Make Sure Your Emergency Lighting Works

When the lights go out in your facility, are your employees being left in the dark?

OSHA and the NFPA, as well as other agencies, require not only emergency lighting, but also proper maintenance, inspections, and testing to assure that lighting works when employees need to find the exits.

According to National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 101: Life Safety Code, all exit lights and emergency lights must be inspected and tested both monthly and annually.

Additionally, OSHA, the International Fire Code, and the International Building Code, and others, all provide codes regulating inspection and maintenance of your facility’s exit and emergency lighting.

Also, your local authority having jurisdiction may make the final call on what standards and rules must be enforced and may add more of their own.

Once a month, your site must conduct a required 30-second test on all battery-operated emergency and exit lights according to the Standard Fire Prevention Code 1999 807.1.4. You may perform this test yourself by pushing and holding the test button located on each light for a minimum of 30 seconds to ensure that the battery and lights are fully functional. If you notice dimming lights or burnt-out bulbs, you will need to arrange for maintenance or repairs. Repeat this process for each emergency and exit light.

Annually, your site must conduct the required 90-minute test and inspection, described in NPFA 101, Sec. 7.9.3. You may perform this yourself or through a service provider. The manufacturer’s documentation or manual should include instructions.

The only effective way to test all emergency and exit lights for 90 minutes is by cutting off the AC power to the lights. Everything connected to the relevant breaker will also lose power at this time, so this test will require appropriate planning. Proof of both monthly and annual testing must be recorded and kept to show local and other agencies when requested. This may be done in the form of a PM document.

Failing to conduct these tests/inspections and adhere to the codes for emergency lights and exit lighting may result in injuries to employees, fines, and possible lawsuits.

Don’t leave your employees in the dark. Make sure when the lights go off that your emergency lights come on.

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