Chapter 296-305 WAC Safety standards for firefighters

WAC 296-305-03002 Hazardous material; WAC 296-305-04001 Respiratory protective equipment.

After receiving a petition for rulemaking, the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is engaging in rulemaking for WAC 296-305-03002, Hazardous materials. The rulemaking will consider updating rule language about the appropriate selection of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) ensembles and using the statement of standard for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s CBRN self-contained breathing apparatus testing. L&I will also consider updating WAC 296-305-04001, Respiratory equipment protection, which has guidance for breathing air quality for firefighters. The reference to American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Compressed Gas Association (CGA) G6-1, Commodity Specification for Air needs to be updated to fix a typo in the standard number.

Status

The Proposal CR-102 was filed on January 23, 2024

Learn more about our rulemaking process and terminology.

Background

The need for this rulemaking is enhancing the safety of responders. By updating the language in WAC 296-305-03002, this will improve the speed of action by the responders. For responders using current Level A personal protective equipment (PPE), donning it is an extensive procedure that needs support from another trained member. Previously, many traditional setups of Level A PPE included wearing up to four pairs of gloves, while National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) non-encapsulated Class 1 setups are typically configured to use two pairs of gloves. Dexterity is significantly increased when a responder can use an NFPA Class 1 system.

Heat stress and suit inflation are the final issues of response safety. As responders must currently use totally encapsulating suits, Level A is the traditional suit used due to limitations of storage space and extensive cost concerns. With the limitation of only using Level A encapsulating suits, heat stress to the responder is increased as a result of the responder’s exhaled air surrounding them. Along with this limitation is the issue of suit inflation. As the responder continues to exhale, their suit is inflated. This inflation reduces mobility and increases the responder's profile as they continue to work. These issues are nonexistent when a responder uses an NFPA Class 1 system.

WAC 296-305-04001, Respiratory equipment protection, which has guidance for breathing air quality for firefighters will also be updated. The reference to ANSI/CGA G6-1, Commodity Specification for Air, needs to be updated to fix a typo in the standard number.

Meetings & Timelines

Upcoming Meetings

(No upcoming meetings currently scheduled)

Rule Documents & Drafts

Preproposal (CR-101)

Additional Resources

Respirator Standards | NPPTL | NIOSH | CDC

Staff Contacts:

For rulemaking questions, please contact:

Tari Enos
Administrative Regulations Analyst
Tari.Enos@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-5541

For technical questions, please contact:

Teri Neely
Safety Program Manager
Teri.Neely@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-6652


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