Legislation – Visual Inspections of Fire Extinguishers

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) places legally enforceable requirements on organisations, where necessary, to safeguard the safety of relevant persons within the premises in the event of fire. The responsible person must “ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises …are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. Annual Service and Maintenance should be conducted by a competent person.

The “Responsible person” is normally the owner, landlord or business proprietor or a member of staff delegated with responsibility for fire safety. The “competent person” is someone qualified by training and experience to undertake service and maintenance of fire extinguishers.

In addition to annual Servicing it is recommended that the Responsible person carry out visual inspections of all extinguishers and fire safety equipment on a regular basis i.e. at least monthly to determine if the extinguisher has been discharged or damaged.

BS5306:3 Code of Practice for Fire Extinguisher Service and Maintenance provides recommendations on how to conduct a visual inspection as follows.

a) each extinguisher is correctly located in the designated place;
b) each extinguisher is unobstructed and visible;
c) the operating instructions of each extinguisher are clean and
legible and face outwards;
d) each extinguisher has not been operated and is not obviously
damaged or has any missing parts;
e) the reading of any pressure gauge or indicator fitted to an
extinguisher is within operational and safety limits;
f) the seals and tamper indicators of each extinguisher are not
broken or missing.

The designated responsible person within the organisation should record the results of this visual inspection and arrange for corrective action, if necessary, by a competent person. If you employ 5 or more people it is also a legal requirement to keep a permanent Record of all servicing, maintenance and inspections for inspection by the Fire Services Inspectorate.

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