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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 27. Fire Protection
Article 160. Fixed Extinguishing Systems

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§6175. Fixed Extinguishing Systems.

(a) Scope and Application.

(1) This Section applies to all fixed extinguishing systems except for automatic sprinkler systems which are covered by Article 159.

(2) This Section also applies to fixed systems not installed to meet a particular Title 8 section, but which, by means of their operation, may expose employees to possible injury, death, or adverse health consequences caused by the extinguishing agent. Such systems are only subject to the requirements of subsection (b)(4) through (b)(7) and (c) of this Section.

(3) Systems otherwise covered in subsection (a)(2) of this Section which are installed in areas with no employee exposure are exempted from the requirements of this section.

(b) General Requirements.

(1) Fixed extinguishing system components and agents shall be designed and approved for use on the specific fire hazards they are expected to control or extinguish.

(2) If for any reason a fixed extinguishing system becomes inoperable, the employer shall notify employees and take the necessary temporary precautions to assure their safety until the system is restored to operating order. Any defects or impairments shall be properly corrected by trained personnel.

(3) The employer shall provide a distinctive alarm or signaling system which complies with Article 165 and is capable of being perceived above ambient noise or light levels, on all extinguishing systems in those portions of the workplace covered by the extinguishing system to indicate when the extinguishing system is discharging. Discharge alarms are not required on systems where discharge is immediately recognizable.

(4) The employer shall provide effective safeguards to warn employees against entry into discharge areas where the atmosphere remains hazardous to employee safety or health.

(5) The employer shall post hazard warning or caution signs at the entrance to, and inside of, areas protected by fixed extinguishing systems which use agents in concentrations known to be hazardous to employee safety and health.

(6) The employer shall assure that fixed systems are inspected annually by a person knowledgeable in the design and function of the system to assure that the system is maintained in good operating condition.

(7) The employer shall assure that the weight and pressure of refillable containers is checked at least semi-annually. If the container shows a loss in net content or weight of more than 5 percent, or a loss in pressure of more than 10 percent, it shall be subjected to maintenance.

EXCEPTION: Systems using refillable, high-pressure carbon dioxide cylinders shall meet the requirements of Section 6181(b)(1).

(8) The employer shall assure that factory charged nonrefillable containers which have no means of pressure indication are weighed at least semi-annually. If a container shows a loss in net weight of more than 5 percent it shall be replaced.

(9) The employer shall assure that inspection and maintenance dates are recorded on the container, on a tag attached to the container, or in a central location. A record of the last semi-annual check shall be maintained until the container is checked again or for the life of the container, whichever is less.

(10) The employer shall train employees designated to inspect, maintain, operate, or repair fixed extinguishing systems and annually review their training to keep them up to date in the functions they are to perform.

(11) The employer shall not use chlorobromomethane or carbon tetrachloride as an extinguishing agent where employees may be exposed.

(12) The employer shall assure that systems installed in the presence of corrosive atmospheres are constructed of non-corrosive material or otherwise protected against corrosion.

(13) Automatic detection equipment shall be approved, installed and maintained in accordance with Article 164.

(14) The employer shall assure that all systems designed for and installed in areas with climatic extremes shall operate effectively at the expected extreme temperatures.

(15) The employer shall assure that at least one manual station is provided for discharge activation of each fixed extinguishing system.

(16) The employer shall assure that manual operating devices are identified as to the hazard against which they will provide protection.

(17) The employer shall provide and assure the use of the personal protective equipment needed for immediate rescue of employees trapped in hazardous atmospheres created by an agent discharge.

(c) Total Flooding Systems with Potential Health and Safety Hazards to Employees.

(1) The employer shall provide an emergency action plan in accordance with Section 3220 for each area within a workplace that is protected by a total flooding system which provides agent concentrations exceeding the maximum safe levels set forth in Subsections (b)(4) and (b)(5) of Article 162.

(2) Systems installed in areas where employees cannot enter during or after the system's operation are exempt from the requirements of Subsection (c) of this Section.

(3) On all total flooding systems the employer shall provide a pre-discharge employee alarm which complies with Article 165, and is capable of being perceived above ambient light or noise levels before the system discharges, which will give employees time to safely exit from the discharge area prior to system discharge.

(4) The employer shall provide automatic actuation of total flooding systems by means of an approved fire detection device installed and interconnected with a pre-discharge employee alarm system to give employees time to safely exit from the discharge area prior to system discharge.

NOTE: Authority and reference cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code.

HISTORY

1. Article 160 (Sections 6175-6176) repealed and new Article 160 (Section 6175) added, filed 9-8-81; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 81, No. 37).

2. Amendment of subsection (b)(7) filed 9-6-83; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 83, No. 37).

3. Change without regulatory effect deleting Title 24 reference (Register 87, No. 49).

Article 161. Fixed Extinguishing Systems, Dry Chemical

§6180. Fixed Extinguishing Systems; Dry Chemical.

(a) Scope and Application.

(1) This Section applies to all fixed extinguishing systems, using dry chemical as the extinguishing agent. These systems shall also comply with Article 160.

(2) When dry chemical extinguishing systems are provided they shall meet the design requirements of the National Fire Protection Association's "Standard for Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems" NFPA No. 171980 and the requirements of this section, and Section 6175 where applicable.

(b) Specific Requirements.

(1) The employer shall assure that dry chemical agents are compatible with any foams or wetting agents with which they are used.

(2) The employer may not mix together dry chemical extinguishing agents of different compositions. The employer shall assure that dry chemical systems are refilled with the chemical stated on the approval nameplate or an equivalent compatible material.

(3) When dry chemical discharge may obscure vision, the employer shall provide a pre-discharge employee alarm which complies with Article 165 and which will give employees time to safely exit from the discharge area prior to system discharge.

(4) The employer shall sample the dry chemical supply of all but stored pressure systems at least annually to assure that the dry chemical supply is free of moisture which may cause the supply to cake or form lumps.

(5) The employer shall assure that the rate of application of drychemicals is such that the designed concentration of the system will be reached within 30 seconds of initial discharge.

NOTE: Authority and reference cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code.

HISTORY

1. Repealer of Article 161 (Section 6180) and new Article 161 (Section 6180) filed 9-8-81; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 81, No. 37). For prior history, see Register 76, No. 29.

2. Editorial correction of subsection (a)(2) filed 11-9-81; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 81, No. 45).

3. Change without regulatory effect deleting Title 24 reference (Register 87, No. 49).

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