Requirements for Your Company’s Exit Signs and Emergency Lighting – Part 2
As discussed in Part 1, OSHA governs emergency lighting and exit sign requirements with several other organizations and local authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ). Part 2 will cover Emergency Lighting Requirements.
Emergency Lighting Requirements
Emergency or egress lighting is intended to provide illumination and identification of hallways, exits, and stairwells to ensure an orderly and safe evacuation from facilities. Typically, emergency lighting is required in industrial, medical, commercial, educational, religious, public housing, institutional, and other facilities.
Although OSHA regulations are not specific to emergency lighting, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides the Life Safety Code to address this topic. However, it is best for companies to consult with their local AHJ for emergency lighting compliance.
The NFPA’s emergency lighting requirements are covered under section 7.9 of the Life Safety Code. When emergency lighting is required, illumination must be provided automatically for at least 1.5 hours when lighting fails. Emergency lights must also be configured to provide a minimum 1 foot-candle of illumination. At any point, maximum illumination must not be more than 40 times the minimum illumination for the prevention of excessively dark and bright areas.
The Life Safety Code’s Section 7.9.3 covers NFPA requirements for the testing schedule of emergency lighting in the three categories below.
- Computer based self-testing/self-diagnostic
In essence, Section 7.9.3 requires a monthly activation test, which requires lights to stay illuminated for at least 30 seconds, as well as an annual test which requires lights to be activated for 1.5 hours for the simulation of emergency events of extended durations. Both monthly and annual tests must be documented in writing and maintained for AHJ inspections. In addition, computer-based emergency lighting must be able to produce its own testing reports around the clock. The local AHJ will confirm whether or not your testing schedule and record keeping practices meet their requirements.
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