OSHA Requirements For Fire Extinguishers On Commercial Vehicles

March 31, 2020 Roy Williams

Fire extinguishers are required by law on all trucks, truck tractors, and buses. The fire extinguisher(s) must be filled and located so that it is readily available for use. The extinguisher(s) must be securely mounted to prevent sliding, rolling, or vertical movement relative to the motor vehicle. You can’t just throw the extinguisher behind your seat or leave it covered with tools in your toolbox. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) maintains and enforces safety requirements for nearly all employers in the United States. This includes fire extinguisher requirements for all employers that rely on commercial transportation. OSHA requirements for fire extinguishers in vehicles include:

  • Employers must mount, secure and identify fire extinguishers in an area conspicuous to employees.
  • Use only OSHA-approved fire extinguishers.
  • Employers must inspect, test and maintain fire extinguishers.
  • Employer-provided fire extinguishers must be appropriately classified for the kinds of fires that could occur in each specific work environment.

OSHA-approved fire extinguishers meet specific safety ratings set by the Underwriters’ Laboratories, an independent safety testing and certification organization. The Underwriters’ Laboratories fire extinguisher ratings are based on two criteria: the type of fire the extinguisher is equipped to extinguish and the fire extinguisher’s size. The number in a fire extinguisher’s safety rating refers to the square feet of coverage it provides, and the letter or letters in its safety rating refer to the class of fires it is designed to extinguish:

  • Class A fires are fires involving everyday flammable materials like wood, paper and textiles.
  • Class B fires are fires involving flammable gases and liquids such as gasoline and oil.
  • Class C fires are fires involving electronics and electrical equipment.
  • Class D fires are fires involving combustible metals like titanium, sodium and magnesium.

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