• Part Number:
  • Part Number Title:
    Occupational Safety and Health Standards
  • Subpart:
    1910 Subpart L
  • Subpart Title:
    Fire Protection
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Fixed extinguishing systems, general.
  • GPO Source:

Scope and application.


This section applies to all fixed extinguishing systems installed to meet a particular OSHA standard except for automatic sprinkler systems which are covered by § 1910.159.

This section also applies to fixed systems not installed to meet a particular OSHA standard, but which, by means of their operation, may expose employees to possible injury, death, or adverse health consequences caused by the extinguishing agent. Such systems are only subject to the requirements of paragraphs (b)(4) through (b)(7) and (c) of this section.
Systems otherwise covered in paragraph (a)(2) of this section which are installed in areas with no employee exposure are exempted from the requirements of this section.

General requirements.

Fixed extinguishing system components and agents shall be designed and approved for use on the specific fire hazards they are expected to control or extinguish.
If for any reason a fixed extinguishing system becomes inoperable, the employer shall notify employees and take the necessary temporary precautions to assure their safety until the system is restored to operating order. Any defects or impairments shall be properly corrected by trained personnel.

The employer shall provide a distinctive alarm or signaling system which complies with § 1910.165 and is capable of being perceived above ambient noise or light levels, on all extinguishing systems in those portions of the workplace covered by the extinguishing system to indicate when the extinguishing system is discharging. Discharge alarms are not required on systems where discharge is immediately recognizable.

The employer shall provide effective safeguards to warn employees against entry into discharge areas where the atmosphere remains hazardous to employee safety or health.
The employer shall post hazard warning or caution signs at the entrance to, and inside of, areas protected by fixed extinguishing systems which use agents in concentrations known to be hazardous to employee safety and health.
The employer shall assure that fixed systems are inspected annually by a person knowledgeable in the design and function of the system to assure that the system is maintained in good operating condition.
The employer shall assure that the weight and pressure of refillable containers is checked at least semi-annually. If the container shows a loss in net content or weight of more than 5 percent, or a loss in pressure of more than 10 percent, it shall be subjected to maintenance.
The employer shall assure that factory charged nonrefillable containers which have no means of pressure indication are weighed at least semi-annually. If a container shows a loss in net weight or more than 5 percent it shall be replaced.
The employer shall assure that inspection and maintenance dates are recorded on the container, on a tag attached to the container, or in a central location. A record of the last semi-annual check shall be maintained until the container is checked again or for the life of the container, whichever is less.
The employer shall train employees designated to inspect, maintain, operate, or repair fixed extinguishing systems and annually review their training to keep them up-to-date in the functions they are to perform.
The employer shall not use chlorobromomethane or carbon tetrachloride as an extinguishing agent where employees may be exposed.
The employer shall assure that systems installed in the presence of corrosive atmospheres are constructed of non-corrosive material or otherwise protected against corrosion.

Automatic detection equipment shall be approved, installed and maintained in accordance with § 1910.164.

The employer shall assure that all systems designed for and installed in areas with climatic extremes shall operate effectively at the expected extreme temperatures.
The employer shall assure that at least one manual station is provided for discharge activation of each fixed extinguishing system.
The employer shall assure that manual operating devices are identified as to the hazard against which they will provide protection.
The employer shall provide and assure the use of the personal protective equipment needed for immediate rescue of employees trapped in hazardous atmospheres created by an agent discharge.

Total flooding systems with potential health and safety hazards to employees.


The employer shall provide an emergency action plan in accordance with § 1910.38 for each area within a workplace that is protected by a total flooding system which provides agent concentrations exceeding the maximum safe levels set forth in paragraphs (b)(5) and (b)(6) of § 1910.162.

Systems installed in areas where employees cannot enter during or after the system's operation are exempt from the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

On all total flooding systems the employer shall provide a pre-discharge employee alarm which complies with § 1910.165, and is capable of being perceived above ambient light or noise levels before the system discharges, which will give employees time to safely exit from the discharge area prior to system discharge.

The employer shall provide automatic actuation of total flooding systems by means of an approved fire detection device installed and interconnected with a pre-discharge employee alarm system to give employees time to safely exit from the discharge area prior to system discharge.

[45 FR 60711, Sept. 12, 1980]