Comment period open for OSHA’s proposed Emergency Response Standard

April 14 • 2024

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing an update to workplace protections for fire fighters and other emergency service personnel, marking the first significant revision in over 40 years.

In an email to affiliate leaders, General President Edward Kelly said the changes – which the IAFF has tirelessly lobbied for – “have the potential to reshape fire fighter safety and save the lives of IAFF members by officially acknowledging basic industry standards.”

“Our job will never stop being dangerous, but there are steps we can take to make it safer,” Kelly said. “This update is long overdue, and the Biden Administration agrees.”

The proposed standard seeks to update the Fire Brigades Standard, enacted in 1980, and rename it the Emergency Response Standard.

It calls for changes in all aspects of emergency response, including staffing, training, apparatus readiness, and protective clothing and equipment. Additionally, it will require employers to obtain baseline medical screenings for all emergency responders and requires access to behavioral health resources.

Let me be clear, our IAFF will never support a policy that jeopardizes fire fighters’ jobs. Every day, the IAFF fights to make our jobs as safe and dignified as possible, and we will fight to ensure this proposal is a floor for our safety and nothing more.

General President Edward kelly

OSHA’s public comment period is now open, and the IAFF is encouraging leaders to submit their comments before the June 21, 2024 deadline.

Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the OSHA proposal requires employers to work with employees to design safety plans that make sense for each community and fire department.

Read the full proposal here.

For questions regarding the proposed regulations, please contact Director of Health & Safety Operational Services Sean DeCrane ([email protected]). For assistance submitting your comments, please contact Director of Government Affairs Evan Davis ([email protected]).