The fire extinguishers in your work place are something you don’t often think about. After all, you’re never going to use them if you’re lucky. That’s why it’s so easy to forget to inspect them. That’s how people find out that the extinguishers aren’t charged up or working when a fire does break out.
Here’s a guide to the fire extinguisher inspection requirements, including when to check your fire extinguishers, and ensure that they’re in perfect working condition. With the following details, you’ll be prepared if the worst does happen.
Once a Month: Visual Checks
Once a month, you’ll need to inspect the fire extinguishers in your building, to ensure that everything is in good order. This is a visual check, so shouldn’t take too long. If you do find anything is missing or incorrect, you can quickly put it right. This is something that is required by OSHA, so ensure that these checks get done on time.
Firstly, you want to see that every fire extinguisher in the the building is in its designated space. If it’s not there, you’ll need to find it and put it back, or ensure a new one is installed. You also want to ensure that nothing is blocking access to the equipment, so it can be easily grabbed in an emergency. Check that the instructions for using the extinguisher are clean and easily legible, in case of a fire breaking out.
Now, you are looking for any visual damage or changes to the extinguisher. Are there any signs of damage such as corrosion, leaks or dents? If so, then the extinguisher will need to be replaced.
You’ll also need to check that the extinguisher is fully charged and ready to use. Look at the pressure gauge on the tank. Is the indicator within operating range? You also need to check that the pull pin is still in place and that the seal is intact.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to log the date of the inspection, so you have a record of when it was checked. This is usually done on a tag on the extinguisher itself, so each one can be easily checked. It’s a good idea to verify the last date of inspection too, so you know you’re staying on schedule.
Once a Year: Maintenance Checks
To do this, you need to call in a professional fire prevention service to service the extinguishers. They have the right training and tools to be able to fully service them, and ensure they’re in working order. They can also identify any dangerous situations, and rectify them for you.
Once the servicing has been done, the service will add an inspection tag to the extinguishers they worked on. This will verify that the work has been done. If any extinguishers fail their tests, they will need to be repaired or replaced.
At Least Every 5 Years: Internal Maintenance Inspection
This type of inspection is slightly different, as the time period changes depending on the equipment you have. For example, pressurized water or carbon dioxide tanks need to be tested every five years. Dry chemical extinguishers need to be tested every 12 years. The time periods are different for each type, so check what you have in your building, and plan the tests accordingly.
This is another examination that requires the use of a fire prevention service, so it’s best to bring in the service of the people who do your once a year maintenance checks. They will discharge the fire extinguishers, examine all the components to ensure they’re working correctly, and then recharge them. Once this has been done, the extinguishers can then be signed off so you know they’re in good condition.
Ensuring Fire Safety in Your Building
Keeping up with the fire extinguisher inspection requirements is important, as they ensure that you can put out a fire if you come across one with ease. This isn’t the only way that you can keep your building fire safe, though.
Use these tips to keep your staff and your building safe:
Look Up Fire Regulations in Your District: Every area has a set of fire safety regulations that they must adhere to. Check out the regulations where your building is, so you can check you’re adhering to them. It’s important to this in terms of fire extinguishers, as the rules could be slightly different.
Unblock Fire Exits: All fire exits must be free of all blockages, so you can leave if a fire breaks out. Remove any boxes or other obstructions from the inside of the door, and ensure that no one blocks the exits with vehicles on the outside.
Train Staff: It’s no good to have fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment if your staff can’t use them. Ensure all staff are trained in how to use the equipment, so they know what to do in an emergency.
Create a Fire Escape Plan: If a fire did happen in the building, how would everyone get out? Now is the time to create a fire escape plan, if you haven’t already. Make sure all your staff know how to get out if a fire breaks out, and where they should gather safely once they have left. Put up signs with this plan, so your staff knows what to do.
Address Electrical Safety: In most work spaces, there’s a lot of electrical equipment that can cause a fire, if not used properly. You will need to do inspections of any equipment you have, and ensure it’s used safely. This includes changing the location of plug sockets if they can’t be reached without extension leads.
Now you know more about the fire extinguisher inspection requirements. With this information, you’ll be able to keep your staff and building safe in the event of a fire. Plan your inspections now.