Employee Use of Fire Extinguishers

The Society for Human Resource Management website recently noted that employers are obligated to train employees to use fire extinguishers at work. In fact, OSHA has specific regulations addressing the “placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers provided for the use of employees.” Further, in some specific circumstances, if you provide portable fire extinguishers for use by employees in the workplace, OSHA requires you to provide an “educational program” to teach employees about fire extinguisher use and the “hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting.” OSHA has clarified, however, in response to one employer inquiry, that the employer did not need to provide “Hands on experience using actual fires in a controlled environment,” although there is such training widely available from third-parties, including may local fire departments. The OSHA regulations can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=9811&p_table=STANDARDS. An example of classes provided by a local fire department can be found here: http://www.ci.oswego.or.us/fire/fire-extinguisher-classes



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