The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 acknowledges that fire extinguishers should be provided, commission and maintained in accordance with the recommendations contained within British Standard BS5306.
There are three relevant parts to this standard that should be acknowledged during the provision and maintenance of your fire extinguishers and these are;
Part 3-2017, this outlines the procedures that should be adopted during the commissioning of new extinguishers and thereafter during the annual service. Table one informs the reader of the life expectancy of each type of fire extinguisher for example carbon dioxide extinguishers should be changed at 10 yearly intervals.
Part 8-2012 informs of how many and what type of fire extinguishers should be provided within the workspace. This standard was revised within 2012 and now provides specific maximum travel distances to reach an appropriate extinguisher, an example of this is that ‘a person should not travel further than 10 m from an electrical appliance to reach a carbon dioxide extinguisher’.
As a baseline for any premises that has a floor area equal or greater than 400 m² there should be two class ‘A’ extinguishers provided. A class ‘A’ extinguisher can be water, foam or dry powder, after this provision it is recommended that specific risk areas such as the storage and use of flammable liquids, combustible metals are considered and specific extinguishers provided to cover this risk. Failure to comply with these levels of provision will not only contravene the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 but may render your company insurance policy null and void.
Part 9-2015, this revision in 2015 now makes it more difficult for competent persons to maintain extinguishers other than water and dry powder. This part of the British Standard provides guidance for the refilling of foam, hydro-spray and wet chemical extinguishers. During these operations competent persons are required to provide a second maintenance label that states when the correct rather than generic foam compound or wet chemical solution has been used. It is therefore very likely if not desirable that these types of extinguisher are replaced prior to the five yearly discharge test.