Fire Extinguisher Safety Training
The requirements of this section apply to the placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees. The selection and distribution section does not apply to extinguishers provided for employee use on the outside of workplace buildings or structures.
Where extinguishers are provided but are not intended for employee use and the employer has an emergency action plan and a fire prevention plan that meet the requirements of [29 CFR 1910.38], then only the requirements of the inspection, maintenance and testing and hydrostatic testing sections apply. [29 CFR 1910.157(a)] To comply with OSHA requirements, consider the following:
- General Requirements
- Selection and distribution
- Inspection, maintenance and testing
- Hydrostatic testing
- Training and education
During development and implementation of your draft plan, think about all possible emergency situations and evaluate your workplace to see if it complies with OSHA’s emergency standards.
An employer must:
- Provide portable fire extinguishers and mount, locate, and identify them so that they are readily accessible to employees without subjecting the employees to possible injury. [29 CFR 1910.157(c)(1)]
- Use only approved portable fire extinguishers. [29 CFR 1910.157(c)(2)]
- Do not use portable fire extinguishers that use carbon tetrachloride or chlorobromomethane extinguishing agents. [29 CFR 1910.157(c)(3)]
- Assure that portable fire extinguishers are maintained, fully charged, operating properly, and kept in designated places at all times except during use. [29 CFR 1910.157(c)(4)]
- Remove from service all soldered or riveted shell self-generating soda acid or self-generating foam or gas cartridge water type portable fire extinguishers that are operated by inverting the extinguisher to rupture the cartridge or to initiate an uncontrollable pressure generating chemical reaction to expel the agent. [29 CFR 1910.157(c)(5)]
The following exemptions apply:
- Where the employer has established and implemented a written fire safety policy which requires the immediate and total evacuation of employees from the workplace upon the sounding of a fire alarm signal and which includes an emergency action plan and a fire prevention plan that meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.38 and 29 CFR 1910.39 respectively, and when extinguishers are not available in the workplace, the employer is exempt from all requirements of this section unless a specific standard in Part 1910 requires that a portable fire extinguisher be provided. [29 CFR 1910.157(b)(1)]
- Where the employer has an emergency action plan meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.38, which designates certain employees to be the only employees authorized to use the available portable fire extinguishers, and which requires all other employees in the fire area to immediately evacuate the affected work area upon the sounding of the fire alarm, the employer is exempt from the distribution requirements in the selection and distribution section. [29 CFR 1910.157(b)(2)]
An employer must:
- Provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting. [29 CFR 1910.157(g)(1)] Provide this education when employees are first hired and once a year thereafter. [29 CFR 1910.157(g)(2)]
- Train employees (who have been designated to use fire fighting equipment in the emergency action plan) in the use of the equipment. [29 CFR 1910.157(g)(3)] Provide this training when employees are first given this assignment and once a year thereafter. [29 CFR 1910.157(g)(4)]
See OSHA Requirement E-Tool below for further information.