Don’t prop open fire doors on your jobsite

By: Ray Chishti

Publication: Construction Regulatory Alert

Date Posted: 06/02/2021

Propping open fire doors is a common violation

Each year, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reminds employers not to prop open fire doors for convenience. Propping open doors has become a common violation of fire codes after the pandemic because workers didn’t want to become exposed to germs on common touchpoints.

OSHA Compliance for Construction Activities
OSHA Compliance for Construction Activities

This publication explains complex Part 1926 regs in easy-to-understand language. It takes you beyond the construction regulations and provides you with information on how to comply and implement them.

I know firsthand this is an issue at construction jobsites and remember telling workers not to prop open fire doors in our clients’ facilities. Workers were doing this out of convenience because they carried things into and out of the existing facility. Propping open a fire door, or wedging it open, are serious fire and safety hazards. Keep fire doors closed to prevent smoke and fire from spreading into the fire evacuation route, like a stairwell. OSHA and NFPA don’t prohibit propping open a fire exit door but caution employers against doing this for safety and security reasons.

Fire doors must remain closed, although some may be designed to automatically close when fire and smoke are sensed by jobsite fire detection equipment. To reduce the need to disinfect frequently touched points, workers can push open fire doors using their sleeves by pushing against the push bar instead of using their hands. You can also increase housekeeping efforts and the frequency that doorknobs, handles, and push bars are cleaned throughout the shift.

About the author
Ray Chishti - EH&S Editor

Ray is an editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. and has over 12 years of EH&S experience in a variety of industries, including EPC projects, fossil fuel power plants, gas distribution and transmission, and electrical transmission work.

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