News Release USDL: 97-70
Monday, March 3, 1997
Contact: Susan Hall Fleming, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Schedules April 29 Hearing On Plain Langauge Rewrites
Of Standard On Exits, Reopens Comments
"How can we say it simply?" The Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking to answer that question
in a public hearing in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 1997, on
its proposal to put its standard on exit routes in plain
The agency also is reopening the comment period on the
proposal and will accept additional comments postmarked as late
as April 14, 1997.
Open to the public, the hearing is scheduled to begin at
9:30 a.m. in C5521, Seminar Room #4, of the France Perkins
Building at 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C.
OSHA proposed two new, simplified versions of its "Means of
Egress" standard on Sept. 10, 1996. Neither would change the
standard itself. Instead, each would put the requirements in
plain language to help employers and employees better understand
what they need to do to comply.
One version follows the traditional OSHA regulatory format.
The other is phrased in a question and answer style. Both use a
performance-oriented approach. In each version, the regulatory
text has been reorganized to remove internal inconsistencies and
eliminate duplicate requirements. Also, OSHA plans to call the
standard "Exit Routes" instead of "Means of Egress."
OSHA has received 59 written comments on the proposal, most
supporting the revision and most preferring the traditional
format. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and
Hallmark Cards requested the hearing to provide an opportunity
for dialogue among life safety professionals, to permit greater
public involvement in the rulemaking and to facilitate a full
discussion of important issues.
Issues for the hearing include whether OSHA should reference
the NFPA Life Safety Code or model building codes in its
standard, compliance issues associated with a performance-oriented
approach, numbers of exits required for a workplace and
exit signs. Additional topics to be addressed at the hearing
involve exit illumination, simplifying terms used in the
standard, maintaining current requirements without imposing new
ones and technological feasibility issues.
Notices of intention to appear at the hearing must be
postmarked by April 1, 1997. Participants who request more than
10 minutes for their presentations or who will submit documentary
evidence, must submit to the OSHA Docket Office the full text of
their testimony and evidence postmarked no later than April 14,
1997. Written comments also must be postmarked by April 14. All
documents should be submitted in quadruplicate to OSHA Docket
Office, Docket S-052, Room N2625, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W.,
Notice of the hearing and the reopening of the comment
period for OSHA's "Means of Egress" standard is scheduled to
appear in the March 3 Federal Register.