June 29, 1994
MEMORANDUM FOR: LINDA ANKU
FROM: JOHN B. MILES, JR., DIRECTOR
DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS
SUBJECT: Key to Open Locked Exits
This is in response to your inquiry of January 14, regarding locked exits
equipped with locks that require keys to open them from the egress side.
Please accept our apology for the delay in response.
The following guidance is offered to clarify 29 CFR 1910.36(b)(4) with
respect to the definition of "occupied". The 1985 and 1991 editions of NFPA
101, the Life Safety Code, define a building as being "occupied" when more
than 10 persons are in it.
OSHA cannot enforce the provisions of NFPA 101-1985 and 1991, including the
definition of "occupied", when assessing compliance with 1910.36(b)(4), since
they were not offered to the public for comment under the rulemaking
provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act. Since NFPA 101, 1970
Edition [source document for 29 CFR 1910.36] did not include the definition
of "occupied" at the time of adoption, OSHA will not narrow its scope of
coverage of 1910.36 to accommodate NFPA's 1985 and the 1991 definition of
"occupied". Such an accommodation would provide a level of protection for
employees less than that which is afforded by the 1970 edition.