Employers May No Longer Rely On Compliance With Their Local Building Code As Establishing Compliance With OSHA Fire Safety Requirements

Date: Jan 24, 2003

On November 7 , 2002, OSHA issued a Final Rule titled "Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans" (67 Fed. Reg 67949-67965), which went into effect on December 9, 2002, and replaced the former Means of Egress Standard. OSHA announced at the outset of this initiative that the goal of the underlying rulemaking was to simplify an overly complex set of standards governing the "means of egress" so that they would be easier to understand. The agency also stated that it would accomplish this goal without changing the regulatory obligations of employers or reducing the safety and health protection provided to employees by the original standards.

At least one local fire marshal stated that, in effect, OSHA's new rule has substantially increased the regulatory obligations for at least some employers who will be required to comply with the more demanding requirements of the OSHA Exit Routes Standard or the 2000 Life Safety Code rather than the less demanding requirements of the applicable local building code. That is a determination that should be made in time to file a petition for pre-enforcement judicial review of the new Exit Routes Standard by the January 6, 2003, deadline because, for those who are affected, the costs of compliance could be substantial.

Click here for a memo describing some of these concerns.

If we may be of assistance with this issue, please contact Larry Haprin (202-434-4177, halprin@khlaw.com) or David Sarvadi (202-434-4249, sarvadi@khlaw.com).