OSHA says in §1910.157(d):
“(1) Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided for employee use and selected and distributed based on the classes of anticipated workplace fires and on the size and degree of hazard which would affect their use.
(2) The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers for use by employees on Class A fires so that the travel distance for employees to any extinguisher is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less.
(3) The employer may use uniformly spaced standpipe systems or hose stations connected to a sprinkler system installed for emergency use by employees instead of Class A portable fire extinguishers, provided that such systems meet the respective requirements of 1910.158 or 1910.159, that they provide total coverage of the area to be protected, and that employees are trained at least annually in their use.
(4) The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers for use by employees on Class B fires so that the travel distance from the Class B hazard area to any extinguisher is 50 feet (15.2 m) or less.
(5) The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers used for Class C hazards on the basis of the appropriate pattern for the existing Class A or Class B hazards.
(6) The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers or other containers of Class D extinguishing agent for use by employees so that the travel distance from the combustible metal working area to any extinguishing agent is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less. Portable fire extinguishers for Class D hazards are required in those combustible metal working areas where combustible metal powders, flakes, shavings, or similarly sized products are generated at least once every two weeks.”
Depending upon the classes of anticipated workplace fires, employers must provide and distribute fire extinguishers according to the requirements outlined above. If on the other hand, extinguishers are provided but are not intended for employee use and the employer has an emergency action plan and a fire prevention plan that meet the requirements of §§1910.38 and 1910.39 respectively, then only the requirements of paragraphs (e) and (f) of §1910.157 apply, and fire extinguishers do not need to be made available.
However, fire extinguishers may be required by a local or state building or fire code. As such, employers need to contact their Fire Marshall or fire inspector for details regarding any applicable requirements. An employer’s liability insurance carrier may also require that fire extinguishers be available throughout their facility.