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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 language.

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., Washington, D.C.

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.


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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.

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