OSHA provides the following safety regulations that should be incorporated into an overall emergency preparedness program. These regulations are aimed at workplace safety and may require the adoption or use of one or more practices, or processes reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide protection on the job.
Below is a list is a common, general OSHA workplace requirements. (NOTE: Site-specific operations may require additional compliance measures per industry regulations.)
Means of Egress
- 29 CFR 1910.36: This standard establishes requirements for the proper design and construction of permanent exit routes. Requirements cover construction materials, opening dimensions, accessibility conditions, capacity and special considerations for exit routes that are outside of a building.
- 29 CFR 1910.37: This standard establishes requirements for exit route lighting, marking and nonflammable material maintenance. It also sets requirements for employee alarm systems and procedures for working during construction, repair or alteration. Maintaining exit route standards will improve the chances for a successful emergency evacuation.
Medical and First Aid
- 29 CFR 1910.151: To handle potential workplace injuries, employers must ensure that medical personnel and adequate first aid supplies are available. The selection of these resources must be based on the types of hazards in the workplace. Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.
Employee Alarm Systems
- 29 CFR 1910.165: The employee audible or visual alarm system shall provide distinctive warning (for necessary emergency action, as called for in the emergency action plan, or for reaction time for safe escape from the workplace, the immediate work area, or both.
Fire Prevention Plans
- 29 CFR 1910.39: A fire prevention plan must be in writing, be kept in the workplace, and be made available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees. This plan requires employers to identify flammable and combustible materials stored in the workplace, and ways to control workplace fire hazards. Completing a fire prevention plan and reviewing it with employees reduce the probability that a workplace fire will ignite or spread.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
- 29 CFR 1910.157: Employees who use portable fire extinguishers can often put out small fires or control a fire until additional help arrives. Before an emergency occurs, employers must decide whether employees are authorized (through training) to use fire extinguishers or must immediately evacuate (29 CFR 1910.38). Employers may exempt themselves from most of the portable fire extinguisher requirements if they develop an Emergency Action Plan in compliance with 29 CFR 1910.38.
- 29 CFR 1910.156: This section applies to fire brigades, industrial fire departments, and private or contractual type fire departments. It does not apply to airport crash rescue or forest fire fighting operations. When an employer establishes a fire brigade to respond to workplace fires, it must meet organizational, training, and personal protective equipment requirements.
Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
- 29 CFR 1910.119: This section focuses on preventing or minimizing consequences from a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals. Processes are covered by this standard when they involve quantities of highly hazardous chemicals equal to or greater than those listed in Appendix A, they involve flammable liquid or gas quantities greater than 10,000 pounds, or they involve the manufacture of explosives or pyrotechnics.
Permit-required Confined Spaces
- 29 CFR 1910.146: This standard requires practices and procedures to protect employees working in permit-required confined spaces. The standard requires an evaluation to determine the existence of permit-required confined spaces, the implementation of a written permit space program, and the establishment of rescue and emergency procedures.
- 29 CFR 1910.1200: The Hazard Communication Standard is intended to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are classified, and that information concerning the classified hazards is transmitted to employers and employees. The transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and employee training.
For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.