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  1. #1
    Senior Member postal79's Avatar
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    Default New Jersey- Osha state NFPA state, what do we follow

    we recently got ben II helmets and were told that we could put bourkes on them as long as we kept our goggles with us. but just recently our chief told us that we cannot have them at all because we(nj) are and osha state and osha does not consider bourkes as any kind of protection. NFPA states that as long as you have a primary eye protector (goggles) you can use a faceshield or bourkes as secondary protectors.

    Can anyone clear this up for me

    thanks in advance
    9/11/01 forever in our hearts


  2. #2
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    I"m not sure if your laws are the same here, but OSHA is a law, NFPA is a standard. Normally we would follow the more stringent of the two, however since the OSHA specifys that you can not use them, then that is what you must follow.

  3. #3
    41Truck
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    I could be wrong but isn't it the other way around? I mean OSHA approves the Bourke Eyeshields, whereas NFPA does not. Fire departments have to adhere to OSHA Laws but they don't have to comply with NFPA standards.

    Take the leather helmets for example: The New Yorker is OSHA approved but not NFPA approved. The Houston is NFPA approved only when Bourkes are not on it. The impact caps are different too. The Houston has a puncture resistant feature and the New Yorker does not.

    I always thought of NFPA as a suggestion. It is mandatory, not only for city/paid departments but for Volunteer companies to adhere to OSHA.

  4. #4
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    OSHA is law. If you or a department is found in violation of OSHA guidelines you could be fined by the state.

    NFPA is a nationally recognised standard. No one can fine you for not complying with these. However, you can be sued for non-compliance. For example, a firefighter gets a potentially blinding eye injury while using Bourke eye shields and there are no goggles on the helmet. Although this is in compliance with OSHA guidelines, it is not in compliance with NFPA standards. You most likely won't get fined by the state. However, should this firefighter decide to sue the department for not complying with NFPA standards, he/she has a very good chance of winning as it is a nationally recognised standard.

    My recomendation is to comply with both sets of rules. Not just on the helmet/eye protection issue but any issue where either of these regulations come into play.

  5. #5
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    Here in MI, our law adopts NFPA as the standard for PPE. In this case, we would go with whatever the NFPA cites as standard. So, no bourkes.

  6. #6
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    Default Don't blow away NFPA Standards

    HTFD 4107; I think your questions are best answered at the NJ Division of Fire Safety. The most knowledgable guy down there is Chris Eckert. Give him a call and I know he can help you.

    For everyone, it is a serious mistake to take NFPA Standards and Guidelines as "suggestions". Many NFPA standards are adopted by reference as part of the law. Also, they will be considered in court, civil or criminal, as a recognized "standard of care" or "authoritative treatise" if you will for the fire service. If you are an officer or a FD administrator you damn sure better know the NFPA standards that apply to you because you CAN be held accountable for them. The training officer in NYS is about to make a huge mistake by relying on the ignorance of NFPA as a defense.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    Firefighter PPE, among many other things in NJ fall under PEOSH. (Search NJ PEOSH and you'll find a whole document on firefighter regs) Look under PPE, you'll find that with the exception of helmets, all PPE must meet the NFPA standards. Helmets can meet EITHER OSHA Subpart L or NFPA standards. This is why 5A's and Bourkes are still legal here. The bit about NFPA being recommendations is dangerous to say the least. Look closely and you will find that NJ has adopted MANY NFPA standards, which makes them LAW.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    However, should this firefighter decide to sue the department for not complying with NFPA standards, he/she has a very good chance of winning as it is a nationally recognised standard.

    Well, first you wouldn't get sued for not complying with NFPA. You'll get sued for negligence.

    And I'd feel awful good going into a lawsuit in full compliance with OSHA, "Your Honor, the plaintiff has conceded the defendant was in compliance with OSHA standards. The defendant did not fail to take care -- they followed the nationally recognized standard of the OSHA regulations. Based on this, we're requesting a summary judgement in favor of the defense." Which will probably be granted.

    Negligence is errors of omission -- not doing something a reasonable person would.

    There can be alternative nationally recognized standards to choose from. When either can apply to you, following one over the other isn't negligence. In many states, OSHA *must* be the minimum followed, with NFPA optional.

    Now, if that department had adopted a policy or signed a union contract to follow NFPA standards for PPE, *then* it would be negligence for not following NFPA. However, adopting OSHA in an OSHA state and following OSHA instead of NFPA is not IMHO grounds for a charge of negligence.

    Had to come back -- had a minor fire and several new posts since I started writing Not only should you follow NFPA when you adopt a policy to do so, sign a contract to do so, you also follow them when they are the "law of the land" by adoption by a regulatory agency, and it's a darn good idea to follow them whenever there isn't an alternative standard. I.e., OSHA has standards on PPE you can follow; I'm not aware of alternative standards that are generally recognized for say Automotive Fire Apparatus or Live-Burns.

    Matt
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 02-15-2002 at 09:32 AM.

  9. #9
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    Bourkes are OSHA approved. Look at the FDNY for example, they all have bourkes. in NFPA depts you must have goggles (nfpa) or full face shield, but I believe you can use Bourkes as secondary protection. Also for cairns helmets, the New Yorker is only OSHA, it is not NFPA approved. You must use the Houston.

  10. #10
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    Haligan84 sums it up nicely and here's a link to fire fighting PEOSH he referenced:

    http://www.state.nj.us/labor/wps/pso.../Alert%206.pdf
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

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