Ask the expert: Checking portable fire extinguishers

By: May 2nd, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Does OSHA require a monthly check of portable fire extinguishers?

A: Yes. The OSHA standard for portable fire extinguishers 1910.157 requires a monthly visual check. Each month check for:

  • proper location
  • accessibility and visibility
  • intact tamper seal
  • allowable pressure range
  • corrosion or damage to the tank
  • clogging of the discharge nozzle

To help you stay compliant with monthly checks, download the Fire Extinguisher Monthly Check Diagram from the Tools page.

Comments

By Karen D. on May 4th, 2011 at 7:34 am

Thank you for this posting! Many times I get a puzzled look when I advise offices to do a monthly fire extinguisher check. Other times, practices think they’ve met their obligation since they already had their yearly extinguisher check (which resulted in that nifty tag that hangs from the extinguisher). A quick tip: many of these tags will have a Monthly Inspection Record on the back, allowing for easy documentation.

By Carol D. on May 7th, 2011 at 12:44 am

In the standard 1910.157, which specific paragraph mentions the monthly time frame? The only time reference I see is the yearly maintenance.

By David LaHoda on May 10th, 2011 at 1:46 am

Section 1910.157(e)(2) of Portable fire extinguishers standard states:

“Portable extinguishers or hose used in lieu thereof under paragraph (d)(3) of this section shall be visually inspected monthly.”

A 11/29/2006 interpretation letter, “Whether inspections for portable fire extinguishers can be reduced from monthly to quarterly intervals,” explains that the monthly visual check is to ensure that the equipment is in place, charged, and ready for use in case of a fire.

 

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