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Life Safety and Emergency Planning – Life Safety Code

Businesses are required by OSHA standards to have an emergency action plan. The emergency action plan requires that you have provisions for the following:

  • Emergency reporting

  • Evacuation procedures

  • Procedures for employee who shut down critical equipment before evacuating

  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation

  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties.

  • Identification of responsible parties for more information

OSHA Subpart E states that if your facility complies with the Life Safety Code, it will be in compliance with the egress design and maintenance sections of the OSHA standards. It is a good idea for you to learn about the Life Safety Code and how to apply this to your business.

Beyond OSHA, the Life Safety Code is used by many jurisdictions as part of their fire safety regulations and also used by groups that provide accreditation to facilities. Compliance with the Life Safety Code is a key component of Medicare and Medicaid facility regulation.

The Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) is published by the National Fire Protection Association. It is available for review on the NFPA website, It was initially published in 1912 and has been expanded since that time. This code addresses life safety from fire in 16 different occupancies. For 11 occupancies there are different requirements for new and existing buildings.

  • Chapters 1 thru 6 — Definition, scope and administration information and how to use apply performance-based design. Codes use their own language. The definitions and occupancy descriptions are of particular importance in this code.

  • Chapter 7 — Defines egress design, layout, lighting, marking and number and separation of exits.

  • Chapter 8 — Covers passive life safety controls such as fire walls, smoke barriers and compartmentation.

  • Chapter 9 — Defines protection requirements for building services and what standards apply to sprinklers, fire alarm systems and special hazard protection.

  • Chapter 10 — Regulates the combustibility of and smoke developed index for contents and finishes.

  • Chapter 11 — Has information for special structures such as high rise and air supported structures.

  • Chapters 12 thru 43 — Detail with how to apply Chapters 7 though 11 to different occupancies. There are different requirements for new and existing buildings for most occupancies.

New buildings and new spaces are professionally designed for life safety purposes. The challenge for many building owners is managing change during the building’s lifespan. Changes in floorplans, occupancy changes within building areas, or new tenants can trigger needing to review the life safety provisions for your business. You need to manage these changes to protect your employees.

There are operating requirements such as crowd management for assembly occupancies and the need for fire drills in other occupancies that go beyond building construction and layout rules.

The Driehaus Difference

Driehaus Insurance Group has the risk management resources available to help you understand these questions. Call us at 513-977-6860 or contact us via our website


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