Portable Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers are used to extinguish or control small fires by releasing an agent that cools the fuel, removes oxygen, or stops a chemical reaction.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Tab/Accordion Items

What are the hazards associated with portable fire extinguishers? 

Employees not properly trained in their use could seriously injure themselves through burns. They could also get injured if they do not have an exit strategy in case they can't put the fire out.    

What measures should be implemented to protect workers?

Ensure fire extinguishers are properly placed, clearly marked, maintained, inspected and hydrostatically tested. Where the employer has provided portable fire extinguishers for employee use in the workplace, they need to provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Training and Outreach Services

To assist employers with their training efforts, example presentations are available along with pre-recorded webinars which can be accessed at any time. In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video service) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

Safety and Health Programs

Example safety and health programs are also available for employers to download and adapt to their specific work conditions.

Safety and Health Topics

Additional information and resources can be found on the safety and health topics pages for fire prevention plans, fire brigades, welding, cutting and brazing, powered industrial trucks, flammable liquids, fire protection and prevention and logging.

Consultation Services

Lastly, the consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to portable fire extinguishers in North Carolina. This is not all inclusive.

Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic.

General Industry


Maritime, Shipyard Employment


Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

Inquiries about workplace safety and health requirements can be submitted to Ask OSH through the online form, by email to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov, or by phone at 919-707-7876.