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Safety Tips | Fire safety

Keep extinguishers in working order

October 1, 2011

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Portable fire extinguishers can be vital in preventing a small fire from turning into a major catastrophe. But the devices provide no protection if they are not properly maintained. OSHA offers the following rules regarding fire extinguishers:

  • The employer is responsible for maintaining and testing all portable fire extinguishers in the workplace.
  • Extinguishers or hoses must be visually inspected at least once a month.
  • A full maintenance check should be performed on all extinguishers at least once annually, and records of this check should be kept for one year.
  • Dry chemical extinguishers that require a 12-year hydrostatic test should be emptied for full maintenance every six years. Extinguishers with non-refillable disposable containers are exempt from this requirement. 
  • Hydrostatic testing should be performed by trained individuals with suitable testing equipment and facilities.
  • When portable extinguishers are removed for maintenance or recharging, the employer must provide an alternative that offers equal protection.

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