OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.


May 18, 1990

The Honorable Louise M. Slaughter
Member, United States House of Representatives
311 Federal Building
100 State Street
Rochester, New York 14614

Dear Congresswoman Slaughter:

Thank you for your inquiry of March 21, addressed to Ms. Ruth Knight, Director of the Office of Intra-Government Affairs, on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Sam Cuckovich.

The concerns expressed by Mr. Cuckovich are addressed and highlighted in the enclosed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Fire Protection Standards at 29 CFR 1910.157(e)(1) and 1910.157(e)(3). These standards specify that employers are responsible for inspecting and maintaining their fire extinguishers in use and for keeping, retaining, and making related records available to the Assistant Secretary upon request. The standards do not require servicing vendors to certify to the owner that servicing has been done in accordance with OSHA of National Fire Protection Association standards. Such a requirement is at the discretion of the contracting employer.

With respect to Mr. Cuckovich's inquiry about portable fire extinguishers in public school buses, public schools do not fall under Federal OSHA's jurisdiction nor do OSHA standards pertain to or cover students or the public. Federal OSHA does enforce standards applicable to employees working for private schools.

As you may be aware, Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act) permits States to assume responsibility for their own occupational safety and health programs under State plans approved and monitored by Federal OSHA. Since June of 1984, the State of New York has administered such a State plan, applicable only to public employees of the State and its political subdivisions, pursuant to its Public Employees Safety and Health (PESH) Act, Chapter 729 of the laws of 1980.

States with approved plans must adopt standards identical or comparable to Federal standards. Under its OSHA-approved State plan and in accordance with Section 27-a of the PESH Act, New York adopts and enforces occupational safety and health standards in the public sector which are identical to OSHA's. New York has adopted and is enforcing a Fire Protection Standard in the public sector which is identical to Federal OSHA's. Therefore, public schools must comply with the same Fire Protection Standard as private schools, but the standard is promulgated and enforced by the State.

For more information about the OSHA approved New York State Plan for safety and health protection of State and local government employees please contact:


[New York Department of Labor
Division of Safety and Health
Public Employees Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau
Governor W. Averell Harriman State Building Campus
Building 12, Room 158
Albany, New York 12240
PH: (518) 457-1263
FAX: (518) 457-5545]



The extinguishers located in private school buses require servicing in the same manner as the extinguishers located inside a private school building. The extinguishers located inside the public school buses require servicing in accordance with local fire department or the State and local government requirements.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us. Thank you for your interest in safety and health.


Gerard F. Scannell, Assistant Secretary


cc: Washington, D.C. Office

[Corrected 1/28/2009]