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  1. #1
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    Default OSHA rules and regs

    If you live in a non OSHA state how can you get the city you work for, to follow OSHA rules or can you. And what about NFPA, it sounds good but, if they dont have to follow what they say, then what good is it.

    Why is there only a few OSHA states, is OSHA not a federal department, do we not all have to follow what federal rules say.

    Thanks for any help.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Why is there only a few OSHA states
    Not really, almost half (24) states have adopted plans:
    AK,AZ,CA,CT,HI,IN,IA,KY,MD,MI, MN,NV,NJ,NM,NY,,NC,OR,SC,TN,UT ,VT,VI,WA,WY

    is OSHA not a federal department, do we not all have to follow what federal rules say.
    Absolutely, positively not. OSHA is a federal agency, and because of that, it has *NO* jurisdiction on States or political subdivisions thereof.

    OSHA's application to private business is under the Constitution's Commerce Clause giving Congress the ability to regulate commerce. Congress constitutionally does not have the ability to regulate most activities of the States.

    That said, Congress uses the Big Carrot approach -- Congress can not say "The National Speed Limit is 55MPH. Go out and enforce it." What they did say was "If you do not change your State Law to 55MPH, We will not give you any highway funds." Congress can not force your department to fill out a NFIRS report. But they can say if you want Fire Act Grants, you *must* fill out and submit NFIRS reports (that is a condition of accepting the money).

    Congress gave the states the option to continue or create their own State OSHA departments -- in those States State OSHA regulates private business, not FedOSHA. Two major caveats -- 1) State must be at least as strict as FedOSHA and 2) State OSHA must also apply to State & Local Gov't.

    And what about NFPA, it sounds good but, if they dont have to follow what they say, then what good is it.
    NFPA, essentially, just writes down the consensus of current best practices.

    If you want someone to follow it, like the company building your fire truck, you write it into the contract "Shall comply with NFPA 1901..." If you want your city to follow it, you gotta write it into your contract with them.

    Federal Agencies like OSHA are under congressional mandate to look towards "Industry Consensus Standards" whenever possible. So OSHA basically uses a lot of the NFPA Codes, modify them a bit to when people bitch they don't want to give up their Bourkes, and issue them as the OSHA regs. (Which is where you get the Cairns N5A "OSHA" New Yorker and N6 "OSHA/NFPA" Sam Houston which has a full face shield -- NFPA says full face shield, OSHA says you don't need one.)
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  3. #3
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    You state has a Department of Labor. Illinois isn't an OSHA state, yet the IDOL has addopted every OSHA ruling. So it doesn't matter that we aren't an OSHA state we follow all of the same rules.
    Even with that, Fed OSHA has enforced confined space and trench rules when a death was involved.
    So call your department of labor and find out the rules in your state.

  4. #4
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    Dalmation90 is very accurate in the info that he provides, however the bigger issue is how OSHA standards are applied in each state. many state are very different in how they apply these safety regulations. In most State Plan States it is clear that if you are a full time firefighter the regs apply to you but the confusion comes when it comes to the application to On-Call or Volunteer firefighters. Some states use the size of the city or town's population. In some states in order for OSHA regulations to be in effect there must be an employer/employee relationship that exists. This uasaly means being paid or compensated somehow, but even this is subject to each individual states interpretation. Some states exempt all volunteers. What it is, is a convoluted mess especially if it is determined that your department must comply with OSHA regulations and for a verity of reasons the Mutual Aid departments you work with don't have to comply. All OSHA safety standards should apply and be equally enforced nation wide. State boarders and political issues should not enter into firefighter safety. Is a volunteer firefighters life worth less than a firefighters that is paid??? Of course not!!!! Then why are not these basic minimum safey regulations applied evenly accross the board regardless of political boundries and compensation???? Its really crazy when you think about it. Just think about working at the same fire in the same jurisdiction and every one doing the same job to find out some of the firefighters on that scene are worjing under OSHA regulations and some are exempt. Don't laugh, this goes on every day all over the country. Its crazy. Lets get serious about the safety of our personnel and apply safety regulations equally accross the board. How much is a firefighters life worth?????

  5. #5
    Senior Member ENG6511's Avatar
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    Dalmatian 90: I enjoy your posts and think this one is excellant. However,as a litigation lawyer for almost 30 years and former law school Professor teaching Federal Constitutional law I'd say your contention about Federal law is somewhat strong. Don't forget the effect of the Supremacy clause.
    Bob Compton
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'd probably agree with you Bob...what one would think are simple words get incredibly complicated in practice when you start looking at how all the laws, codes, precedents, practices, jurisdictions, and the like interact!

    ----------
    I'm lucky to live in a State with decent protection for vollies. State Statutes mandate the municipality benefitting from volunteer firefighter's service consider them employees for purposes of Workers Comp. So it's not a big question of ConnOSHA having jurisdiction when we're already under Worker's Comp regulations.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Finally cleaning an 800 email backlog from the FIRE-L newsgroup (been a busy 6 weeks at work!) and found this item. Very relevant to the discussion here, and an example like ADSN/WFLD mentioned of a non-OSHA state implementing (more or less) an OSHA rule:

    August 3, 2001

    Florida 2 In-2 Out Rule Challenge Settlement Agreement

    A proposed settlement agreement has been reached in the Florida 2 in-2 out
    rule challenge case. Under the agreement:

    1. The Florida State Fire Marshal will adopt a modified rule that
    incorporates the 2 in-2 out standard, but recognizes that the two outside
    personnel may be assigned additional roles, such as incident commander,
    pumper operator, engineer, or driver, so long as they are able to
    immediately perform assistance or rescue activities. The modified rule
    requires that all counties, cities and special districts come into
    compliance by April 1, 2002, but if any department is unable to comply
    without adding additional personnel or expending significant additional
    funds, the department will have an additional six months to comply. If the
    department is still unable to comply after working with the State Fire
    Marshal's office without adding additional personnel or expending
    significant additional funds, the department will be exempt from the 2 in-2
    out rule. The Florida State Fire Marshal's office will review all exempt
    departments each year to determine if they are able to comply with the rule
    without hiring additional personnel or expending significant additional
    funds.

    2. The Settlement Agreement also provides that all parties (the Florida
    State Fire Marshal's office, the Florida League of Cities, Florida
    Association of Special Districts, Florida Professional Firefighters, Florida
    Fire Chiefs Association and the City of Daytona Beach) will agree to jointly
    support the legislation that had been agreed to by all parties during the
    2001 legislative session. The legislation provides limited rulemaking
    authority to the Florida State Fire Marshal to implement firefighter
    employment and safety regulations, but specifically prohibits the State Fire
    Marshal from adopting any other OSHA or NFPA standard relating to
    firefighter safety without specific legislative authority. The legislation
    also expands the Firefighter Standards and Training Council from nine to
    thirteen members, including one member appointed by the Florida League of
    Cities, one member appointed by the Florida Association of Counties, one
    member appointed by the Florida Association of Special Districts, and one
    member appointed by the Florida Fire Marshal's Association. In addition,
    the two fire chief members will be appointed by the Florida Fire Chiefs
    Association, and the two non-officer firefighters will be appointed by the
    Florida Professional Firefighters.

    3. The Settlement Agreement also provides for the creation of a
    thirteen member task force to assist the Fire Marshal in implementing the 2
    in-2 out rule. The composition of the task force is exactly the same as the
    composition of the revised Standards and Training Council contained in the
    agreed legislation. The task force will also work with the Florida State
    Fire Marshal to assist any fire department in the implementation of the
    standards contained in the rule.

    4. As part of the Settlement Agreement, all parties have agreed to bear
    their own attorney's fees and costs.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  8. #8
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    Default

    In Ohio, you can't make your city/fire agency compy with OSHA or NFPA. Our state law specifically exempts police and fire agencies from OSHA compliance. Thus, the only OSHA that applies to us is what was applied to HAZMAT incidents on a federal level.

    That doesn't mean the municipalities can ignore state OSHA, though. It only means that OSHA won't fine them for violations of safety practices, just the state workers safety agency (can't remember their name - you never see them do anything for anybody) will investigate and levy fines if appropriate. I've never heard of a city getting fined, though. Hmmmm, I wonder why.

  9. #9
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    Missouri isn't an OSHA state, so.......

    The General Duty Clause of the William Stigers Act of 1970 that created the Dept. of Labor, which created OSHA states that it is the responsibility of all empoloyers to provide a working environment free of hazards for thier employees, meaning that non-OSHA states with a dept of labor or govt. agencies still must control workplace hazards at the same level or better than OSHA governed states. (Remember, I am a firefighter, not a lawyer, so if I am wrong, please tell me )

    Also, don't OSHA standards usually refference NFPA and ANSI standards when dealing with Fire Service situations, indirectly making them "legally enforceable".

    Like I said, I may be incorrect, but that is what I know to be the situation in Missouri.

    Cobra3905, where in the state are you from?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Under the OSH Act:

    3. Definitions:
    (5) The term "employer" means a person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, but does not include the United States (not including the United States Postal Service) or any State or political subdivision of a State.

    AND

    18. State Jurisdiction and State Plans

    (c) The Secretary shall approve the plan submitted by a State under subsection (b), or any modification thereof, if such plan in his judgement --

    (6) contains satisfactory assurances that such State will, to the extent permitted by its law, establish and maintain an effective and comprehensive occupational safety and health program applicable to all employees of public agencies of the State and its political subdivisions, which program is as effective as the standards contained in an approved plan,

    ===========
    I'm not a lawyer either, but that pretty much reads
    1) State & Municipal Gov't are not "employers" under Fed-OSHA
    2) But if your state adopts a State-OSHA, then it *must* also include State/Municipal workers
    3) I didn't see anything (doing a text search) that precludes a state from voluntarily adopting rules for State/Municipal if it wishes, just nothing to require them to do so unless the go State-OSHA.
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