By Brent I. Clark, Meagan Newman, and Craig B. Simonsen

OSHA has scheduled a meeting for “stakeholders” on its consideration of standards for emergency response and preparedness. 79 Fed. Reg. 32199 (June 4, 2014).

OSHA notes that emergency response is one of the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. To support a need for proposed rules OSHA references the National Fire Protection Association report “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States—2012,” and the Federal Emergency Management Agency report “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2012.” Emergency responders are defined as firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, hazardous material employees, and technical rescue specialists. Also, law enforcement officers are considered emergency responders as they often assist in emergency response incidents. OSHA notes that there are no standards that specifically address occupational hazards uniquely related to law enforcement activities.

OSHA had previously issued a Request for Information (74 Fed. Reg. 51735 (September 11, 2007)) to solicit comments on whether the Agency should take any action to address emergency response and preparedness. OSHA noted that recent events, such as the April 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas, that killed several emergency responders, and an analysis of the information provided in response to the 2007 Request for Information “make it clear that emergency responder health and safety continues to be an area of ongoing concern.” “OSHA plans to use the information received in response to the 2007 RFI and obtained at this stakeholder meeting when considering a proposed standard for emergency response and preparedness.”

The stakeholder meeting is scheduled for July 30, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., in Washington, DC. Register to request to attend by completing the online form at The deadline to request registration for the meeting is July 2, 2014.