856 Alarm Systems and Extinguishers

856.1 Alarm Systems

Every Postal Service facility must have an established employee alarm system that complies with OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.165 and that includes:

  1. Procedures for informing each employee of the preferred means of reporting emergencies, such as manual pull–box alarms, horns, public address systems, radio, or telephones. The installation head must have emergency telephone numbers posted near telephones, on employee bulletin boards, and at other conspicuous locations where telephones serve as a means of reporting emergencies. Where a communication system also serves as the employee alarm system, emergency messages must have priority over nonemergency messages.
  2. Procedures for sounding emergency alarms in the workplace. For those installations with 10 or fewer employees in a particular workplace, direct voice communication is an acceptable procedure for sounding the alarm provided all employees can hear the alarm. Such workplaces need not have a backup system. An alarm device must:
    1. Give a warning that provides sufficient reaction time for safe escape of employees from the workplace, the immediate work area, or both.
    2. Be in compliance with applicable alarm requirements in Handbooks RE-4, Standards for Facility Accessibility, and AS-503, Standard Design Criteria, to include audible and visible signals.
    3. Have the capability of being heard or seen above ambient noise or light levels by all employees in the affected areas of the workplace. Tactile devices (e.g., vibrating pagers) may be used to alert employees who would not be able to recognize the audible or visual alarms.
    4. Give a distinctive and recognizable signal to evacuate the work area or to perform actions designated under the EAP (such as shelter in place). If the employee alarm system is also used for alerting EET members or for other purposes, a different signal must be used for each purpose.
  3. Procedures for maintaining and testing employee alarm systems in compliance with appropriate NFPA and OSHA standards.

856.2 Extinguisher

The number, type, location, maintenance, and inspection of fire-extinguisher equipment and systems must be in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.157-1910.163 as required.

Exception: The maximum travel distance to any portable fire extinguisher must not exceed 50 feet.

Fire-fighting equipment that is in damaged or unserviceable condition must be removed from service and replaced immediately.