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1639. UPDATE AND REVISION OF THE EXIT ROUTES STANDARD

Priority: Other Significant

Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b); 5 USC 353

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910.35; 29 CFR 1910.36; 29 CFR 1910.37; 29 CFR 1910.38

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: Many Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards were adopted under section 6(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act; 29 U.S.C. 655(a)). This section of the OSH Act authorized the Agency, in its first 2 years of existence, to adopt national consensus standards without prior notice and comment. The versions of the consensus standards OSHA adopted are now typically well over 30 years old and have been superseded by newer ones. In addition, many of these old standards were written in technical jargon and were hard for many employers and employees to understand.

To address these problems, OSHA is undertaking a consensus standards initiative to revise OSHA's exit routes (also known as means of egress) standard. The revisions will rewrite the standard in simple, easy-to-understand language that will be easier for employers and employees to follow.

Statement of Need: The standard being revised in this initiative is one of OSHA's oldest and most difficult to understand. The Agency has identified the exit routes standard as a standard in need of revision because it is out of date and unnecessarily complex, and stakeholders have recommended that the standard be updated quickly. OSHA also believes that revising the standard will lead to better voluntary compliance and fewer disputes about violations. With OSHA's limited resources, any effort that can substantially increase opportunities for compliance without sacrificing employee safety and health protection will have long-term benefits.

Summary of Legal Basis: The legal basis for the final rule will be a finding that, by making these OSHA standards easier to understand and comply with, the Agency will increase compliance and reduce work-related injuries and deaths.

Alternatives: The alternative considered - leaving the outdated standard on the books - has been rejected because doing so would not encourage compliance or enhance safety.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The final standard for exit routes will have no economic impacts because this revision will not increase employers' obligations or reduce employee protections.

Risks: Employees can be injured or killed if they are not able to exit an area safely when a fire or other emergency occurs.

Timetable:

Action Date FR Cite

NPRM
Public Hearing
Final Rule
09/10/96
04/29/97
09/00/02
61 FR 47712
62 FR 9402
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No

Government Levels Affected: None

Agency Contact: Steven F. Witt, Acting Director, Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3605, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-2222
Fax: 202 693-1663

RIN: 1218-AB82


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