Thursday, July 14, 2011
OSHA approves alternate definition for means of egress standard.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recognized the International Code Council’s (IIC) 2009 International Fire Code (IFC) as an alternate compliance option for means of egress in its Occupational Safety and Health Standards. The ICC petitioned the federal agency asking for its code to be recognized as a way for an employer to demonstrate compliance with the OSHA Exit Routes and Emergency Management (formerly called Means of Egress) requirements.
“In jurisdictions where the 2009 International Fire Code is enforced, employers whose buildings have been inspected and approved can use that approval to demonstrate compliance with OSHA requirements (Section 1910, Subpart E, Standard 1910.35),” International Code Council CEO Richard P. Weiland said. “We thank OSHA for recognizing the safety attributes of our code as well as the professional expertise and science that goes into the code’s development.”
The Council’s petition, which started in 2004, was offered on behalf of ICC Members and all jurisdictions that adopt and enforce I-Codes; building and fire code enforcement officials; and building owners and managers with facilities that are maintained in compliance with the I-Codes.
“Allowing the IFC regulations to be used for exiting buildings will save money by eliminating the need to demonstrate compliance with dual regulations, and by avoiding potential construction modifications due to conflicting codes,” Weiland said. “OSHA’s recognition demonstrates collaboration between the agency and those who share the mission of protecting the health and safety of building occupants.”
The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. General Services Administration supported the Code Council’s petition along with local and state jurisdictions, including New York state, Jefferson County, Colorado, and the city of Hampton, Virginia.
Twenty-seven states with approved Occupational Safety and Health plans also will have to update their plans to incorporate the new rule within six months of the final rule’s publication. The final rule was published in June and takes effect July 8, 2011.
The International Code Council (www.iccsafe.org), a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention, and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.