Requirements For Placement, Use, Maintenance And Testing Of Portable Fire Extinguishers – Part 5

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 addressed Exemptions to the requirements of  Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157. Part 2 in this series addressed General Requirements of  Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157. Part 3 in this series addressed Selection and Distribution requirements of  Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157. Part 4 in the series addressed Inspection, Maintenance and Testing requirements of  Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157. Part 5 in the series will address Hydrostatic Testing requirements of Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157.

1910.157(f) – Hydrostatic Testing requirements of Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157

Employers shall assure that portable fire extinguishers are hydrostatically tested whenever they show new evidence of corrosion or mechanical injury, except under the conditions listed in this section. Employers shall assure that hydrostatic tests are performed on extinguisher hose assemblies which are equipped with a shut-off nozzle at the discharge end of the hose. The test interval shall be the same as specified for the extinguisher on which the hose is installed. Employers shall assure that carbon dioxide hose assemblies with a shut-off nozzle are hydrostatically tested at 1,250 psi (8,620 kPa). Employers shall assure that dry chemical and dry powder hose assemblies with a shut-off nozzle are hydrostatically tested at 300 psi (2,070 kPa). Hose assemblies passing a hydrostatic test do not require any type of recording or stamping. Employers shall assure that hose assemblies for carbon dioxide extinguishers that require a hydrostatic test are tested within a protective cage device. Employers shall assure that carbon dioxide extinguishers and nitrogen or carbon dioxide cylinders used with wheeled extinguishers are tested every 5 years at 5/3 of the service pressure as stamped into the cylinder. Nitrogen cylinders which comply with 49 CFR 173.34(e)(15) may be hydrostatically tested every 10 years. Employers shall assure that all stored pressure and Halon 1211 types of extinguishers are hydrostatically tested at the factory test pressure not to exceed two times the service pressure. Employers shall assure that acceptable self-generating type soda acid and foam extinguishers are tested at 350 psi (2,410 kPa). Air or gas pressure may not be used for hydrostatic testing. Extinguisher shells, cylinders, or cartridges which fail a hydrostatic pressure test, or which are not fit for testing shall be removed from service and from the workplace. The equipment for testing compressed gas type cylinders shall be of the water jacket type. The equipment shall be provided with an expansion indicator which operates with an accuracy within one percent of the total expansion or .1cc (.1mL) of liquid. The equipment for testing non-compressed gas type cylinders shall consist of the following:

  • A hydrostatic test pump, hand or power operated, capable of producing not less than 150 percent of the test pressure, which shall include appropriate check valves and fittings;
  • A flexible connection for attachment to fittings to test through the extinguisher nozzle, test bonnet, or hose outlet, as is applicable; and
  • A protective cage or barrier for personal protection of the tester, designed to provide visual observation of the extinguisher under test.

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Since 1925, we have protected businesses throughout the area from the harms and hazards of fires. Every Jay L Harman technician is licensed and regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance State Fire Marshal’s Office.  Each of these technicians continually receives the most up-to-date factory training and certifications by our manufacturers. Contact Jay L Harman Fire Equipment today. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff tell you more about our fire suppression systems and help you find the ideal fire suppression system for your needs. Learn more about our full offering of fire extinguisher training, firefighting services, firefighting products, request a quote, ask a question or request additional information.