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Servicing of small extinguishers

Guest LilywhiteO

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Guest LilywhiteO


I have operatives on a construction site who complete hot works, so in addition to the necessary fire points on every floor of the buildings they work on, they carry a small fire extinguisher.  We have been asked this week if we have service stickers and checks for these portable extinguishers.  Now, the extinguishers cost less than £10 so is it worth looking into getting them serviced annually or should we purchase a brand new extinguisher every year?  Are there stickers available that we can confirm date of purchase and when a test is due that we can stick on on the date of purchase that then states service is due one year later and then just replace the entire device and a new sticker?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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While the British Standards recommends annual servicing for all extinguishers, this is not legally binding. You must, however, have a way of maintaining your extinguishers in an operational state. You could, for example, replace your extinguisher every year or, in the case of small extinguishers, you could have regular visual and other self-inspection (is the pressure gauge showing green, can you hear the powder flowing freely inside, is the tamper tag still present, is there any damage visible) and just replace every 5 years. 

Or you can go for a small service-free extinguisher that only requires visual inspection and replacement after ten years.



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Note that the Enforcers Guidance does require enforcing officers to look to the use of competent persons and would use the British Standard for reference for both frequency of maintenance and competency and steps required. A British Standard is not law, but is an accepted benchmark and whilst it's quite possible to follow a different regime it must be demonstrable that it is still going to provide an acceptable standard of safety.

Not having the competence, training and tools required for extinguisher maintenance means that enforcers and equally importantly insurers may take a dim view particularly if there is an incident. Most BSEN3 extinguishers also require maintenance to BS5306 so failing to follow the manufacturer's own maintenance regime as well as the benchmark goes against you too.

Don't worry, you aren't constrained to the cost of servicing - there are two options that are readily justifiable:

BS6165 Aerosol Powder extinguishers - designed to be user checked and disposed of at the end of the 5 year warranty or after complete/partial use:

P50 Extinguishers - Designed by the manufacturer so the the annual basic service can be carried out by the user with each extinguisher having the required tools built in, only needs a service exchange at 10 years and end of life at 20 years.


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