- Standard Number:
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.
April 3, 1997
Mr. George W. Siebert
ODUSD (ES) SH
Department of Defense
3400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-3400
Dear Mr. Siebert:
The attached memorandum from the Commander In Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, regarding a waiver on Aluminized ProximityProtective Clothing for Aircraft Firefighting, NAVAIR 00-80R-14 has come to our attention. This letter is to correct a misunderstanding and avoid further confusion on this area.
The memo states in paragraph 2 that "the OSHA position is that changes in design materials of structural firefighting clothing have resulted in state-of-the-art gear that provides equal or greater protection than that afforded by crash rescue suits and that OSHA has approved the use of structural protective clothing meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.156(e) (NFPA Standard 1971) for both structural and airport crash rescue firefighting."
This statement is misleading and the memorandum that the paragraph refers to was written as a specific response to a 1990 question from OSHA Region 3 regarding citations issued to the U.S. Army Transportation Command at Fort Eustis, Virginia and to the U.S. Navy at the Oceania Air Station. In that response, OSHA did not approve the use of structural gear for aircraft firefighting, OSHA stated that the employer would not be cited for using structural gear for aircraft crash response (copy of memo attached). The issue was stated that way at the time because no consensus standard existed that addressed aircraft crash and rescue protective equipment and OSHA had no basis to issue a general duty citation for failure to provide aluminized proximity protective clothing. In 1992, the National Fire Protection Association promulgated NFPA 1976 Standard on Protective Clothing for Proximity Firefighting which does address the issue and which requires aluminized proximity protective clothing for aircraft firefighting. Since there is now a consensus standard for aircraft firefighting, that earlier memorandum is no longer valid and an employer may be cited for failure to follow NFPA 1976.
Please advise DOD agencies and CINCPAC that any agency that fails to follow the equipment and other requirements of NFPA 1976 for aircraft firefighting will be subject to OSHA citation.
Should you have any further questions, [please contact 202-693-2122].
Thank you in advance for your quick action.
John E. Plummer, Director
Office of Federal Agency Programs
January 24, 1997
|FROM:||Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet
|SUBJECT:||WAIVER ON ALUMINIZED PROXIMITY PROTECTIVE CLOTHING FOR AIRCRAFT FIREFIGHTING
|REF:||(a) NAVAIR 00-80R-14|
- CINCPACFLT has received requests from shore activities for a waiver to the subject requirement instituted during the 1994 NATOPS Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Conference. The requirement specifies that all firefighters assigned to aircraft rescue and firefighting duties be provided with proximity protective clothing that meets NFPA Standard 1976.
- The OSHA position is that changes in design materials of structural firefighting clothing have resulted in state-of-the-art gear and provide equal or greater protection than that afforded by crash fire rescue suits. OSHA has therefore approved the use of structural protective clothing meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.156(e) (NFPA Standard 1971) for both structural and airport crash rescue firefighting. The issue is still outstanding and can only be resolved at the next NATOPS conference, where we plan to seek clarification and/or a revision to reference (a).
- Our primary concern is to ensure firefighting personnel are provided with appropriate protective clothing. Based on the OSHA determination and strong possibility of a change to the NATOPS requirement, addressees are granted a waiver to the requirement to provide proximity protective clothing meeting NFPA Standard 1976. The waiver is authorized provided structural protective clothing currently in use fully meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.156(e) (NFPA Standard 1971) and will remain in effect until the issue can be readdressed and resolved at the next NATOPS conference.