Fire Extinguisher
Violation 001

The Time Traveling Fire Extinguisher

Do you know how often to inspect Fire Extinguishers in your business?  What’s the importance of those tags?

Portable Fire Extinguisher Safety, Paxton Inspection ServicesThe other day I was in a large box hardware store, I won’t name it, but was amazed how many fire extinguishers had the same violations.  Considering the fact that this business has over 300 stores nation-wide, I would have thought their fire safety program would be really thorough.  Guess not.  But let’s look at one of the violations.

In the picture, there is a yellow inspection tag that is dated 2013, from a Certified Extinguisher Inspection Company.  What year is it?  Oh that’s right it is 2020. So what is the big deal?  For those that do not know, every fire extinguisher in a commercial business must be checked and inspected annually by a certified fire extinguisher company, (ie., Summit Companies.)  They are the ones that put that green, white, or yellow tag  on them every year, after they inspect them.

The other problem with this extinguisher is the date it was put into service, 2015.  It’s hard to tell in this picture, but here’s a link to see the real picture…so you can see that they used a black marker to write the date it was installed. The extinguisher has 2015 written on it.  The yellow inspection tag says what again, 2013?  I’m not a mathematician with a PhD., but that means this extinguisher went back in time…or someone cut the yellow tag off and put it on this extinguisher hoping no one person would notice.  Well Inspector Paxton did.  I noticed this while not doing a paid inspection, just shopping for a simple part. 

I tend to look at such items any where I go, after all, you never know when a fire is going to breakout.  My question is for the owner/manager of the store, what happens when a fire breaks out and the extinguisher doesn’t work?  What happens if an OSHA Inspector sees it – well that is going to cost dearly.  

Here’s what OSHA says about Portable Fire Extinguishers:

  • Inspect, maintain, and test all portable fire extinguishers in the workplace. [29 CFR 1910.157(e)(1)]
  • According to [29 CFR 1910.157(e)(2)], an employer must visually inspect portable extinguishers or hoses monthly.
  • Perform an annual maintenance check on portable fire extinguishers. Stored pressure extinguishers do not require an internal examination. Record the annual maintenance date and retain this record for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell, whichever is less. Make the record available to the Assistant Secretary upon request. [29 CFR 1910.157(e)(3)]
  • Empty and maintain dry chemical extinguishers (that require a 12-year hydrostatic test) every six years. Dry chemical extinguishers that have non-refillable disposable containers are exempt from this requirement. When recharging or hydrostatic testing is performed, the six-year requirement begins from that date. [29 CFR 1910.157(e)(4)]
  • Provide alternate equivalent protection when portable fire extinguishers are removed from service for maintenance and recharging. [29 CFR 1910.157(e)(5)]

If your business has problems like this one, please correct it right away…for the safety of you, your employees and for the guests that allow you to get a paycheck .  

Happy Valentines Day Everyone and Be Safe!

~Inspector Paxton

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