#53 Portable Heating Devices

As the temperature drops, a variety of portable heating devices emerge. Make sure that care is taken to prevent fires caused by defective or carelessly used portable heating devices. Portable and stand-alone heaters have a greater potential to start a fire just because they are portable. When working around portable heaters be careful not to let clothing get too close to the flame or hot surfaces. Always keep combustibles a safe distance away from any heating device. Cardboard, rags, lumber and paper could ignite if they are too close to a heater.


Prior to using a portable heating device be sure to check that an operational fire extinguisher exists and its whereabouts well know. Always maintain a three-foot clearance between floor heaters and walls and other flammable objects. Never move a heater or add fuel when it is on or still hot. When heating devices are used, fresh air must be supplied in sufficient quantities to maintain the health and safety of workers. Solid fuel salamanders are prohibited in buildings and on scaffolds.


Heaters to be used on wooden floors must either be designed for such use or be placed on a suitable insulating material. The insulator should extend two feet beyond the heater in all directions.


If your portable heater is electric, be sure it has a UL (Underwriters Laboratory) mark and use the heater in dry areas only. Electrical heaters draw a lot of current, check the cords, look for frayed or work ends, and make sure that they can handle the load. Don’t overload circuits. Never run extension cords across doorways or anywhere that they will be subjected to heavy foot or vehicle traffic. Designate an employee to turn off or unplug all heaters at the end of each workday.