Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

December 18, 1975

Mr. Richard P. Landers
Manager Labor Relations
Gould Pumps, Inc.
Seneca Falls, New York 13146

Dear Mr. Landers:

This is in response to your letter requesting a clarification of OSHA standards on means of egress.

Reviewing the OSHA standards 1910.35, 1910.36 and 1910.37, we find significant passages which specify exactly how means of egress shall be located and identified. 1910.35(a) defines a means of egress an a continuous and unobstructed way of exit travel in vertical and horizontal plans. 1910.36(b)(1) requires exits sufficient to permit prompt escape not dependent solely on any single safeguard. 1910.36(b)(5) requires that exits and means of exit shall be clearly identified and those doors or corridors not leading directly to an exit discharge shall be identified by signs or other means as "Not an Exit" or similar wording. Table El (page 23532 of Federal Register dated June 27, 1974 Volume 39 #125) requires that space occupied by 60 or less persons shall have passages 30 to 44 inches wide and space occupied by 100 or more persons shall be provided with passageways greater than 44 inches.

All interpretations of OSHA standards are subject to the compliance officer's evaluation while making a physical inspection of a premises. However, assembling the preceding information, we find the following as one of several means of complying with OSHA standards: (a) passage through the warehouse area could be permitted if the entry door is identified as "Not an Exit" and there are at least two additional means of egress from each of the buildings mentioned in your letter, (b) if not more than 60 persons occupy the adjoining buildings, the passageway would meet the OSHA standard of 36 inches minimum, but if occupied by more than 60 persons (75 persons by your letter), the passageway and entry doors would have to meet part (a) of this paragraph.

We have mailed several OSHA brochures including the Federal Register noted above under separate cover.


Alfred Barden
Assistant Regional Director
Occupational Safety and Health