The When and Where of Fire Extinguishers



Fire extinguishers are employed within the workplace to control small fires or to facilitate escape when a fire is blocking an escape route. Unless the employer has established and implemented a written fire security policy which needs the immediate and total evacuation of staff from the workplace inside the event of a fire and contains an emergency action plan which meets the specifications of 29 CFR 1910.38 along with a fire prevention program which meets the needs of 29 CFR 1910.39, extinguishers have to be supplied inside the workplace. Also, no matter regardless of whether an employer has the essential emergency action and fire prevention plans, fire extinguishers has to be provided if a particular OSHA regulation requires they be supplied (as will be the case in certain situations when welding is becoming performed).


When figuring out where to spot fire extinguishers, you'll want to figure out what sort of fire may possibly take place within a precise area and also the degree of hazard. The OSHA specifications for fire extinguisher distribution are as stick to:

  • Extinguishers for Class A fires ought to be placed such that personnel require to travel no greater than 75 feet to reach the fire extinguisher.
  • Extinguishers for Class B fires really should be placed such that workers need to have to travel no more than 50 feet to attain the fire extinguisher.
  • Class C fire extinguishers must be distributed primarily based on the suitable Class A or Class B hazards. Class C fires are truly a Class A or Class B fire involving energized electrical equipment exactly where the fire extinguishing media requires to become nonconductive. Consequently, if the fire hazard is far more closely related with a Class A variety of fire, the distribution pattern for Class A extinguishers needs to be made use of, and if the fire hazard is far more closely related having a Class B sort of fire, the distribution pattern for B extinguishers really should be applied.
  • Class D fire extinguishers need to be distributed such that the employee travel distance in the combustible metal working region to any extinguisher is 75 feet or significantly less. (Per OSHA regulation, Class D fire extinguishers are essential in regions where combustible metal powders, flakes, shavings, or similarly sized materials are generated at least once each and every two weeks.)

When determining the spacing of fire extinguishers in your workplace, bear in mind that they are guidelines only. After reviewing the hazards inside your workplace, you might determine that spacing the extinguishers far more closely than the OSHA specifications is warranted. Also, when using multiple-class extinguishers (ABC extinguishers, for example), you might distribute extinguishers primarily based on the hazard type-so, if an ABC extinguisher is meant for use with Class B fire hazards, you would distribute them such that the travel distance is no much less than 50 feet, as opposed to utilizing the 75-foot guideline for Class A.

Inspection, Upkeep, and Testing

For those who opt for to supply fire extinguishers within the workplace, you might be needed to institute a program to inspect, maintain, and test them. The OSHA requirements for inspection, upkeep, and testing of fire extinguishers contain:

All portable fire extinguishers inside the workplace should be inspected, maintained, and tested.

The extinguishers needs to be visually inspected a least after every month. This inspection should consist of guaranteeing that there is clear access towards the extinguisher so that an employee can very easily reach it inside the event of a fire and that the extinguisher continues to be in spot, hasn't been broken, and appears to become in functioning order (if the extinguisher features a gauge, it shows as full and that the security pin continues to be in place-indicating that the fire extinguisher has not been utilized). Fire extinguishers that happen to be broken or missing needs to be replaced straight away.

Execute an annual maintenance check on portable extinguishers. An internal examination of stored stress extinguishers just isn't expected. The date with the upkeep check really should be recorded plus the record in the check should be retained for 1 year right after the last entry or the life from the shell, whichever is less. Also, you happen to be necessary to empty and retain dry chemical extinguishers (that need a 12-year hydrostatic test) each and every six years. (Dry chemical extinguishers which have nonrefillable, disposable containers are exempt from this requirement.) Note that when recharging or hydrostatic testing is performed, the six-year requirement begins from that date.

Offer a replacement extinguisher when transportable fire extinguishers are removed from service for upkeep and recharging. The replacement needs to be with the very same (or equivalent) sort (as an example, an ABC extinguisher may be applied as a replacement for any Class C fire extinguisher but 1 that is certainly rated for Class A fires only cannot).