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With our Hazard Identification solution, you can capture, prioritize and control workplace hazards. Unlike paper-based solutions, anyone can report a hazard while working out in the field. The report is done quickly and from any mobile or web-based device.
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Our proactive Fatigue Management solution uses a game-like quiz to identify when your people are struggling with alertness, a leading indicator of fatigue.
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Our Training Tracking solution simplifies the complexities of safety training scheduling. Build out training curriculums by site, role or project and rely on automated training reminders and renewals.
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Ensure your mining operations meet the highest standards of safety and compliance with SafetyIQ. Our proactive safety management is specifically configured to manage all elements of Work Health and Safety that are unique to the Mining Industry.
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Ou safety software empowers the manufacturing industry to create safer, healthier, and more productive workspaces. We help you to truly become the guardian of your workforce's safety, protecting the backbone of your organization from the risks that could grind your progress to a halt.
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Our Journey Management solution provides centralised visibility of your mobile workers, automated emergency escalations and helps reduce the number of accidents, injuries and delays among mobile workers.
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Journey Management Guide
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Lone Worker Management
Our Lone Worker solution provides complete visibility no matter where your workers are, effective communication with periodic check-ins and a fast and reliable emergency escalation process.
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Lone Worker Management Guide
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Incident Reporting
Our Incident Reporting solution helps you prevent workplace injuries by capturing crucial details, assigning corrective actions, and safety trend analysis with data-driven insights.

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Incident Reporting Guide
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Hazard Identification
With our Hazard Identification solution, you can capture, prioritize and control workplace hazards. Unlike paper-based solutions, anyone can report a hazard while working out in the field. The report is done quickly and from any mobile or web-based device.
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Hazard Identification Guide
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Safety Observations
Our Safety Observation solution offers real-time communication, ensuring swift action on safety concerns. It streamlines and improves employee safety, empowering safety managers to proactively mitigate risks and drive a safer work environment.
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Safety Observations Guide
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Audits and Inspections
With our Audits and Inspections solution, you can schedule and assign standardized Audits and Inspections. Allocate corrective actions and track the progress of remediation efforts.
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Training Tracker
Our Training Tracking solution simplifies the complexities of safety training scheduling. Build out training curriculums by site, role or project and rely on automated training reminders and renewals.
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Training Tracker Guide
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Fatigue Management
Our proactive Fatigue Management solution uses a game-like quiz to identify when your people are struggling with alertness, a leading indicator of fatigue.
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Ensure your mining operations meet the highest standards of safety and compliance with SafetyIQ. Our proactive safety management is specifically configured to manage all elements of Workplace Health and Safety that are unique to the Mining Industry.
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Our safety software empowers the manufacturing industry to create safer, healthier, and more productive workspaces. We help you to truly become the guardian of your workforce's safety, protecting the backbone of your organization from the risks that could grind your progress to a halt.
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Manufacturing Safety Guide
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Construction and Engineering
Our safety management solution was built to manage all elements of Workplace Health and Safety that are unique to the Construction Industry including safety processes for workers that travel or work alone, with a comprehensive Safety Management Platform.
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We help Transport and Logistics companies to streamline incident reporting, real-time monitoring of drivers, enhance compliance management, and enable data-driven decision-making. Experience a safer and more efficient operation with SafetyIQ.
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How Often Should Fire Extinguishers Be Checked: A Workplace Safety Guide

Does the thought of a fire at work send shivers down your spine?  Imagine the chaos, the potential danger... but what if there was a way to be prepared? 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are over 1 million fires reported each year in the United States across all occupancies. These fires result in thousands of civilian deaths and injuries annually, along with billions in direct property damage. Workplaces, in particular, see over 17,000 fires each year.

To mitigate these risks and safeguard lives and assets, adequate fire extinguisher inspections are crucial. 

In this guide, we will delve into the importance of routine fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance in the workplace. By grasping the proper techniques for inspecting and maintaining fire extinguishers, workplaces can bolster safety measures and reduce the potential impact of fire incidents.

Fire Extinguisher Types 

Workplace safety requires knowing which extinguishers operate for various fires. The labels on fire extinguishers and signs indicate the classes.

Today's workplaces employ 5 primary fire extinguishers:

Types of fire extinguishers and relevant tags
  1. Class A extinguishers work on wood, paper, textiles, and plastics. Pressurized water makes them suited for solid-material fires.
  2. Class B extinguishers control grease, oil, gasoline, paints, and other flammable substances. Dry chemicals, foam, or carbon dioxide remove oxygen or restrict chain reactions to extinguish fires.
  3. Class C fire extinguishers are for live electrical equipment. To extinguish flames without electrocuting the operator, they use carbon dioxide and dry chemicals.
  4. Class D extinguishers are used in industrial kitchens and metal fabrication shops to control flammable metals. They contain fire-smothering dry powders.
  5. Newer Class K extinguishers are used for commercial kitchen fires utilizing vegetable, animal, or fat oils. They suppress fires with moist chemicals that saponify oils.

OSHA Regulations – How Important It Is To Inspect Fire Extinguishers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines on fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance under standard 1910 - Portable Fire Extinguishers.

These regulations help ensure that fire extinguishers are properly maintained and ready to operate in the event of a fire emergency.

In addition to monthly inspections, OSHA mandates an annual maintenance check by a qualified service agent OR certified safety manager. This annual check ensures that the extinguisher is examined thoroughly for proper pressure and mechanical parts. You also need to inspect extinguishers for workplace DART rate and how it leads your workplace to new safety heights!

Types of Fire Extinguisher Inspections

There are two main types of inspections that should be conducted: visual inspections on a monthly basis and maintenance inspections annually.

Visual Fire Extinguisher Inspections

Frequency: Once per month

Purpose: Ensure basic functionality and readiness

Visual inspections of fire extinguishers should be carried out once a month. They involve a basic check of the extinguisher to ensure it is functioning properly and ready for use if needed.

During monthly visual inspections, a safety manager should:

Inspect each extinguisher to check for any obvious signs of damage, leaks, corrosion, or clogged nozzles. The pressure gauge should still show full pressure.

No nozzle may perform poorly in an emergency, leading to property damage

Ensure the pin and tamper seal are intact. If either shows signs of tampering, the extinguisher may have been partially or fully discharged and should be replaced.

The seal prevents the pin from being pulled out accidentally

Confirm that the extinguisher is in its designated location and mounted properly on a wall bracket or stand. It should be easily accessible and not blocked by equipment, boxes, or other objects.

Fire extinguishers should be located accurately near required places

Look for any obstructions to the extinguisher like closed doors, storage, or equipment that would make it difficult to access in an emergency.

Hang fire extinguishers near doors that are easily accessible

Note the date of inspection on the extinguisher's inspection tag.

Safety manager notes down all visual inspections on tag

Monthly inspections take just a few minutes per extinguisher, and help verify they can perform properly when needed. It's an easy routine to build into existing safety walks or rounds. While quick, monthly checks are the first line of defense to avoid finding non-working extinguishers in the event of an emergency.

Annual Maintenance Inspections

Frequency: Annually

Purpose: Thorough examination and repair

Conducted by professional fire protection companies to verify complete functionality and compliance with standards. All components, including tyres, wheels, hose, and nozzle, are inspected thoroughly for wheeled units.

Compliance with NFPA 10 (98), Sec. 4-4 regulations is verified. An inspection tag is attached, dated and valid for one year after repairs or replacements are conducted if any units fail the maintenance check.

In case of an emergency, you must read: Effective Safety Meetings: Toolbox Talks for Emergency Response

Fire Extinguisher Servicing

Frequency: 1-12 years (depending on extinguisher type)

Purpose: Comprehensive service and compliance.

The purpose of fire extinguisher servicing is to provide comprehensive inspection, maintenance, and repair to ensure optimal functionality and safety. Proper servicing helps guarantee that extinguishers will operate properly when needed in an emergency.

Key Points:

  • Service requirements begin after recharging or hydrostatic testing.
  • Dry chemical extinguishers with non-refillable containers expire (replace every 10-12 years).
  • CO2 extinguishers require hydrostatic testing after 5 years (for models manufactured before 2009) or 10 years (models manufactured 2009 and later). Vacuum, halon, and stream cartridge extinguishers typically require a 12 year hydrotest.
  • Stored pressure and wheeled extinguishers should be hydrostatically tested based on the interval specified on the extinguisher nameplate - ranging between 5 to 12 years.
  • After recharging or hydrotesting, most extinguisher types require a 6-year maintenance interval per NFPA 10.

Internal Examination Intervals

Different types of fire extinguishers require internal examinations at specified times per industry standards. Intervals are based on the extinguisher's contents and function.

Refer to NFPA 10 Table 7.3.3.1 for details on precise internal examination frequencies for various extinguisher types. Key variables include:

  • Extinguisher agent (dry chemical, wet chemical, clean agent, etc.)
  • Extinguisher pressure source (stored pressure, cartridge-operated)
  • Extinguishing method (stream, spray, vaporizing liquid)

For example, a 10 lb stored pressure dry chemical extinguisher would require an internal exam every 12 years. A 150 lb wheeled dry chemical unit would need testing every 6 years. Clean agent extinguishers require checking every 5 years.

Conducting timely internal examinations per NFPA 10 guidelines ensures extinguishers remain fully pressurized and functional as designed. This allows them to effectively extinguish fires when needed. Tracking intervals by extinguisher allows strategic planning of examinations to maintain readiness.

Recordkeeping And Compliance – Retain Records For At Least 12 Months

It is important to maintain detailed records of all monthly fire extinguisher inspections. At minimum, the following should be documented:

  • Inspection date
  • Name of the inspector
  • Inspection findings - this should note any issues found or if the inspection passed without problems

These records can be documented on the inspection tag attached to the fire extinguisher. Alternatively, digital records kept in a database or spreadsheet are also excellent.

The key compliance requirement is that inspection records must be retained for at least 12 months. This allows safety managers to review the previous year's worth of inspections, which is often requested during OH&S audits. Proper record storage also aids root cause analysis if an issue is found with an extinguisher during emergency usage.

By diligently documenting monthly visual inspections and retaining those records, workplaces remain compliant with fire codes and (NFPA 10 standards). This attention to detail also helps prove due diligence in maintaining emergency equipment should an incident unfortunately occur. Safety is always the top priority.

The Integration of Software While Inspecting Extinguishers in Workplace

SafetyIQ for fire extinguisher inspection optimizes workplace safety by combining audits and inspections. Its customisable forms let safety managers easily schedule and assign standardized audits and inspections matching existing procedures. This allows a smooth shift to digital platforms without disturbing workflows. 

Task and potential bottlenecks in SafetyIQ turn audit findings into actionable tasks that are assigned to relevant workers by function and location (e.g., the inspection of extinguishers near weekends should be scheduled and assigned to the fire management department). 

Also, the prioritization and automatic notifications prevent oversights and handle significant issues quickly (you, as a safety manager, can see how many extinguishers are inspected and how many are left). A unified dashboard gives safety managers real-time visibility into tasks and bottlenecks, enabling proactive intervention. This smooth experience of configurable dashboards enables data-driven decision-making to improve workplace safety coming from fire extinguisher inspection. 

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE GUIDE TO SCHEDULE AND ASSIGN STANDARDIZED AUDITS AND INSPECTIONS

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