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.
PRIOR TO OPERATION
- 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.
APPROVED FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
- 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.
ACCIDENT & INJURY PREVENTION
- 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.
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