Are NFPA standards law?

It can be difficult for companies or agencies to get the funding and commitment that they need to make safety improvement changes. In many cases, the best way to convince the management team that it is necessary is to show them that they need to make changes in order to comply with the law. This is people often ask if NFPA standards are actually legally required, or if they are recommendations. The answer is somewhat more complex than most people would like.

When are NFPA standards mandatory?

The NFPA creates a variety of safety standards that are designed to help reduce the risk of fire, and allow emergency responders to safely put fires out should they occur. The NFPA, however, does not have any enforcement authority on its own, which means on the surface these codes are not legally mandatory.

Many of the NFPA codes have been adopted by OSHA and other regulatory agencies, which does make them required in many situations. OSHA commonly takes on safety standards that are created by third parties such as the NFPA. This allows them to always keep up with the best safety ideas in all the different areas, including fire protection.

Not all NFPA codes are legally required

While some of the NFPA codes have been implemented into OSHA standards, that is not the case for all of them. That being said, many companies choose to implement all the safety recommendations from the NFPA because they have been proven effective. In addition, companies want to be ready to comply with any future updates from OSHA, which will likely include additional NFPA codes.

When it comes to planning out safety improvements in a company or agency, however, it is often best to start with those standards that are required by law. Once those have been successfully added to the facility, it can be easier to justify expanding the adoption of the NFPA codes.

 

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Additional Resources

NFPA Labeling Guide
 
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