Requirements For Placement, Use, Maintenance And Testing Of Portable Fire Extinguishers – Part 2

Travis Jolliff

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 will address General Requirements of  Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157.

1910.157(c) – General Requirements of Occupational Safety and Health Standard 1910.157

Employers 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. Employers shall not provide or make available in the workplace portable fire extinguishers using carbon tetrachloride or chlorobromomethane extinguishing agents. Employers 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. Employers 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.

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