OSHA Proposes New Emergency Response Standard

On February 5, 2024, OSHA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) introducing a Safety and Health Standard named Emergency Response. This standard aims to replace the current Fire Brigades standard, providing broader protection for emergency responders from various occupational hazards. OSHA invites comments on the proposed rule until May 6, 2024.

Overview of the New Standard:

  • The proposed rule replaces the Fire Brigades standard and expands OSHA’s scope to address a wide range of hazards faced by emergency responders.
  • It aligns with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Response Framework and incorporates industry-consensus standards from the National Fire Protection Association.
  • While OSHA standards typically don’t cover volunteer emergency responders, the proposed rule seeks input on potential exclusions for economically at-risk small and volunteer organizations.
  • The rule is performance-based, offering flexibility for organizations to establish criteria that best suit their needs.

Employer Action:

Employers impacted by the proposed emergency response standard should:

  • Review the standard and understand its implications.
  • Submit comments or suggestions by May 6, 2024, to contribute to the rulemaking process.

The performance-based approach aims to enhance emergency responder safety while accommodating the diverse needs of small and volunteer organizations with limited resources.

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