Fire extinguisher is an important tool that needs to be placed in the different locations in the workplace. The most common type of industrial emergency is fire. It is also important to provide the appropriate type of fire extinguisher based on the kind risk exist in the workplace. Workers including forklift operators must be familiar with its use and application. OSHA mandates employers to supply such training and familiarize the employees about emergency evacuation.
Now, if you were asking are fire extinguishers need to be mounted in forklifts, we have provided the answer for the question below and cited federal regulations to elaborate the applicable laws about the use fire extinguisher.
OSHA’s latest Powered Industrial Trucks standard (29 CFR 1910.178) does not mention the use of fire extinguisher but it is a good practice to equip the forklifts with them. However, there are relevant federal laws governing the use and provision that must be followed. Here they are:
Related Laws Requiring the Provision of Fire Extinguisher
- The OSHA 29 CFR 1910.157 standard is about fire protection. This regulation requires companies to place portable fire extinguisher for the use the employees and provision of emergency action and fire prevention plan. Click here to read (2). Though, the standard does not state about requirements on forklifts, however, it does clearly mentioned that it should be readily available for employees use to combat fires, it must be specific to the class of fire accident that may occur.
- If you were in Texas, the State Office of Risk Management (SORM), mandates the provision of fire extinguisher, it was specifically stated in their RMTSA Vol. III, Section Two, Chapter 6, Subchapter 6.18 - Powered industrial trucks such as forklifts must be fitted with a portable fire extinguisher and it should be attach to noticeable location, the type of extinguisher must be in accordance with the class of fire that may occur, workers operating the trucks must be educated on the proper use of the extinguisher, further reading, click here (1).
- The National Fire Protection Association code and standard, NFPA 505, 2006 edition, paragraph 9, address the provision of portable fire extinguishers to lessen possible fire accidents involving forklifts, the location where it is mounted to make it accessible shall be in accordance with its manufacturer’s recommended advice.
- In addition, OSHA does require the provision of fire extinguishers whenever necessary or where there are source of ignition. Forklifts could be powered by gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, or electric, whatever type of truck you are operating, it poses fire hazard during refueling or recharging.
Forklift Manufacturers Originally Fitted Its Truck
If the forklift manufacturer equips its truck with fire extinguisher, the employer shall maintain and check the extinguisher, making it readily available and in good use whenever needed. The employer shall not modify the forklift, alter its function and remove any equipment that could hamper the safe use of the truck without written consent or authorization of the original manufacturer.
Other OSHA Requirements
- OSHA requires inspection of fire extinguishers installed in the workplace in monthly basis. Employers shall documents its maintenance inspection in regular or annual basis. Each fire extinguisher must be attached with an inspection tag, label its inspection date accordingly to make a record of it.
- OSHA requires the mounting/installation of fire extinguishers in designated height to make it accessible to employees. Portable fire extinguishers must be mounted in cabinets or braces, 3.5 feet to 5 feet above the floor surface. If the extinguishers are larger carrying more weight and volume, it must be placed 3 feet above the floor.
- OSHA requires that the fire extinguisher must be easily identified in the workplace. There are chances that they are blocked from view, materials and equipments in the workplace could block it being displayed. It is a good practice to put a sign, symbol or a mark making it recognizable by people.
To Answer This Question
It is true fact that numerous and big companies use forklifts in their daily business operation to carry and transport heavy materials from place to place. These companies must adhere to afore-mentioned laws, therefore, fire extinguishers are required whenever forklift is being operated. It is also a good practice however to install it on the forklift especially when the truck is to be operated in a location where there is no fire extinguisher provision, in places such as roads, lay down areas, construction sites, or anywhere outdoors.
It would be advisable to fit the forklifts with designated fire extinguisher. LP-gas powered truck can be fitted with class C extinguisher such as dry powder. Gas and diesel powered truck can be installed with class B such as foam extinguisher. For electric forklifts, the designated extinguisher is class E such as CO2 fire extinguisher.