Washington Fire Drills laws & HR compliance analysis

Washington Fire Drills: What you need to know

Washington has no specific law or regulation requiring employers to conduct fire drills. However, Washington's own state health and safety code has adopted the safety standards of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
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The OSH Act, applicable to private sector workplaces, requires that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans for each workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plans orally. To ensure that the exit plan will work in an actual emergency, it is advisable to rehearse regularly with annual or semiannual drills.
The state does require that employers prohibit employees from entering or remaining in an unsafe workplace (WA Admin. Code Sec. 286-808-11010).
There are also rules for the number, size, signage, lighting, and maintenance (especially for outdoor routes) of emergency exit routes (WA Admin Code Sec. 296-800-310), including:
• There must be two routes of exit from each workplace. If the configuration of the facility does not allow this, fire exits or accessible windows must be provided.
• Exit routes must be large enough to accommodate the maximum-permitted occupant load for each floor served and at least 28 inches wide and 6 feet 8 inches high.
• Exit routes must lead to the outside or a refuge room with access to the outside.
Emergency exit routes must not pass by areas containing explosive or highly flammable chemicals, materials, or furnishings. This rule does not apply to vehicles, vessels, or mobile workplaces.
Residential care facilities. The state does require that residential care facilities have written evacuation plans, which are communicated to staff and residents at the time of ...

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