Ask the expert: Posting exit route maps

By: April 7th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We are updating our evacuation exit route maps. Can you tell me what the OSHA regulations are for, how many to post, and where?

A: There are no specific OSHA guidelines for how to post evacuation routes based on number of employees or square footage. In fact, OSHA does not specifically require posting an evacuation route, although it is always a good idea.

Additionally, local fire authorities may require such a posting, which is why it is included in the HCPro OSHA Program Manual.

Post the map in places where employees have easy access to it and where the closest evacuation route may not be readily apparent. Be sure to check that the posted routes are current with any renovations or physical alterations to your facility.

You might also check with your local fire authority for special posting requirements for your size facility.

A sample exit route map is available for downloading from the Tools page.


By Jim Kenidg on April 7th, 2010 at 10:41 am

Don’t forget and as published in TJC News – NFPA no longer requires exit maps and as a result neither does TJC – however, CAP continues to have this requirement.

If your staff have to rely on exit maps to get out of your building, you probably have bigger issues. Who is going to go to the wall and try to read a map to get out of your building during an emergency? Exit routs should be very visibly marked with exit signs. Staff should be well trained in how to get patients, visitors and themselves out of a building in an emergency.

We once had a medicare inspector who cited us for not having exit maps in our ASC recovery area. When I asked him how a patient recovering from surgery was going to get off their gurney and read the map, he just said we had to have them (this was back when medicare used the old NFPA regulations that required signage)

Remember, the only company that got all their employees out of the twin towers was one that took evacuation seriously, planned for evacuation and practiced it.

By Carl W. Malmberg on April 15th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I believe Exit Route diagrams should be provided, for visitors, and anyone else who may need assistance in the layout of the building.

Many large hospitals have had several building additions, creating a maze-like situation. While it isn’t likely many persons will look at the diagram during an emergency, not having any diagrams would make that impossible.

Further, without them, no one can use them to identify exit paths before hand, and this would assist new employees as well.

The diagrams should be properly oriented on the wall, with the route(s) shown on the right of the diagram actually to your right as you read, etc. Some diagrams I’ve seen are upside down, or sideways.

Always show the reader’s location on the diagram, to help orient yourself.

By Robyn Eastland on October 1st, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Are there regulations that require evacuation map/plan inside patient exam rooms for RHC/Hospitals etc

By Stephen Schwenke on May 29th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Evacuation maps can also be used to identify tornado “safe rooms”.

In response to Bruce “If your staff have to rely on exit maps to get out…”

This is one sided thinking. The exit maps are not only intended to help people evacuate, but also represent the expected path you will take (route assignments). If you are missing during a fire, the first responders like to know the fastest route to your assigned path out. They do not want to guess. The signs are a visual reminder to be safe, where AEDs, 1st aid Kits and eye wash stations are as well. Is it really that hard to print out and post on a wall? I do agree that practice evacuating is more important, but really that is just lazy.

By Sheila Ford on August 6th, 2017 at 6:51 pm

I manage a outpatient primary care facility, what is the requirement for post evacuation routes in the office?
Does every room need to have a route posted?

By Steve Terry on November 14th, 2017 at 7:13 am

Jim Kenidg – can you elaborate on the comment – “NFPA no longer requires exit maps and as a result neither does TJC” ?? I am currently in pre-plan with our EHS group, who insists that NFPA and OSHA “REQUIRE” evac maps. They require plans that are posted for employees. There are a lot of firms out there twisting the words to mean MAPS. Maps are informative; not Code required. It is still a proactive step to post but no one looks at a map in an emergency. They look for the exit route indicators (updated under 1024 code).

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By ArnoldManza on July 25th, 2019 at 10:09 pm

I believe that emergency evacuation maps are not meant to be read during an emergency. It must be read and understood BEFORE any emergency. Current building occupants should have already spent time to get familiarized with the maps. Visitors or new occupants should spend time to see and understand the maps on the very first minutes they came inside the building. One good rule for everyone else: NEVER wait for an emergency to read the emergency maps.

By Eris Rodriguez on March 3rd, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Comments by Arnold Manza is the most sensible comment here.

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