there is an emergency, getting workers out of high-rise
buildings poses special challenges. Preparing in advance
to safely evacuate the building is critical to the safety
of employees who work there.
actions should employees know before an emergency occurs?
- Be familiar with the work site's emergency evacuation
- Know the pathway to at least two alternative exits
from every room/area at the workplace;
- Recognize the sound/signaling method of the fire/evacuation
- Know who to contact in an emergency and how to contact
- Know how many desks or cubicles are between your
workstation and two of the nearest exits so you can
escape in the dark if necessary;
- Know where the fire/evacuation alarms are located
and how to use them; and
- Report damaged or malfunction safety systems and
should employees do in an emergency?
- Leave the area quickly but in an orderly manner,
following the work site's emergency evacuation plan.
Go directly to the nearest fire-free and smoke-free
stairwell recognizing that in some circumstances the
only available exit route may contain limited amounts
of smoke or fire.
- Listen carefully for instructions over the building's
public address system.
- Crawl low, under the smoke to breathe cleaner air
if there is a fire. Test doors for heat before opening
them by placing the back of your hand against the
door so you do not burn your palm and fingers. Do
not open a hot door, but find another exit route.
Keep "fire doors" closed to slow the spread
of smoke and fire.
- Avoid using elevators when evacuation a burning
- Report to the designated meeting place.
- Don't re-enter the building until directed by authorities.
should employees do if trapped?
- Stay calm and take steps to protect yourself.
- Go to a room with an outside window, and telephone
for help if possible.
- Stay where rescuers can see you and wave a light-colored
cloth to attract attention.
- Open windows if possible, but be ready to shut them
if smoke rushes in.
- Stuff clothing, towels, or newspapers around the
cracks in doors to prevent smoke from entering your
every high-rise building has unique characteristics involving
location, design, construction, and occupancy, this page
covers only some of the basic considerations for safe evacuation.
This information is not a substitute for a site-specific evacuation
program nor does it detail specific OSHA or OSHA-approved state
plan standards that may be applicable to individual work sites.
Likewise, it does not create independent legal obligations.
In addition, OSHA citations can only issued for violations of
the OSH Act, OSHA standards, or OSHA regulations.