As a fire protection company, one of the most common questions is, “Are businesses allowed to perform monthly fire extinguisher inspections?”
The simple answer is yes.
Often, fire protection companies are hired to complete monthly fire extinguisher inspections because of convenience and liability. However, you may not need a professional to conduct the monthly fire extinguisher inspection. With adequate information and a curated checklist, anyone can perform monthly visual inspections successfully.
If you conduct your monthly fire extinguisher inspections, here are a few things you need to know.
How to Conduct Fire Extinguisher Monthly Visual Inspections
According to OSHA standards, employers are responsible for inspecting all portable fire extinguishers in the workplace. These crucial fire and life safety devices must be inspected annually by a trained professional, while the monthly inspections can be conducted internally.
Anyone can perform monthly visual inspections - they’re quick and basic checks to ensure devices are fully charged and ready for use. Companies can designate an employee, facility manager, or safety officer to conduct inspections. The appointed individual must know what to look for, how to address any uncovered issues, and how to document the inspection correctly.
Watch this video by our Vermont branch to learn how to inspect your portable fire extinguishers.
Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspections: A Step-by-Step Checklist
Here’s a step-by-step checklist for performing your own monthly fire extinguisher inspection.
Step 1 - Walk up to the extinguisher and ensure it has a valid maintenance tag.
Step 2 - Ensure that the fire extinguisher is charged and the pressure gauge is “in the green” position.
- For cartridge-operated extinguishers, check the indicator and ensure it’s depressed.
- CO2 (carbon dioxide) extinguishers don’t have a pressure gauge. For CO2 extinguishers, weigh the extinguisher and ensure the weight is the same as the weight recorded on the maintenance tag.
Step 3 - Ensure the extinguisher is not blocked or obscured from visibility.
Step 4 - Visually check that the tamper seal is on the extinguisher, that it’s holding the pin in firmly, and that it hasn’t been damaged.
Step 5 - Ensure the nameplate is visible and facing outwards.
Step 6 - Make sure that the extinguisher is full. Check by lifting or weighing the device.
Step 7 - Check the overall physical condition of the extinguisher, including signs of damage, corrosion, or tampering.
Step 8 - Lastly, sign and date the annual maintenance tag. Create a complete report of the monthly inspection that includes the location of the extinguisher, the date, and explanations of any deficiencies.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Learn more about the fire extinguisher maintenance schedule and inspection process. Explore More →
Need Help Conducting Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspections?
With a clear understanding of the process, your business can efficiently conduct monthly visual fire extinguisher inspections to streamline operations. While you are permitted to perform your monthly inspections, many businesses partner with a qualified fire protection company. Trained technicians help drive accountability, save time, and ensure regulatory compliance.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on March 31, 2019, and has been updated for accuracy and current best practices.