OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

January 24, 1983

Regional Administrator - IV
Field Coordinator
Deputy Director, Federal Compliance and State Programs
SUBJECT: Tennessee's Fire Protection Standard

The International Association of Fire Fighters has expressed concern that some 18(b) States are not applying the Fire Protection standard to the public sector. As you are aware, STP. 2-2.8A requires that 18(b) States' application of 29 CFR 1910.156, Fire Brigades, include both private and public sector employees. All of the 18(b) States except Oregon and Tennessee have provided for public sector coverage under the standard. Some States specifically expanded the scope of the standard to apply to the public sector, and others have provided letters of assurance that the standard would be applied to the public sector.

Tennessee's Fire Protection Standard has been reviewed by the Region and forwarded to the National Office for approval. As discussed with Carl Bunn of your staff, we cannot approve the standard until Tennessee either expands the application of the standard to apply to the public sector, or provides a letter of assurance that the standard will be applied to the public sector. It is our understanding that Tennessee is unwilling to take either course of action because the State plans to seek informal voluntary compliance from the public sector. Such action is unacceptable.

We would appreciate your discussing this matter with the State to resolve the situation. If you have any questions, or wish to discuss the matter further, please contact Veronica Allen of my staff (202) 523-7092.