Saturday, November 1, 2014

Commonly Asked Questions About Portable Fire Extinguishers

November 1, 2014 - It’s been a little over a year since I posted a blog explaining Federal OSHA’s requirements to provide education and training on portable fire extinguishers to workers when there are extinguishers available for their use. Since that time, some readers have emailed me with other questions about extinguishers; the same questions that come up quite often when I conduct mock-OSHA inspections.  While I could probably ramble on trying to answer fifteen or twenty recurring questions today, I decided to post answers to five commonly-asked questions about portable fire extinguishers in my blog.
  • How high above the floor does OSHA require portable fire extinguishers to be mounted?   Federal OSHA standard 1910.157(c)(1) simply states that the employer “shall mount” portable fire extinguishers so they are accessible to employees; there is no height requirement listed. However, in OSHA’s . . . 
 
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9 comments:

  1. Hello, I am a Safety/Loss Control Consultant with a commercial insurance carrier. In conjunction with our work, we inspect portable fire extinguishers to be sure that they are inspected and serviced annually in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association NFPA #10. Some of my clients have asked me that instead of having the extinguishers serviced annually which could be a big expense, can they just replace them after five years with new ones? thank you DB

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  2. DB. If one was only concerned with the six year internal exam of stored pressure extinguisher, that might be a good strategy. However, the OSHA regs (and the NFPA standard they are based on) require an annual exam to check for other external problems that could exist. For example, NFPA 10 (the standard for portable extinguishers) section 7.3.2 requires that annual, all extinguishers be checked for corrosion, blockage in the nozzle, legibility of all labels, and external damage. Also the pin must be pulled and a new tamper seal installed. So just replacing an extinguisher every five years would not suffice. Hope this helps. CC

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  3. This is some interesting and important information. I didn't know about the recessed cabinets, for example. Fire extinguishers really are important to safety. I've seen instances in which they prevented a lot of damage (not to mention possible safety problems). Thanks for the good article.

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  4. NFPA 10, classifies and defines Hazards as Light Hazard, Ordinary Hazard and Extra Hazard. Then under installations it refers to Class A and Class B Hazards. What are Class A and Class B Hazards and where are they defined?

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    Replies
    1. Class A means the extinguisher is suitable for extinguishing is ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, paper, plastics . . . Class B means it is suitable to extinguish flammable and combustible liquids . . . Here is a link to a free tutorial on portable fire extinguishers which explains this in more detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkQdmsgyHLo

      I hope this helps.

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  5. Is floor-taping required where fire extinguishers are located similar to the way we tape off the clearance for a wall-mounted electrical cabinet?

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    Replies
    1. Taping off (or using paint) to mark the floor in front of portable fire extinguishers is not mandated by OSHA (nor is it for electrical boxes). But you may find it helpful to do so anyway.

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  6. Do you need to keep fire extinguishers a certain distance away from things hung on the wall, such as portraits or paintings (wall decor).

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  7. can anyone in the organization perform a fire extinguisher monthly inspection or are they required to have a license/certification?

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