In This Issue

Emergency Response and Preparedness – OSHA Request for Information [Docket No. H-010]

Editor’s note: although OSHA regulations are pre-empted for PHMSA regulated pipelines if PHMSA has an existing regulation, this potential rulemaking is still of interest to PHMSA regulated pipeline operators since it may reach into non-pre-empted areas, and since many PHSMA regulated pipeline operators also operate OSHA regulated facilities.

Elements of emergency responder health and safety are currently regulated by OSHA primarily under the following standards: The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard; the personal protective equipment general requirements standard; the respiratory protection standard; the permit-required confined space standard; the fire brigade standard; and the bloodborne pathogens standard. Some of these standards were promulgated decades ago, and none was designed as a comprehensive emergency response standard. Consequently, they do not address the full range of hazards or concerns currently facing emergency responders, nor do they reflect major changes in performance specifications for protective clothing and equipment. Current OSHA standards also do not reflect all the major improvements in safety and health practices that have already been accepted by the emergency response community and incorporated into industry consensus standards.

OSHA is requesting information and comment from the public to evaluate what action, if any, the Agency should take to further address emergency response and preparedness. The Agency will be considering emergency response and preparedness at common emergencies (e.g., fires or emergency medical and other rescue situations), as well as large scale emergencies (e.g., natural and intentional disasters). OSHA’s areas of interest are primarily: personal protective equipment; training and qualifications; medical evaluation and health monitoring; and safety management. The agency will also be evaluating the types of personnel who would constitute either emergency responders or skilled support employees at such events, as well as the range of activities that might constitute emergency response and preparedness.

Comments must be submitted by December 10, 2007. You may submit comments, requests for hearings, and attachments electronically at, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions on-line for making electronic submissions. All submissions must include the Agency name and the OSHA docket number for this rulemaking (OSHA Docket No. S-023B). Submissions, including any personal information you provide, are placed in the public docket without change and may be made available online at

The full OSHA proposal can be obtained from Jessica Roger at