OSHA Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard
• Part Number:1910
• Part Title:Occupational Safety and Health Standards
• Subpart Title:Fire Protection
• Standard Number:1910.157
• Title:Portable fire extinguishers.
• GPO Source:e-CFR
Scope and application. The requirements of this section apply to the placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees. Paragraph (d) of this 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 and 29 CFR 1910.39 respectively, then only the requirements of paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section 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 which 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.
Where the employer has an emergency action plan meeting the requirements of 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 paragraph (d) of this section.
The employer shall provide portable fire extinguishers and shall mount, locate and identify them so that they are readily accessible to employees without subjecting the employees to possible injury.
Only approved portable fire extinguishers shall be used to meet the requirements of this section.
The employer shall not provide or make available in the workplace portable fire extinguishers using carbon tetrachloride or chlorobromomethane extinguishing agents.
The employer shall assure that portable fire extinguishers are maintained in a fully charged and operable condition and kept in their designated places at all times except during use.
The employer shall remove from service all soldered or riveted shell self-generating soda acid or self-generating foam or gas cartridge water type portable fire extinguishers which are operated by inverting the extinguisher to rupture the cartridge or to initiate an uncontrollable pressure generating chemical reaction to expel the agent.
Selection and distribution.
Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided for employee use and selected and distributed based on the classes of anticipated workplace fires and on the size and degree of hazard which would affect their use.
The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers for use by employees on Class A fires so that the travel distance for employees to any extinguisher is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less.
The employer may use uniformly spaced standpipe systems or hose stations connected to a sprinkler system installed for emergency use by employees instead of Class A portable fire extinguishers, provided that such systems meet the respective requirements of 1910.158 or 1910.159, that they provide total coverage of the area to be protected, and that employees are trained at least annually in their use.
The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers for use by employees on Class B fires so that the travel distance from the Class B hazard area to any extinguisher is 50 feet (15.2 m) or less.
The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers used for Class C hazards on the basis of the appropriate pattern for the existing Class A or Class B hazards.
The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers or other containers of Class D extinguishing agent for use by employees so that the travel distance from the combustible metal working area to any extinguishing agent is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less. Portable fire extinguishers for Class D hazards are required in those combustible metal working areas where combustible metal powders, flakes, shavings, or similarly sized products are generated at least once every two weeks.
Inspection, maintenance and testing.
The employer shall be responsible for the inspection, maintenance and testing of all portable fire extinguishers in the workplace.
Portable extinguishers or hose used in lieu thereof under paragraph (d)(3) of this section shall be visually inspected monthly.
The employer shall assure that portable fire extinguishers are subjected to an annual maintenance check. Stored pressure extinguishers do not require an internal examination. The employer shall record the annual maintenance date and retain this record for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell, whichever is less. The record shall be available to the Assistant Secretary upon request.
The employer shall assure that stored pressure dry chemical extinguishers that require a 12-year hydrostatic test are emptied and subjected to applicable maintenance procedures every 6 years. Dry chemical extinguishers having non-refillable disposable containers are exempt from this requirement. When recharging or hydrostatic testing is performed, the 6-year requirement begins from that date.
The employer shall assure that alternate equivalent protection is provided when portable fire extinguishers are removed from service for maintenance and recharging.
The employer shall assure that hydrostatic testing is performed by trained persons with suitable testing equipment and facilities.
The employer shall assure that portable extinguishers are hydrostatically tested at the intervals listed in Table L-1 of this section, except under any of the following conditions:
When the unit has been repaired by soldering, welding, brazing, or use of patching compounds;
When the cylinder or shell threads are damaged;
When there is corrosion that has caused pitting, including corrosion under removable name plate assemblies;
When the extinguisher has been burned in a fire; or
When a calcium chloride extinguishing agent has been used in a stainless steel shell.
In addition to an external visual examination, the employer shall assure that an internal examination of cylinders and shells to be tested is made prior to the hydrostatic tests
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