The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 provides rules and guidance for people in a workplace. A vehicle is defined as a workplace in Part 1, Division 3, Section 8, when it is used for work purposes.
As the purchase of the Act is to reduce the risk of injury to people, does it follow that all company vehicles must have a fire extinguisher?
Goods which come under the Transport of Dangerous Goods legislation will have a mandated number, rating and classification of fire extinguisher to be carried in relation to the volume of goods being carried.
But there is no specific mandate to carry a fire extinguisher in, for example, a sales rep’s car (unless they’re transporting dangerous goods). In all cases where the extinguisher is not required by law, the person conducting a business or undertaking must treat it as a risk management issue. Employers are required to provide a safe workplace that is suitable for the conditions. Each situation needs to be considered in terms of the overall risk to the driver.
An extinguisher is a dead weight that is carried around (i.e. it does affect fuel economy in a small way), it reduces the space available to carry other items and it needs pressure testing every 5 years. These costs can add up when a company has tens or hundreds of vehicles.
Look for an extinguisher that meets Australian Standard 2444 which covers the selection and location of portable fire extinguishers in vehicles.