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Environmental Health & Safety

Corridor Use Guidelines


The purpose of these guidelines is to afford smooth, safe traffic flow through corridors under normal conditions as well as in emergencies, to assure compliance with government regulations for corridor widths in schools (business occupancies) and hospitals, and to reduce the unsightliness resulting from clutter in the corridors, while at the same time permitting use of excess corridor space.


It is intended that all public corridors shall, to the greatest extent practicable, be free of clutter and obstruction at all times.  To that extent, nothing is to be placed in the corridors except as outlined here.

The New York State Fire Code requires at a minimum the following widths for each type of use:

    In-patient care areas – 8 feet;
    Ambulatory patient care areas – 6 feet;
    Suite exit access – 4 feet;
    All other width 44 inches.         


  1. In corridors having minimal through-traffic:  Items may be placed in the corridor in accordance with the regulations listed below, but a 6 foot clearance must be maintained.
  2. In corridors having no through-traffic:  Items may be placed in the corridor in accordance with the regulations listed below, but a 5 foot clearance must be maintained.  (Please call the University Fire Marshal’s office at x5-3243, for guidance relative to specific corridors.)
  3. For corridors at their minimum widths, certain wall-mounted technologies and other items may be mounted on the walls as long as they don’t project more than 4 inches from the wall (State Fire Code Section 1003.3.3 Horizontal projections), not exceed 36 inches in length, be separated by at least 48 inches from other projections, and be installed at least 40 inches or greater above the floor.
    1. Wall mounted items that reduce the corridor width below allowable limits would be permitted when “in-use”. Such items shall be closed or retracted when the equipment is not in use or unattended for more than 30 minutes.
    2. Infection Control supply carts/cabinets and crash carts outside of a specific room and moveable carts with wheels are allowed in the corridor while the precautions are in effect.
  4. All exit doors including stairwell doors shall be clear of storage to a distance of 5 feet on either side of the door.
  5. Items requiring power must have a dedicated corridor receptacle near the item. Extension cords are not to be used.
  6. The use of athletic equipment such as bicycles, roller blades, roller skates, and skateboards inside buildings endangers others and poses a severe accident potential. Therefore use of such equipment is prohibited in corridors, hallways, and other public spaces inside buildings. Violations can result in disciplinary action.
  7. Any such utilization of corridor space will be limited to one side of a corridor throughout its length, and shall not in any way obstruct access to utility controls, fire-fighting equipment, fire alarms, or impede the flow of traffic.
  8. Failure to observe these necessary limitations could result in removal to storage of items not in accord with the guidelines.
  9. Every attempt will be made to notify the department responsible for items found not in compliance. Once notified, departments will have 5 working days to correct non-compliant conditions. After 5 working days, department-identified non-compliant items will be tagged for immediate disposal by Facilities Operations or Environmental Services/Housekeeping at owner/department expense.
  10. Items with unknown ownership will be tagged for disposal and after 5 working days moved to storage by Facilities Operations or Environmental Services/Housekeeping at the expense of the department responsible for the building location where the item was found.


  1. Hazardous materials are not to be placed in corridors.  These materials include:  explosives, oxidizers, flammable or combustible liquids, solids or gases, aerosols, poisons, toxins, hazardous chemicals, gas and cryogenic cylinders, radioactive materials (except those in use with a scintillation counter or film cassette in a locked freezer), equipment operating under either positive or negative pressure, high temperature or high voltage, equipment with exposed machine parts (i.e. unguarded belts, pulleys or gears), live animals, incubators, open shelving, and centrifuges.
  2. Biohazardous materials, biosafety level 2 and lower, may be stored in locked freezers and refrigerators provided applicable corridor clearances are maintained. Experiments involving biohazardous materials may not be performed in corridors.
  3. Recycle bins are permitted in corridors if they meet this corridor use guideline and are no greater than 32 gallons. Large totes are not allowed in the corridor and must be stored in a room.
  4. Placement is restricted to items in use only.  Storage of unused items is to be done elsewhere.  (Call Purchasing at x5-2002 for warehouse space.)
  5. Construction materials may not be stored temporarily in the corridor.
  6. Equipment scheduled for installation, supplies pending movement into labs or office space, surplus material or similar items are prohibited.


  1. Items are to be placed on one side of the corridor only. The selected side should be uniform throughout the floor/wing or area.
  2. Materials should be placed in such a manner to maintain a clear unobstructed working space of not less than 30 inches in width, 36 inches in depth and 78 inches in height in front of electrical service equipment. Where electrical service equipment is wider than 30 inches the working space shall not be less that the width of the equipment. No materials shall be stored within the designated working space. Liquids of any kind shall not be stored within 6 feet on both sides of electrical panels.
  3. A minimum wall clearance of 18 inches is required on both sides of all fire protection equipment including fire extinguishers, pull boxes, A/V fire alarms, and fire hoses, around safety showers or eyewash stations, and around utility cabinets and a clear, unobstructed path to them must be maintained.
  4. No storage is allowed in a horizontal exit, stairwells or areas of refuge.
  5. Workstations and "coffee break" areas are prohibited in corridors.  Coffee makers and similar heating devices are prohibited.
  6. Do not wedge or hold fire doors open unless by a device designed for that purpose and integrated into the door system.


It is the responsibility of all personnel to assist in achieving the goals of these guidelines, and to avoid using corridors for storage, extension of workspace or repositories for refuse.  When existing corridors are wider than stipulated minimums, department heads may request permission from the University Fire Marshal’s Office to utilize the excess width for placement of storage cabinets, lockers, or other orderly, reasonably uniform furnishings, subject to the restrictions given above.


Date:  12/5/2018 

Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 12/5/2018. Disclaimer.