit access must be at least 28 inches (71.1 cm) wide at all points.

So, take a look around your work area and correct any problems you find. You may save someone's life.