Your employees' safety matters to you, not only because you care about them, but because they are the source of your company's productivity. This is why you want your building's emergency exit lights to be the best that they can be. Here are a few tips for optimizing those life-saving lights.
Make Sure You Meet Requirements
OSHA, the NFPA, and your local building code have a lot to say about what type of lights you should be using for your exits. The federal guidelines from OSHA are fairly straight forward. They include:
1. Every exit sign has to literally say 'exit,' and the letters have to be at least 6 inches high, with the main strokes at least three-fourths of an inch wide.
2. The sign can't be obscured and must be clearly visible.
The NFPA has suggestions too. For example, one of them is that the bottom of your sign can't be more than 6 ft 8 in above the top of the door.
Local municipalities often adopt the NFPA's suggestions wholesale as part of their building codes. However, they are free to add to it whatever the city deems appropriate. You will want to check your local building code to see if your exit signs are in compliance.
Check To See If Your Light Needs To Be Green Or Red
Believe it or not, exit lights aren't always red. You can also get them in green, and, in some cases, orange. Red is often the most obvious choice. However, there are some states or municipalities that specify a color, and this color can be changed when they decide that another one is better. Check occasionally with the building code to see if you have to change the color of your exit lights.
Consider Switching To LED Lights
Exit lights come in more than one bulb type. The advantage of LED bulbs for your emergency exits is that they are highly energy-efficient, using only 1.5 watts for single-face signs. Illumination from LED light also travels farther, with some types being visible to 300 feet. If your exit lights are incandescent, you may want to consider switching to LED lights.
Maintenance And Testing Schedule
Perhaps the most important aspect of your emergency exit plans is to have the emergency exit lights in peak working order at all times. This will ensure that, even if people are panicking and don't know what to do, they can find the exits. The NFPA recommends that, at minimum, your exit signs be tested once every month by depressing the test button for 30 seconds. It should stay on. You should check for any cracks in the casing around this time, and wipe it off.
Your emergency lights must be tested for 90 minutes at least once a year. The light should stay on even without power from your building for that long if the battery is meeting NFPA standards.
It is a good idea to hire an emergency exit light expert to come in regularly through the year to test your exit lighting. He or she can check the soundness of the battery, make sure the light fixtures are all tightly secured, and ensure that the lights meet OSHA and NPFA standards. This is a good person to talk to if you want to upgrade your lighting situation too, as they will have advice about what will work for your building.
We at Lighting Services Inc. believe deeply in keeping your employees safe and your company compliant with relevant laws. We provide routine exit light maintenance, replace batteries for exit lights, and replace lights that should be upgraded. If you are looking to get the most out of your emergency exit lights, contact us.