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printreg, December, 2002
"Portable Fire Extinguisher Requirements"

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From: Debra Jacobson (djacobson@istc.illinois.edu)
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 07:07:27

The following is guidance on what type and where portable fire extinguishers are required per OSHA standards.
Debra Jacobson


What are the general criteria for selecting and distributing fire extinguishers in the workplace?

According to 29 CFR 1910.157(d)(1), portable fire extinguishers must be provided for employee use and selected and distributed based on the classes of anticipated workplace fires and on the size and degree of hazard for which they would be used. Employers must distribute portable fire extinguishers as follows:
* For use on Class A fires: so that the travel distance for employees to any extinguisher is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less
* For use on Class B fires: so that the travel distance from the Class B hazard area to any extinguisher is 50 feet (15.2 m) or less
* For Class C hazards: on the basis of the appropriate pattern for the existing Class A or Class B hazards Portable fire extinguishers for Class D hazards are required in combustible metal working areas where combustible metal powders, flakes, shavings, or similarly sized products are generated at least once every two weeks.

Portable fire extinguishers or other containers of Class D extinguishing agent so that the travel distance from the combustible metal working area to any extinguishing agent is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less.

Unless a specific standard in 29 CFR 1910 requires that a portable fire extinguisher be provided, employers with all of the following are exempt from these requirements:
* A written fire safety policy that requires the immediate and total evacuation of employees from the workplace upon the sounding of a fire alarm signal
* A written fire safety plan that includes an emergency action plan and a fire prevention plan that meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.38
* No extinguishers available in the workplace

Source: "reg of the day" listserv operated by Tammy Silverthorne @ the Environmental Resource Center

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