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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.156(c)(3)

April 26, 2002

Mr. Steve Boykin
Shintech Inc.
5618 Highway 332 East
Freeport, Texas 77541

Dear Mr. Boykin:

Thank you for your October 4, 2001 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Compliance Programs (DCP). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You had a question regarding your company's training requirements for fire brigade members. We apologize for the delay in our response.

Statement: According to 29 CFR 1910.156(c)(3), the quality of fire training education given to the brigade members must be similar to that given by the institutes and academies listed in that section.

Question: Does this require the company to send the members to one of these schools, or can an experienced fire instructor develop lesson plans for on site classes that would include theory as well as field training with plant equipment and processes?

Reply: During a conversation on March 12 with a member of my staff, you clarified and provided additional information regarding your question. Hence, OSHA feels that you will be able to meet the intent of 1910.156(c)(3), either through in-house training or by sending your fire brigade members to institutes that are similar to those listed in 1910.156(c)(3).

For your information, the many fire brigades covered by the OSHA fire brigade standard (29 CFR 1910.156) vary widely in type, function, and size. Therefore, OSHA's requirements are performance-oriented to allow the employer to organize a fire brigade which best reflects the needs of the workplace. Furthermore, OSHA's training requirements for instructors are minimal and generalized; they are not divided into different levels of competence such as Instructor I, II, III, and IV as defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 1041. Also, the appendix to the fire brigade standard contains guidelines which should help you better understand the intent of OSHA's fire brigade training requirements.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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