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Care and Handling of Fire Extinguishers

red fire extinguisher mounted on wall

During recent OSHA inspections, violations involving fire extinguishers have become more common. OSHA routinely evaluates the presence, placement, use, maintenance, and testing of fire extinguishers. These evaluations are in conjunction with your written fire prevention plan.

If you have portable fire extinguishers in your workplace, they must be visually inspected and recorded monthly. A maintenance check should be performed yearly. This annual maintenance check must be documented and retained for one year after the last maintenance check, or the life of the extinguisher shell, whichever is less.

If your fire prevention plan states employees are required to use extinguishers, then you must ensure the extinguisher is mounted and located in an area that is easily accessible without subjecting the employee to possible injury. Employees must be trained on extinguisher use.

Any stored pressure dry chemical extinguishers that require a hydrostatic test must be emptied and subjected to maintenance every six years. During maintenance, alternative forms of fire protection must be provided.