Do You Have the Right Fire Extinguishers?

February 12, 2018

The National Fire Protection Association notes that portable fire extinguishers can “save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives, but portable extinguishers have limitations.”

The three most commonly used fire extinguishers are air-pressurized water (APW), carbon dioxide and multi- purpose/dry chemical. According to OSHA:

  • Air-pressurized water extinguishers are designed to be used only on Class A fires (wood, paper, cloth, rubber and certain plastics). Never use an APW extinguisher on flammable liquid fires, as it may make the situation worse, or electrical fires, as it may cause electrocution.
  • Carbon dioxide extinguishers put out fires by displacing oxygen. Be aware that pieces of dry ice will shoot from the device. Carbon dioxide extinguishers are meant for use only on Class B fires (oils, gasoline, some paints, lacquers, grease, solvents and other flammable liquids) and Class C fires (electrical fires, including fires in wires, fuse boxes and energized electrical equipment).
  • Multi-purpose/dry chemical extinguishers coat the fuel element with a thin layer of fire-retardant powder, OSHA notes. Although generally rated for Class B and C fires, they may be marked as multi-purpose for use in Class A, B and C fires. All fire extinguishers will be marked with labeling that identifies what class of fire it can be used on.


To use a fire extinguisher; NFPA recommends remembering to PASS:

  • Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointed away from you, then release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low – point at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly.
  • Sweep the nozzle in a side-to-side motion.


CDC’s New WISQARS Data Visualization

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources. You can use WISQARS data to learn more about the public health and economic burden associated with unintentional and violence-related injury in the United States.

Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) Offers Paid Summer Internships

The Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) online application is now open for summer 2018. OHIP is a national summer program dedicated to help students learn about the field of occupational safety and health  from those most at stake: working people. Please help spread the word about this nine-week, paid summer internship opportunity open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in occupational safety and health, and in working with worker organizations like unions and worker centers. The application deadline is February 16, at 11:59 pm PST.

Gorilla Tree Service Cited for Safety Violations Resulting in Worker’s Death

Cal/OSHA has cited Gorilla Tree Service for serious and accident related workplace safety violations following an investigation of a brush chipper accident that killed a 24-year-old worker in Napa. On August 15, 2017, the employee was working on the ground as part of a two-person crew removing limbs from a liquidambar tree when a rope used to lower limbs from an aerial bucket was caught and pulled into the chipper, strangling him.

Cal/OSHA’s investigation found that Gorilla Tree Service was unable to certify it had properly trained the worker, who had been employed at the company for about six months.

“Tree work is a high-risk industry, and safety requirements are in place to protect workers from known hazards,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Employers must ensure that workers are effectively trained to use brush chippers and other dangerous machinery safely.”

Cal/OSHA cited Gorilla Tree Service $23,200 for seven violations including one serious accident-related, one serious and five general violations for the employer’s failure to:

  • Provide documented training records for workers to certify that they had completed the required tree work and CPR training.
  • Brief workers before starting the job, including a description of hazards, work procedures and appropriate protective equipment.
  • Ensure the chipper was equipped, maintained and operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Cal/OSHA found the chipper’s moving parts of belt and pulley drives were not guarded as required.
  • Prevent entanglement hazards and unwanted material from entering the point of operation on the chipper.


Tree workers are 56 times more likely to suffer a fatal occupational injury than workers in all industries combined. The major causes of tree worker injuries and fatalities include falls, electrical shock, being struck by a tree branch, chainsaw lacerations, palm tree skirt collapses and ladder accidents.

Over the past six years, brush chipper-related incidents in California resulted in one fatality and four serious injuries:

  • A worker was killed in 2012 while feeding brush into a chipper in Nevada City when a rope binding the brush became entangled in the chipper drum and looped around the worker’s neck. The force on the rope was so great that the worker was decapitated.
  • In Los Angeles County in 2012, a worker was hospitalized from injuries caused by a chipper. Two workers were removing a tree using rope and a brush chipper. One of the workers was attached to a rope that abruptly went into the chipper pulling him toward the feeder. He was taken to the hospital with a punctured lung and fractures to his ribs, left arm, thumb and wrist.
  • In 2013, a Solano County worker lost his left ring finger when his wedding band suddenly became caught between the side frame of the feeding bay and the branch he was pushing into the brush chipper.
  • While operating a brush chipper in 2013, a worker in Concord was hospitalized. A truck rolled down a hill and jackknifed toward him while he was feeding brush into the chipper. Both of his legs became pinned between the truck’s side door and the frame of the chipper’s in-feed table. Both of his legs were fractured.


Cal/OSHA launched a tree work safety campaign in 2016 to help employees and employers prevent accidents, and made available a Tree Work Safety webpage, Tree Work Safety Guide, fact sheet and checklist. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, is the division within the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) that helps protect California’s workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their safety and health programs. Employers should call 800-963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734).

$256,088 in Penalties Proposed for Hazardous Conditions at First Source Worldwide LLC

First Source Worldwide LLC has been cited by OSHA for several workplace safety hazards that put employees at risk of injury. The company faces proposed penalties of $256,088.

Following an inspection of the company’s Dalton facility, OSHA issued willful citations for failing to install a fall protection system, and develop and implement a written permit-required confined-space program. The company was also cited for several serious and other-than-serious violations, including failing to develop safety procedures when performing equipment maintenance and servicing; failing to train and evaluate forklift operators; failing to ensure employees have proper personal protective equipment; and failing to install machine guards on equipment.

“The hazards identified put workers at risk of serious injury,” said OSHA Atlanta Area Office Director Christi Griffin. “Employers must follow required safety practices to protect worker safety and health.”

Carthage Specialty Paperboard Inc. Required to Pay $175,000 in Penalties for Safety Violations 

OSHA and Carthage Specialty Paperboard Inc., have a reached a settlement agreement to improve efforts to prevent safety and health hazards in their Carthage, New York, facility. The company will pay $175,000 in penalties.

OSHA cited the Carthage-based paper milling company for 62 safety and health violations in June 2017. The agreement requires the company to enhance efforts to prevent hazards associated with machine guarding; lack of fall protection; hazardous energy control; confined space entry; emergency response; and electrical and structural safety issues.

The company will also train employees to recognize hazards; make safety and health evaluations a part of management performance appraisals; hire two full-time safety and health staff; perform weekly safety audits; submit periodic abatement progress reports to OSHA; and consent to monitoring inspections for two years.

United Steel Workers (USW) and USW Local 276, which elected third-party status in the case, also signed the agreement. Judge Dennis L. Phillips of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission signed the order approving the settlement on Jan. 3. It became a final order of the Commission on Feb. 8.

“This settlement confirms that the company acknowledges the necessity of improving safety and health practices, as well as fostering a culture that supports safety among employees,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Robert D. Kulick.

“This resolution reinforces the critical importance of the company’s planning for workers’ safety and health and making it an essential part of the mill’s day-to-day operations,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff.

Senior Trial Attorney Kathryn L. Stewart of the Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York litigated the case for OSHA.

Alabama Manufacturer Cited for Serious Safety Violations

OSHA has cited MPV Morganton Pressure Vessels North Carolina LLC, for exposing employees to fire, explosion, laceration, and struck-by hazards. The Bay Minette metal tank manufacturer faces proposed penalties of $101,800.

An inspection of the company's facility found 10 serious, and three other-than-serious violations, including exposure to fire and explosion hazards from an accumulation of combustible dust; laceration hazards from unguarded grinders; and struck-by hazards from unsecured propane tanks. The inspection was part of the Agency's National Emphasis Program for Combustible Dust and the Regional Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Trucks.

"Employers must assess potential hazards, and make necessary corrections to ensure a safe workplace," said OSHA Mobile Area Office Director Joseph Roesler. "Our inspection identified several workplace deficiencies that put workers at serious risk of injury or death."

Pioneer Health Care Center Accused of Workplace Violence Hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pioneer Health Care Center of Rocky Ford for failing to protect employees from violence in the workplace. The nursing home faces proposed penalties of $9,054.

OSHA opened an investigation at Pioneer Health Care Center in response to two complaints related to workplace violence received in August 2017. OSHA subsequently identified five documented incidents of workplace violence in 2017 that resulted in employee injuries, along with several unreported incidents. OSHA issued one serious citation for failing to implement adequate measures to protect employees from workplace violence hazards.

“Employers are responsible for providing employees a safe and healthy workplace,” said OSHA’s Englewood Area Director David Nelson. “Pioneer Health Care Center must understand that their employees’ safety is important.”

Pioneer Health Care Center provides residential services that mostly consist of long-term care and mental health services.

UL Releases New Requirements to Smoke Alarm Standards 

UL, a global leader in safety science, has announced new requirements for UL 217 – Standard for Smoke Alarms, 8th edition and UL 268 – Standard for Smoke Detector Systems, 7th edition that include criteria to reduce nuisance alarms and address smoke characteristics between a fast moving and smoldering polyurethane foam fires. To help manufacturers test the quality and effectiveness of their smoke alarm and smoke detector products against the new requirements outlined in the  UL Standards 217 and 268, UL has opened a new state-of-the-art Smoke Detection Test Laboratory at its Northbrook, Ill. campus just north of Chicago.

UL conducted research for the National Fire Protection Research Foundation that showed smoke characteristics are different between fast moving and smoldering polyurethane fires. Additional research found that fire dynamics in a home have changed over the last several decades. Newer synthetic materials in the home, more open layouts and lighter construction materials all burn hotter and faster, leading to escape times being reduced from an average of 17 minutes to three-to-four minutes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nuisance alarms are the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms. In order to enable manufacturers to produce more responsive alarms that don’t introduce nuisance alarming during cooking, UL conducted a research project to develop data on smoke characteristics during normal cooking events. The research led to new test requirements for cooking alarm tests.

“UL 217 Standard for Smoke Alarms, 8th edition and UL 268 Standard for Smoke Detector Systems, 7th edition raises the bar and research from UL and the fire science community has led the way,” said Barb Guthrie, UL Vice President. “The next generation of smoke alarms and smoke detector systems that comply with the new Standards will be equipped with advanced sensing technology that can reduce smoke alarm activation during a cooking event while allowing smoke alarms to have increased sensitivity and overall performance. And, remember, if your alarm does go off, that means to get down, get out and stay out.”

New Testing Facility

The new 800-square-foot facility tests products to the new requirements to the UL 217 and UL 268 Standards. Smoke alarm manufacturers test their products using the advanced science of a room-in-a-room designed lab. The design assures an air-tight, climate-controlled smoke room with automated testing technology for conducting the Standards’ required fire tests. The tests are conducted in an environmentally controlled setting that manages humidity, air pressure and thermal equilibrium—essential elements to assure testing consistency. The new requirements for the Standards have more than 250 technical updates, which will be consolidated into about 50 lab tests to help smoke alarm manufacturers with the quality and effectiveness of their products.

“Smoke alarm manufacturers are working toward meeting a 2020 deadline for having their products tested against the revised Standards, and they are very excited to test their products in our new facility. In fact, we are running extra shifts to accommodate the demand so our customers can meet the deadline,” said David Mills, UL Project Design Engineer.

UL has been certifying smoke alarms for more than 40 years and authored the first Standard for Smoke Alarms on January 2, 1976.

Oregon to Spotlight Workplace Safety and Health 

A two-day conference in Eugene will provide a variety of opportunities for employers, supervisors, and workers to revitalize their commitment to on-the-job safety and to develop relationships with other workplace safety and health advocates.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) is one of several partners presenting the 18th biennial Cascade Occupational Safety and Health Conference, to be held March 5-6 at the Hilton Eugene, 66 E. 6th Ave.

On Monday, March 5, keynote speaker Joe Estey will present “Mythical Metrics: Why Zero Gets You Zero.” Estey is principal performance improvement specialist for Lucas Engineering and Management Solutions in Richland, WA. During his interactive presentation, he will draw out best practices from participants and share his experiences of organizations that have moved beyond measuring safety by numbers to managing the safety process and sustaining operational excellence.

“Fear of not achieving a zero incident or accident rate compels people, by our very nature, to practice aversion rather than achievement,” Estey said. Instead of taking that approach, he added, “it's time we embrace and practice a productive safety mindset based upon doing something – safety in action – rather than avoiding something – safety through inaction.”

Conference attendees can take advantage of workshops focused on topics that include:

  • Basics in starting a safety program
  • General industry walking-working surfaces and fall protection
  • Hearing conservation and noise control
  • Hazard identification for safety committees
  • Stress management and physical activity
  • Confined space and industrial rescue: How much and how?


The registration fee for both days is $185, or $95 for single-day attendance.

Partnership Created to Protect Construction Employees 

OSHA and the Southern Illinois Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program (CJAP) have signed an alliance to provide members of the St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council (CRC) with training and resources to prevent common construction injuries.

The two-year alliance will focus on preventing exposures to electrical, fall, struck-by, caught-in-between, fire, explosion, lockout/tagout, and confined spaces hazards at all CRC signatory job sites throughout southern Illinois. Participants will also share information on OSHA campaigns, including the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and the Safe + Sound Campaign for Safety and Health Programs.

“Workplaces are safer when everyone works together to recognize hazards and follow safety protocols,” said OSHA Fairview Heights Area Office Director Aaron Priddy. “This alliance will allow us to share best practices, educate employers and employees, and ensure that safety is a priority on the job.”

OSHA Joined Board of Certified Safety Professionals to Provide Safety and Health Information 

OSHA and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) formed an alliance to provide BCSP certification holders and other practitioners with information and guidance to protect workers’ safety and health.

During the two-year agreement, BCSP will work with OSHA to engage safety and health professionals and their employers in Agency outreach initiatives, such as the Safe + Sound Campaign, and the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. BCSP will also contribute in the development of OSHA resources to assist small and medium-sized employers in identifying situations that may benefit from a safety and health professional’s expertise and finding the right professional to help.

“Assuring the safety and health of working men and women and ensuring that safety professionals have the tools to do so, are the foundation of our respective organizations,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “We look forward to working with BCSP to promote the education and training needed by professionals who help protect workers in America.”

BCSP sets technical competency criteria and certifies safety, health, and environmental practitioners worldwide. The organization mentors more than 38,000 certification holders and others interested in the occupational safety and health profession.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA fosters collaborative relationships with groups committed to worker safety and health, such as trade and professional organizations, unions, consulates, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Alliance partners help OSHA reach targeted audiences, such as employers and workers in high-hazard industries, and give them better access to workplace safety and health tools and information.

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