Workplace fires and explosions kill hundreds and injure thousands of workers each year. One way to limit the amount of damage due to such fires is to make portable fire extinguishers an important part of your fire prevention program. When used properly, fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or controlling a fire until additional help arrives. A fire is the most common type of emergency for which small businesses must plan. A critical decision when planning is whether or not employees should fight a small fire with a portable fire extinguisher or simply evacuate. [Fight or Flee?]
This section provides basic information on fire and fire extinguisher operation and types.
If fire extinguishers are available for employee use, it is the employer's responsibility to educate employees on the principles and practices of using a fire extinguisher and the hazards associated with fighting small or developing fires.
Portable fire extinguishers can be an effective early response to a developing fire, if they are installed and used properly.
Over time, normal handling or workplace conditions can impact the structural integrity of the extinguisher and cause it to malfunction or burst. To prevent this from happening, all portable fire extinguishers are required to be inspected and pressure tested by a qualified individual using the proper equipment and facilities.
The requirements of this section apply to the placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees.
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