OSHA Fire Safety Guidelines

OSHA Fire Safety Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, provides regulations and enforcement policy for the standards related to preventing fire related injuries in the workplace. OSHA regulations detailed in Code of Federal Regulations, 29 CFR Part 1910, relate to fire protection standards for occupational safety.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910 

Employers are responsible for training employees about fire hazards in their workplace and how to respond in a fire emergency.  Employees should be trained on evacuation procedures and how to use firefighting equipment safely if expected to do so.  When planning for evacuations, considerations include the type of building structure, the type of industry, occupants, and location of all exit doors. Exit routes must be free from obstructions and marked clearly with exit signs.

The following are OSHA standards for fire safety guidelines:

29 CFR 1910 Subpart E – related to emergency planning and exit routes.

Subpart G – regarding the ventilation in buildings

Subpart H – standards for hazardous materials such as:

  • Compressed gases
  • Acetylene
  • Hydrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Flammable liquids
  • Spray finishing
  • Liquefied petroleum gases storage and handling
  • Anhydrous ammonia – storage and handling
  • Safety management of highly hazardous chemicals

1910.120 – hazardous waste operations and emergency response

1910.156 – fire brigades

1910.157 – portable fire extinguishers

1910.158 – standpipe and hose systems

1910.159 – automatic sprinkler systems

1910.160 – fixed extinguishing systems

1910.164  – fire detection systems

1916.165 – employee alarm systems

Additional information is included in 29 CFR 1910 regarding various operations such as cutting, brazing, or welding,  and more information for special industries

OSHA Evacuation Plan and Procedures eTool

OSHA offers online tools to help small business employers such as retail businesses and low-hazard service companies to develop emergency action plans that comply with standards set by OSHA.  OSHA eTools include help with deciphering whether or not you need an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), assistance in writing one, how to make sure your workplace is compliant to OSHA emergency standards and how to find additional resources.

OSHA Inspection Priorities and Penalties

OSHA focuses inspection resources on the most hazardous violations in the workplace with jurisdiction over approximately 7 million worksites.  Areas of violation include:

  1. Imminent danger – include hazards that could cause serious physical harm or death.
  2. Severe illnesses and injury – employers are required to report all work related amputations, losses of the eye, or inpatient hospitalizations within 24 hours and to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours.
  3. Worker complaints – allegations of violations or hazards receive a high priority and employees have the option to report complaints anonymously.
  4. Referrals – hazards referred from either individuals, organizations or other local, sate or federal agencies.
  5. Targeted inspections – OSHA inspections focused on individual workplaces that have had high rates of illnesses or injury and high-hazard industries.
  6. Follow-up inspections – inspections in follow up to prior violations.

Penalties for OSHA violations are based on the type of violation and the number of occurrences.  You can view the most recent maximum penalty amounts for OSHA violations here, with a single, serious violation resulting in a possible $13,653 fine per violation and a repeated or willful violation reaching a potential maximum dollar amount of $136,532 per violation.

High Rise Security Systems for Code Compliant Companies 

High Rise Security Systems, HRSS, offers assistance to businesses in and around Chicago, IL with compliance to fire, life and safety system regulations including OSHA requirements for fire safety.  We offer experienced fire safety technicians with vast knowledge of all building and safety codes and a full staff of fire alarm system designers.  Our technicians are field trained and NICET certified, and provide all encompassing fire and life safety services.

HRSS is a leading provider of fire, security and life safety systems to commercial properties in the Chicago area.  We offer comprehensive services including system design, UL listed equipment, maintenance, inspections, repair and monitoring. Contact us with any questions on maintaining a fully code compliant fire and life safety system for your business.

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