It is critically important for companies to establish and follow safe guidelines for using portable heaters. Without them, portable heaters can become workplace fire hazards.


  • Ensure electronic flame sensors or pilot safety valves are in place.
  • Examine cords or electrical connections for damage.
  • Inspect for damage or fuel leakage following long-term storage.


  • Place heaters on a non-combustible surface that extends four feet in front of the unit, unless approved otherwise by the manufacturer.
  • Remove all combustible materials near the unit.
  • Establish a three-foot safety perimeter around the heater.


  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation in the area where you plan to use the heater.
  • Provide mechanical ventilation when the natural supply of fresh air is inadequate.
  • Verify the unit does not deplete oxygen in the area.
  • If you’re using the heater in an enclosed space, use an appropriate carbon monoxide detector.


  • Maintain a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Verify that the heating unit is off and cool before you refuel it.
  • Never refuel indoors or within 50 feet of a building.
  • Turn off portable heaters in unoccupied spaces.


  • Develop a plan for portable heater use.
  • Make sure to communicate sound safety procedures for using portable heaters.
  • Consider the jobsite’s conditions and requirements before selecting a portable heater.
  • Make sure all workers know how to use portable heaters safely.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Reference OSHA’s construction standard for temporary heating devices Subpart F, 1926.154.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

OSHA Issues Recommended Workplace Safety & Health Practices

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration | December 1, 2016

OSHA issues recommended practices to promote workplace safety and health programs in construction

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction to help industry employers develop proactive programs to keep their workplaces safe. The recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack safety and health specialists on staff.

Safety and health programs encourage finding and fixing workplace hazards before they cause injuries, illnesses and deaths. Implementing these programs also helps reduce the financial difficulties these events can cause for workers, their families and their employers.

Contractors can create a safety and health program using a number of simple steps that include: training workers on how to identify and control hazards; inspecting the jobsite with workers to identify problems with equipment and materials; and developing responses to possible emergency scenarios in advance.

“The recommendations outlined in this document will help contractors prevent injuries and illnesses on their construction sites and make their companies more profitable,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

The recommended practices for a safety and health program are flexible and can be adjusted to fit small and large construction companies handling short-term or multi-year projects. Working with employees to implement a program can offer other benefits including improvements in production and quality; greater employee morale; improved employee recruiting and retention; and a more favorable image and reputation among customers, suppliers and the community.

These recommendations are advisory only and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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