Q: This question was recently brought to my attention: “Why do rooms, offices, and work areas do not have “Exit” signs over the doors leaving the rooms?” I could not find an answer for that. But I did notice that rooms within a room do not have “Exit” signs as well. The “Exit” signs throughout our hospital are all in the corridors that lead patrons to the public way. But if you are in a room, or within another room, are “Exit” signs required?
A: Not necessarily. Look at section 22.214.171.124.1 in the 2012 LSC, which says: “Access to exits shall be marked by approved, readily visible, signs in all cases where the exit or way to reach the exit is not readily apparent to the occupants.” (Emphasis mine).
If the path of egress is readily apparent to all occupants of a room or area, then the case can be made that “Exit” signs are not required to mark the access to the exit. An office does not require an “Exit” sign because the occupant obviously knows the way out of the room. It is “readily apparent” to the occupant. However, “Exit” signs would be required in a cafeteria dining rooms or an auditorium because it is likely there will be people, such as visitors or patients, who do not necessarily know the way out, so the exit is not ‘readily apparent’ to them.
The danger with not marking a means of egress comes with the assumption that every employee knows the way out, and the way to reach the exit is readily apparent. Departments that are visited by people not familiar with the way out need to be marked with “Exit” signs, regardless whether those people are employees or visitors.