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Means of Escape Plan in Factories by Eng. L. G. Jansz



This article has been created to assist those who have responsibility for ensuring fire safety in factories and storage premises in Sri Lanka. The sections 39, 41 and 42 of the Factories Ordinance place a duty on employers, managers, owners and others in relation to fire safety. The article may also be helpful to all other persons with a role in ensuring fire safety in factories and storage premises.


Fire can pose a serious risk to the occupants of factories and storage premises. Some buildings or sites contain hazardous or dangerous materials or processes with the potential for fire or explosion posing an additional risk to persons on, or in the immediate vicinity of, the premises. This article will assist owners, managers and staff to achieve a fire safe environment in their premises and will also assist in achieving compliance with the safety law.


Nobody expects a fire emergency or disaster – especially one that affects the management, their employees, and their business personally. Yet the simple truth is that fire emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Management staff and employees could be forced to evacuate the factory when least expects it.


The best way to protect management staff, employees, and business is to expect the unexpected and develop a well-thought out fire evacuation plan to guide when immediate action is necessary. (U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, [OSHA 3088], 2001).


A workplace fire emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down operations; or causes physical or environmental damage.


Fire emergency may be natural or manmade, fires and toxic gases releases resulting bodily harm and trauma. Design, construction, protection, location, arrangement and maintenance of required exit facilities to provide fire escape from all buildings erected, altered or changed in occupancy (OSHA 3088, 2001).


It is advisable to have a fire escape plan to ensure that there are adequate fire evacuation procedures in place, with additional evacuation procedures for disabled people. To help identify fire evacuation procedures, evacuation routes and the location of firefighting equipment to staff and visitors, it is recommended that floor plans are prepared and displayed in prominent locations (International Standards Organization, [ISO 23601], 2009).

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