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NVFC state director testifies before Congress on proposed updates to OSHA standard

NVFC Massachusetts Director Joe Maruca appeared before a Homeland Security subcommittee to present the hardships the proposed standard would have on volunteer departments

By Bill Carey

WASHINGTON — Officials from the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) recently testified before Congress about the potential impact of OSHA’s proposed Emergency Response Standard on volunteer fire departments.

The two witnesses who testified before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology on June 4 were NVFC Massachusetts Director Joe Maruca and Dave Denniston, second vice president of the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York, the NVFC stated.

A review of statements and resources from the USFA, NVFC, OSHA Training Institute Education and Firefighters Association of the State of New York

In his testimony, Maruca praised OSHA’s efforts to improve firefighter safety. However, he warned that the standard, as written, would be economically unfeasible for volunteer fire departments, potentially leading to their closure and compromising safety and emergency response in small, rural communities.

Maruca urged OSHA to exempt volunteer firefighters and collaborate with the NVFC on a better safety plan.

The NVFC asks volunteer first responders to learn about the proposed standard’s impact and submit comments to OSHA by July 22. To assist, the NVFC offers a landing page with tools and resources, including a one-page summary of the most costly provisions.

State fire association official believes improvements are needed but proposed regulations are not achievable for small departments