Emergency routes and exits

14.—(1) Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that routes to emergency exits from premises and the exits themselves are kept clear at all times.

(2) The following requirements must be complied with in respect of premises where necessary (whether due to the features of the premises, the activity carried on there, any hazard present or any other relevant circumstances) in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons—

(a)emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety;

(b)in the event of danger, it must be possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible;

(c)the number, distribution and dimensions of emergency routes and exits must be adequate having regard to the use, equipment and dimensions of the premises and the maximum number of persons who may be present there at any one time;

(d)emergency doors must open in the direction of escape;

(e)sliding or revolving doors must not be used for exits specifically intended as emergency exits;

(f)emergency doors must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency;

(g)emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs; and

(h)emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.

What the Enforcement Guidance says:

Where necessary for the purpose of safeguarding the safety of relevant persons in
case of fire, the responsible person must ensure all emergency exits and routes to
emergency exits are kept clear and available at all relevant times. The extent of the
emergency routes and exits necessary will be determined by the findings of the risk
assessment, taking full account of all the relevant circumstances of the premises.
Enforcing authorities will need to make a judgement, based on professional experience
and use of relevant guidance and benchmark standards, to assess whether taking into
account the residual risks that remain in the premises, the means of escape available
for use are suitable and sufficient in the circumstances of the case to allow safe escape
from the premises to a place of safety, in the event of a fire. In particular, enforcing
authorities may wish to advise landlords of the need to maintain adequate security
relating to fire doors.
All emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety
and be adequate for everyone to escape quickly and safely. Article 14(2) sets out the
measures for securing that the means of escape can be safely and effectively used at all
relevant times, eg fire protection to escape routes, emergency lighting, etc. The risk
assessment should identify any person for whom special evacuation arrangements may
need to be made by virtue of their age, state of health and physical and mental abilities,
or, in some circumstances, their location and activity on the premises.