Fire Extinguishers laws & safety compliance analysis

Fire Extinguishers: What you need to know

29 CFR 1910.157

The federal portable fire extinguisher rule applies to the placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees. Employers are generally required to provide portable fire extinguishing equipment in the workplace for use in fighting incipient-stage fires. An “incipient-stage fire” means initial or beginning stage that can be controlled or extinguished by portable fire extinguishers.

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The rule also provides alternative methods of compliance for employers that do not want their employees to fight incipient-stage fires in the workplace, either provide or do not provide fire extinguishers, and use employee alarm systems.

See the national Emergency Preparedness analysis section for more information about employee alarm systems.

See the national Emergency Action Plan and Fire Prevention analysis sections for more information about employee evacuations during an emergency.

Options for Compliance

Each employer must choose among the following four options for compliance with the OSHA rule for the use of portable fire extinguishers to fight fires.

Option 1—There are no portable fire extinguishers, and all employees are evacuated after an alarm is sounded. Employers that select this option are relieved from compliance with the fire extinguisher rule unless a specific OSHA standard in 29 CFR Part 1910 requires that portable fire extinguishers be provided. If the employer selects this total evacuation option, a written Emergency Action Plan is required. See the Emergency Action Plan analysis section for more information.

Option 2—There are portable fire extinguishers in the workplace, but they are not intended ...

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