Why should you service your fire extinguishers?
By Law, Employers must provide their staff with adequate means of tackling a Fire in the workplace. There is also a Legal Obligation for a Competent Person to Annually Service the Fire Extinguishers to the current British Standards.
Workplaces must also carry out checks, at least monthly, to ensure all Fire Extinguishers are maintained in working order and in good repair between services.
Each Fire Extinguisher must be accompanied by appropriate Fire Extinguisher wall Sign. These Signs indicate the type of Fire Extinguisher and give instructions about the use of the specific Extinguishers.
All Extinguishers should, where possible be wall mounted on a suitable bracket or placed on a Fire Extinguisher Stand.
Legalities Annual Fire Extinguisher maintenance is a legal requirement under Article 17 of the Fire Safety Order. It also ensures compliance with the following regulations:
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that all fire safety equipment be “maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”.
The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended in 1999) requires employers to carry out a fire risk assessment of their workspace in order to identify, reduce or eliminate any fire hazards that may be found in the workplace.
British Standard Code of Practice BS 5306-3:2009 recommends that all fire extinguishers are serviced at least once a year by qualified technicians. BS 5499: Parts 1 and 3 also states that if for any reason extinguishers are placed in positions hidden from direct view their position should be indicated by suitable signs.
Monthly internal visual inspections should also be carried out to check for:
(a) Any sign of tampering, such as missing or broken tamper tags or pins
(b) Signs of discharge such as water, powder or foam traces on the hose or horn of the extinguisher
(c) Gauges showing low or high pressure
(d) Any damage to fire extinguishers such as rust or missing parts etc
(e) Any damaged extinguishers must be replaced immediately or repaired by a servicing company