A temporarily blocked fire exit might not seem like that big of a deal. Sometimes it might be tempting to stack some boxes off to the side while restocking, or to use that open space in front of the door for quicker access to a rolling rack of winter coats. In a fluid and dynamic retail work environment, it’s understandable to think about taking a shortcut here and there to save time later.
When it comes to fire exits, though, blocking them puts the safety of both customers and store associates at an unnecessary risk—and not just from fires, but also from any number of situations that might require a rapid emergency exit.
This is why regulatory organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have clearly written standards when it comes to obstructing exits. Occupational Safety and Health Standard number 1910.37(a)(3) says, “Exit routes must be free and unobstructed. No materials or equipment may be placed, either permanently or temporarily, within the exit route.”
Your company doesn’t need to have been fined by OSHA to understand how costly such fines can be or how quickly they can add up. It may be difficult to see that this is a potential problem for your company because store associates might clean things up in advance of a visit from leadership. Or it might happen only on certain shifts, or at certain locations, or at certain times of the year, all increasing the challenges associated with preventing the problem in the first place.
But what if you already have eyes in place? What you if you could leverage your existing video surveillance system to proactively address this issue?
We often think of crime scene investigations when we think about video analytics. They can be used to improve operational efficiencies in stores too, providing real-time alerts via mobile notifications to alert staff when action is needed. You could potentially send those alerts to a nearby speaker instead, creating a powerful tool that notifies staff that something is blocking the fire exit.
Retail is no exception when it comes to being asked to do more with less. More and more tasks are being assigned to fewer and fewer store associates, and it’s understandable that things might occasionally slip through the cracks. Video analytics can be a force multiplier. They can help provide real-time guidance to your staff by actively monitoring important areas in your stores.
Axis Communications can help improve overall safety and reduce the potential for significant regulatory fines through real‑time automatic detection of blocked exits. Axis video cameras with native analytics can detect when an exit is blocked by an object and then take action to send one or more notifications about this event. A light near the exit might turn red, for example, using the new AXIS Strobe Siren. An audio message might play on a nearby speaker until the exit has been cleared. Alerts could be sent to specific users in the store, to the local loss prevention office, or to a centralized security operations center.
Additionally, a video management system can bookmark when these alarms take place for further investigation after the event. Bookmarking these events saves you time and effort when reviewing footage of the incident, to more easily identify how the exit was blocked in the first place.
What Are the Benefits to the End-User?
- Increase compliance and reduce risk of fines from regulatory organizations
- Alert staff when items are in sensitive areas
- Change staff behavior
Which Equipment Is Required for This Solution?
- AXIS Network Camera
- AXIS Network Speaker or AXIS Network Audio Bridge device
- AXIS blocked exit analytic
This solution was developed specifically for retailers by the Axis Communications Pro-Services team. Its mission is to provide partners with added value, industry insight, and practical experience, without adding headcount.