Emergency Response Rulemaking

The Emergency Response proposed rule is here!

OSHA is happy to announce that the Emergency Response proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register and is now available for viewing.

OSHA welcomes and encourages the submission of public comments in response to this proposed rule. The comment period ends on May 6, 2024.

Comments can be submitted to the Emergency Response Docket at https://www.regulations.gov/docket/OSHA-2007-0073.

Additional information on OSHA's rulemaking process and how stakeholders can participate is available at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/rulemakingprocess.

Background

Emergency response workers in America face considerable occupational health and safety hazards in dynamic and unpredictable work environments. Current OSHA emergency response and preparedness standards are outdated and incomplete. They do not address the full range of hazards facing emergency responders, lag behind changes in protective equipment performance and industry practices, conflict with industry consensus standards, and are not aligned with many current emergency response guidelines provided by other federal agencies (e.g., DHS/FEMA). In recognition of the inadequacy of the outdated safeguards provided by the current OSHA standards, the proposed rule seeks to ensure that workers involved in Emergency Response activities get the protections they deserve from the hazards they are likely to encounter while on the job.

About the Rule

The proposed rule would replace OSHA's existing Fire Brigades standard, 29 CFR 1910.156, which was originally promulgated in 1980, covers only a subset of present-day emergency responders (firefighters) and has only had minor updates in the 43 years since it was published.

The focus of the proposed Emergency Response rule is to provide basic workplace protections for workers who respond to emergencies as part of their regularly assigned duties. Notably, the scope of protected workers under the proposed rule would be expanded to include workers who provide emergency medical service and technical search and rescue.

OSHA looks forward to receiving comments and other input from interested stakeholders and the general public.

This rulemaking effort is separate from OSHA's technical assistance resources for emergency response and recovery workers. For those resources, visit OSHA's Emergency Preparedness and Response page.