Minnesota Fire Prevention laws & safety compliance analysis

Minnesota Fire Prevention: What you need to know

Minnesota has no specific law or regulation requiring employers to conduct fire drills, with the exception of public and private schools. Minnesota's own health and safety code, governing both private and public workplaces, is in most important respects identical to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The OSH Act requires that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans for each workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plans orally. To ensure that the exit plan will work in an actual emergency, it is advisable to rehearse regularly with annual or semiannual drills.

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Also, employers should check local fire safety codes, which may contain additional requirements.

School drills. Schools in Minnesota must hold five fire/evacuation drills, five lockdown drills, and one tornado drill per school year (MN Stat. Sec. 121A.035).

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM), with assistance from local governments, conducts tornado/severe weather drills on an afternoon in April so that businesses, schools, and healthcare facilities can practice emergency plans. Businesses with second shifts may ask the county for a second drill in the evening. Go to the HSEM severe weather Web center at http://www.severeweather.state.mn.us/ index.aspor call 651-201-7400 for more information.

HSEM, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Natural Resources have developed evacuation plans for fires, earthquakes, chemical spills, power failures, and terror attacks. These agencies suggest that employers not wait ...

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