Exit Sign Requirements in New York City

We know the phrase “the only constant is change” and the hub city of New York is no exception. As the city grows, construction sites can be seen nearly everywhere. A constant buzz of technically hazardous activity. Nearly a year ago, 29 new pieces of legislation were introduced in New York City, with a focus on revising construction industry safety standards to prevent the increasing number of construction site deaths in the city. The Construction Safety Act alone introduced 20 new bills.

As a critical part of an emergency exit strategy, proper exist signs are mandated for all fire doors and exits. An effective fire exit safety plan is more than posting a few signs over the doorway. There are many regulations notating exact design and placement and we’d like to explain a few of the basics.

Exit Sign Placement

The basics state that all exits (and doors leading to exits) are required to be marked by an approved exit sign readily visible from any direction. This may lean flat against the wall, or perpendicular to the wall, depending upon the corridors leading to that door. When using photoluminescent signs, they must be mounted low, as to ensure visibility if the building is filled with smoke.

If the exit is not clearly visible, it is required that the path towards that exit be clearly marked.  For example, if corridors approach the door from multiple directions, each direction must have an exit sign. This includes both photoluminescent arrows and lines upon the floor, next to the wall, or on the wall, near the floor. On long corridors where the exit is not easily visible, exit signs must be supplied periodically to ensure reasonable visibility at all times.

The exceptions to these rules include rooms that have only one exit, rooms designated for sleeping, among a few others.

Exit Sign Designs

When placing an exit design, not just any design will do. There are many rules and regulations to ensure proper visibility. In New York City, they have come up with a set of design elements including color, lighting, and font size. For example, the word EXIT must be in red (with red internal lighting) and the letters are required to be 8 inches tall with a 1-inch stroke width against a white background.

If you’re using photoluminescent exit signs, they must have the ability to remain visible for a minimum of 8 hours after being exposed to light. Self-luminescent exit signs, (which function by tritium, a radioactive gas) are not allowed. You can use electrically powered signs as long as they follow the above design rules and standard tactile signs, placed adjacent to exit stairways and ramps, are also acceptable.

Ensuring that emergency exits in your building are clearly marked can reduce confusion and injury in the event of an emergency. At Safety Supplies Unlimited, we provide an assortment of compliant and affordable signage including emergency signs, exit signs, and much more. For your convenience, contact us to visit your jobsite and assess how many signs you need. We can also install corrugated signage in New York and New Jersey.

Click here to read SECTION BC 1011: EXIT SIGNS in its entirety.