Most of us probably give very little thought to the fire extinguishers that are strategically placed within our office or workplaces. We know that someone comes in once a year to test them and certify that they are in good working order.
But here’s something a lot of employers don’t know: if your fire extinguishers are provided for employee use in the workplace in case of a fire, you are required by OSHA and by the Department of Labor & Industries to provide your employees with appropriate training.
OSHA’s fire extinguisher training requirements:
Upon hire, employees must be educated on the general principles of using a fire extinguisher, and about the hazards involved with its use. After that, they must be given training on an ongoing basis at least once a year.
Fire extinguisher training resources:
If you’d like to take your staff for a field trip, some local fire departments provide fire extinguisher training by appointment at their stations.
As an alternative, there’s a short overview video from the Washington State Department of Emergency Management available here. You can also find a wealth of many more in-depth free videos on YouTube.
Required documentation of fire extinguisher training:
Be sure to document individual employees’ training, as this is something that an L&I inspector can request to see if they drop in for an inspection. Along with these records, they will ask to see proof that your extinguishers have been properly maintained and tested.
In the end, this is all about making sure that at the end of the day, all of our employees go home safely to their families.