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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.156; 1910.156(a)

February 6, 2006

Linda Chaff
Chaff & Co.
The Concierge Level
600 Republic Centre
Chattanooga, TN 37450

Dear Ms. Chaff:

Thank you for your December 15, 2005 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). 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 have a question regarding OSHA's interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.156.

Question: Must health care facilities with groups designated as Fire Brigades or Fire Response Teams, whose functions may require the use of fire extinguishers and standpipe hose systems to control and/or extinguish small fires, evacuation of patients, and actions involving flammable liquids and gases, toxic chemicals, and radioactive sources comply with 29 CFR 1910.156?

Reply: In accordance with 29 CR 1910.156(a), the Fire brigades standard contains requirements for the organization, training, and personal protective equipment (PPE) of fire brigades whenever they are established by an employer. Therefore, if an employer of a health care facility designates a group of employees to perform the tasks that you have described in your question, the employer must comply with all requirements set forth in 29 CFR 1910.156.

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 Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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