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 http://www.osha.gov.

February 22, 1991

Mr. Richard H. Timms
Seneca Fire Department
City of Seneca
Post Office Box 4773
Seneca, South Carolina 29679

Dear Chief Timms:

Thank you for your letter of January 11, which was addressed to the Compliance Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Compliance Division forwarded your letter to the Office of State Programs because South Carolina has an OSHA approved State Plan.

I understand that Helen Rogers of my staff spoke with you and you informed her that your question concerning respirators for fire-fighters has already bean resolved.

With regard to your question concerning compliance with 29 CFR 1910.156(b)(2), I understand that you asked South Carolina's Department of Labor for compliance guidelines and that South Carolina referred you to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), who in turn referred you to the Compliance Division of OSHA.

OSHA has not published any guidelines or interpretations for Subpart L - Fire Protection, of the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.155 through 1910.165,separate from the appendixes following the standard.

[This document was edited on 8/12/99 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy.]

Appendix A - Fire Protection, which follows Subpart L, defines "physically capable" as "being able to perform those duties specified in the training requirements of section 1910.156(c), and can also be determined by physical performance tests or by a physical examination when the examining physician is aware of the duties that the fire brigade member is expected to perform."

As the note preceding the appendices to Subpart L states, the appendices, except Appendix E, serve as non-mandatory guidelines to assist employers in complying with the appropriate requirements off the standard.