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Fire Protection Training

Effective training allows workers to recognize, respond and provide corrective action as well as understand and retain the training information. The following information has been developed to assist in providing worker training on the specifics of fire watch and fire response.

Training
Fire response training by fire department personnel.
Figure 1. Fire response training by fire department personnel.

Training fire being extinguished by hand held fire extinguisher.
Figure 2. Training fire being extinguished by handheld fire extinguisher.

Fireman training in low light conditions in an enclosed space on vessel.
Figure 3. Fireman training in low light conditions in an enclosed space on vessel.

Fire watches in spaces with fire extinguisher.
Figure 4. Fire watches in spaces with fire extinguisher.



Potential Hazards:

  • No training program in place.
  • Infrequency of training.
  • Training is not effective or retained.
  • Inadequate training.
  • Unqualified trainers.
  • Insufficient training of subcontractors, temporary workers and non-English speaking workers. 

Requirements and Example Solutions:

General Fire Protection Training

  • All workers must be trained on the applicable fire protection requirements (Figure 1). [1915.508(a)]
  • All workers must be trained on: [1915.508(b)]
    • Emergency alarm signals, including system discharge alarms and employee evacuation alarms. [1915.508(b)(1)]
    • Primary and secondary evacuation routes to be used in the event of a fire in the workplace. While all vessels and vessel sections must have a primary evacuation route, a secondary evacuation route is not required when impracticable. [1915.508(b)(2)]

Extinguishing Small (Incipient) Fires

  • All workers expected to fight incipient stage fires must be trained in: [1915.508(c)]
    • General principles of using fire extinguishers or hose lines (Figure 2). [1915.508(c)(1)]
    • Hazards involved with incipient firefighting. [1915.508(c)(1)]
    • Procedures used to reduce these hazards. [1915.508(c)(1)]
    • Hazards associated with fixed and portable fire protection systems that workers may use or to which they may be exposed during discharge of those systems. [1915.508(c)(2)]
    • Activation and operation of fixed and portable fire protection systems that the employer expects workers to use in the workplace. [1915.508(c)(3)]

Fire Response

  • Workers designated for fire response must:
    • Receive additional training on the written fire training policy and standard operating procedures. [1915.508(d)(1) and 1915.508(d)(2)]
    • Review fire response with training programs and hands-on sessions as necessary. [1915.508(d)(3)]
    • Ensure that fire response workers are capable of carrying out their duties and responsibilities. [1915.508(d)(4)]
    • Train new fire response workers. [1915.508(d)(5)]
    • Provide quarterly training on the written operating procedures. [1915.508(d)(6)]
    • Use qualified instructors. [1915.508(d)(7)]
    • Conduct live fire response exercises (Figure 4). [1915.508(d)(8), NFPA 1403-2002]
    • Conduct semi-annual drills. [1915.508(d)(9)]
    • Prohibit the use of smoke-generating devices that create a dangerous atmosphere in training exercises. [1915.508(d)(10)]

Fire Watch

Training Records
  • Records must be kept to demonstrate that workers have been trained. [1915.508(f)]
    • Ensure that records include the employee's name, the trainer's name, the type of training and the date(s) on which the training took place. [1915.508(f)(1)]
    • Training record must be kept for one year from the time it was made or until it is replaced. [1915.508(f)(2)]
    • Make training records available for inspection and copy by OSHA upon request. [1915.508(f)(2)]
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Maritime Labor/Industry Recommendations
Workers exiting vessel during evacuation drill.
Figure 5. Workers exiting vessel during evacuation drill.
  • Use an open fire training system to train fire watches to extinguish fires.
  • Use multimedia techniques such as signs, videos, pictographs and bilingual trainers, if necessary. 
  • Test workers after training is conducted.
  • Conduct annual refresher training.
  • Conduct annual evacuation drills of workers (Figure 5).
  • Use fire extinguishers in good working order and near expiration date when conducting live fire training.
  • Sample Fire Safety Plans. Shipbuilders Council of America (2006).
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