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| OSHA, USF Safety Florida

Photographs are a learning tool of how accidents can be prevented. Thank you to Margaret Hennis our USF SafetyFlorida contributor for July.


Accumulated and combustible debris (boxes) is blocking an emergency exit and a fire extinguisher.


1910.37(a)(1) Exit routes must be kept free of explosive or highly flammable furnishings or other decorations.

1910.37(a)(3) Exit routes must be free and unobstructed. No materials or equipment may be placed, either permanently or temporarily, within the exit route. The exit access must not go through a room that can be locked, such as a bathroom, to reach an exit or exit discharge, nor may it lead into a dead-end corridor. Stairs or a ramp must be provided where the exit route is not substantially level.

1910.22(a)(1) All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, service rooms, and walking-working surfaces are kept in a clean, orderly, and sanitary condition.


Employees may suffer burns, smoke inhalation, slips, trips, falls, traumatic injuries, and death due to blocked emergency exit and egress routes. In addition, employees could suffer injuries related to not being able to access emergency equipment in a timely manner. Poor housekeeping results in harboring vermin, exposing employees to biological hazards. Accumulated debris exposes employees to sprains, strains, contusions, and fractures from trips and falls.


Remove the obstructions from the exit route. Develop and implement an emergency action plan (EAP). Train employees on the EAP, to not place objects within the exit route, and to report noncompliance to management when discovered. Use signs to remind employees to not block the exit.

Clear obstacles and debris around the fire extinguisher. Provide a clear space so that the fire extinguisher is readily accessible. Maintain areas around emergency equipment, and ensure that it is free of obstructions. Relocate the fire extinguisher to an unobstructed area if necessary.

Ensure all work areas are free of equipment and debris, instruct employees on housekeeping rules and enforce those rules, clean up accumulations of trash, and establish a daily clean-up policy. For more information on emergency exit routes, click here.