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March 12, 2010 -
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Most every facility is equipped with an automatic fire detection suppression system. It's a system you hope to never have to use and generally assume will work. However, if the system is known to be out of service, such as during maintenance or perhaps when switching over to a new system, there are three OSHA standards facility executives have to be sure to meet.
First, if the system will be out of service, a fire watch must be put in place until the system is operational. The watch must be included in the facility's fire prevention plan and the emergency action plan.
Also, facility managers must provide proper signage for system suppression agents that can pose a health hazard, such as carbon dioxide or Halon 1211.
Regarding portable fire extinguishers, facilities are not required by OSHA to provide these. But if they are provided, a training program to familiarize employees on the basics of fire extinguisher use must be in place. If workers are expected to actually use the portable fire extinguishers in the event of a fire, hands-on training must be provided.