Both OSHA and your local building code have requirements for exit signs. OSHA states that if an employer is in compliance with NFPA Life Safety Code, then the employer is also in compliance with OSHA egress requirements. The NFPA Life Safety Code states that a building with a Group B occupancy of less than 50 only needs to have one exit route; the exit route does not need to be marked by an exit or directional sign. Dental offices are designated as Group B occupancies.
If your office building has 50 people or more people, then you need to have exit signs posted. Most dental offices have less than 50 people at one time. However, the entire building might have a higher occupant load. In that case, the landlord or building owner must make sure exit signs are in place in corridors and walkways.
If signs are required, then exit and directional signs must have a luminance on the face of not less than 54 lux. The words used on such signs must be in block letters at least 6 inches high and ¾ inches wide. Letters, arrows, or other directional symbols must be of such color or design as to be in strong contrast to the background of the sign.
Exit or directional signs, or both, shall be provided at every exit door, at the intersection of corridors, at exit stairways or ramps and at such other locations and intervals as are necessary to provide the occupants with knowledge of the various means of egress available.
OSHA’s exit sign regulations can be accessed at OSHA Means of Egress Requirements.
Your local building code may have stricter standards. If your building has an occupant load greater than 49, then the building owner would need to check with the local county building department. Egress issues are addressed when buildings are constructed, inspected, and building permits issued.
Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.