Written by Walt Meyer

Exit Signs & Emergency Lighting for Your Hotel or Motel – Part 2

As covered in Part 1, OSHA governs exit sign and emergency lighting requirements with other governmental bodies and local authorities. Part 2 will discuss Emergency Lighting Requirements.

Emergency Lighting Requirements

Emergency or egress lighting is intended to provide sufficient illumination and identification of hallways, exits, and stairwells to ensure an orderly and safe evacuation from facilities. Typically, emergency lighting is required in industrial, medical, commercial, educational, religious, public housing, institutional, and other facilities.

Although OSHA regulations are not specific to emergency lighting, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides the Life Safety Code to address this topic. However, companies should consult with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for emergency lighting compliance.

The NFPA’s emergency lighting requirements are covered under section 7.9 of the Life Safety Code. When emergency lighting is required, illumination must be provided automatically for at least a 1.5-hour period when lighting fails. Emergency lights must also be configured to provide a minimum 1 foot-candle of illumination. At any point, maximum illumination must not be more than 40 times the minimum illumination for the prevention of excessively dark and bright areas.

Testing Requirements

The Life Safety Code’s Section 7.9.3 covers NFPA requirements for the testing schedule of emergency lighting in the three categories below.

  1. Traditional
  2. Self-testing/self-diagnostic
  3. Computer-based self-testing/self-diagnostic

In essence, Section 7.9.3 requires a monthly activation test, which requires lights to stay illuminated for at least 30 seconds, as well as an annual test which requires lights to be activated for 1.5 hours for the simulation of emergency events of extended durations. Both monthly and annual tests must be documented in writing and maintained for AHJ inspections. In addition, computer-based emergency lighting must be able to produce its own testing reports around the clock. The local AHJ will confirm whether or not your testing schedule and record-keeping practices meet their requirements.

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