Commissioner Causey urges reconsideration of federal firefighter rule in letter

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is asking the U.S. Department of Labor to reconsider a Feb. 5 rule that would negatively impact firefighters and first responders in a letter sent to the acting secretary this week. 

On Feb. 5, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update the existing Fire Brigades standard. The proposal would replace current fire brigades standard and broaden “the scope of entities covered beyond firefighting service to include entities that provide technical research and rescue and emergency medical services.”

“While I am sure that we both share the goal of protecting the health and safety of our hometown heroes, the firefighters and first responders who respond to emergency calls, I am concerned that this proposed rule could have a negative, perhaps devastating, effect on the very people we are trying to protect,” said Commissioner Causey in the letter. “Therefore, I am requesting that OSHA pause efforts to approve and implement this proposed rule.”

Commissioner Causey detailed some of his concerns.

“The cost this proposed new rule would add to local department budgets could be unattainable for many rural volunteer fire departments,” Commissioner Causey wrote. “The added training requirements could also make recruiting and retaining volunteers more difficult and result in fewer volunteers left to protect the safety of their communities.”

To read the entire letter, click here. 

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.