Requirements For Placement, Use, Maintenance And Testing Of Portable Fire Extinguishers – Part 1

Roy Williams

The requirements of Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157 apply to the placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees. Where extinguishers are provided but are not intended for employee use and the employer has both 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 1910.157(e) and 1910.157(f) apply.

This 7 part series of articles will provide a summary of each section of  Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157 to allow the reader with a good understanding of the requirements as they apply to portable fire extinguishers in the workplace. Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157 consists of 6 major section:

  • 1910.157(b) – Exemptions
  • 1910.157(c) – General Requirements
  • 1910.157(d) – Selection and Distribution
  • 1910.157(e) – Inspection, Maintenance and Testing
  • 1910.157(f) – Hydrostatic Testing
  • 1910.157(g) – Training and Education

Part 1 in this series will address Exemptions to the requirements of  Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157.

1910.157(b) – Exemptions from Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157

Where an 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 both 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 Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157 unless a specific standard in part 1910 requires that a portable fire extinguisher be provided. Where an 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 1910.157(d).

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