California emergency workers of all kinds face risks every day. It is vital to protect the health and safety of these workers by establishing parameters that prevent unnecessary harm. In order to do this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a new regulation that could change work for those employed as fire fighters, with the intent of preventing on-the-job injury.

OSHA worked to identify the most common threats to safety for emergency workers, and the new proposal focuses on requiring employers to address these concerns. Some of the new regulations would require fire fighters to undergo medical evaluations, pass a physical test and more. Statistics indicate that in 2014, half of all fire fighters who died while on duty succumbed to a heart attack. 

The new proposals have proved to be quite controversial among employers. The medical and physical tests could be quite costly and may place a financial strain on smaller municipalities. In addition to the medical tests, these changes may prohibit the use of poles in fire stations, instead requiring fire fighters to use the stairs or slides. These required changes could be costly, but nothing has been finalized at the point. These workers do have the right to medical treatment and care if injured on the job, no matter what caused the accident. 

After suffering an on-the-job injury, a person typically has a right to full and fair recovery from workers’ compensation benefits. Obtaining rightful benefits can be a complicated process, but a lawyer can help an injured fire fighter navigate the claims process. Whether these new regulations are passed or not, California fire fighters have rights that must be recognized and protected.

Source:, “OSHA ponders new standard for emergency responders“, Gloria Gonzalez, March 3, 2016