Requires employers to provide emergency escape systems to firefighters.
Ayes (56): Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Storobin, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Excused (6): Adams, Alesi, Espaillat, Huntley, O'Mara, Perkins
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to requiring employers to provide emergency escape systems to firefighters
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This legislation would require employers to provide emergency escape systems to firefighters.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 states that any employer except a city with one million or more people who employs a firefighter determined to be at risk of entrapment at elevations shall provide emergency escape systems for use by such firefighter.
Further requires the commissioner to identify whether firefighters employed by a municipality would be exposed to the entrapment at elevated levels, identify those firefighters who would be exposed, and to determine the appropriate emergency escape systems.
Further this section ensures that firefighters emergency escape systems are continuously inspected and in proper shape.
Section 2 is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: On January 23, 2005, six (6) New York City Firefighters were caught on the fourth floor of a burning building in the Bronx. The firefighters, however, were not equipped with proper emergency escape components. All six (6) men were forced to jump from the building, resulting in serious injury to four (4) and the death of two (2). This incident has become commonly referred to as "Black Sunday" in the firefighting community. In response to the Black Sunday incident, the Legislature eventually enacted Chapter 433 of the Laws of 2008 ("Chapter 433"), which required, among other things, that the commissioner of the Department of Labor (the "Commissioner") to promulgate regulations to adopt the codes, standards, and recommended practices promulgated by the "most recent" edition (i.e., the 2006 edition) of the National Fire Protection Association ("NFPA") 1983 Standard on Fire Service Life Safety Rope And System Components. NFPA standards, however, are continually changing in order to maintain pace with advancements in technology. By restricting the Commissioner to the 2006 edition of the NFPA 1983 Standard, Chapter 433 has, in effect, hampered the Commissioner's ability to effectively respond to changes in technology, which could have the unintended effect of putting firefighters' lives at risk. In addition, firefighters carry certain standard equipment, which may be used during a self rescue escape, that may not be covered by the NFPA 1983 Standard. For example, it is an accepted practice for a firefighter to carry a Halligan bar (also called a Halligan tool) into a building. To be sure, in most fire companies, firefighters do not enter a building without one. One of the
many accepted uses for the Halligan bar is for a firefighter to use it during a self rescue escape - i.e., the exact situation covered by Chapter 433. It is an accepted practice (and one that is taught during training) for a firefighter who faces a self rescue/escape situation to jam or wedge his Halligan bar into a wall or a corner as an anchor point, tie off his rope to it and proceed to extract himself out a window. The problem, however, is that a Halligan bar is currently not covered by the NFPA 1983. In effect what Chapter 433 has inadvertently done is to prevent the firefighting community to use equipment generally recognized as acceptable because it is not covered by the NFPA 1983 Standard on Fire Service Life Safety Rope And System Components. This Bill will provide the firefighting community with the latitude to effectively respond to the needs of their locality, to consider appropriate alternatives and to provide communities with the flexibility to equip their firefighters with equipment that best suits their unique needs.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect in 30 days.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7677 IN SENATE June 13, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. GRISANTI, MARTINS, ZELDIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to requiring employers to provide emergency escape systems to firefighters THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph c of subdivision 4 of section 27-a of the labor law, as amended by chapter 433 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows: c. Except for an employer located in a city with a population of over one million, any employer who employs a firefighter DETERMINED TO BE AT RISK OF ENTRAPMENT AT ELEVATIONS PURSUANT TO REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE COMMISSIONER, shall provide
[safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS for use by such firefighter. The commissioner shall by rule [adopt]IDENTIFY the codes, standards and recommended practices [promulgated by the most recent edition]of THE National Fire Protection Association [1983, Standard on Fire Service Life Safety Rope and System Components, and]AND OTHER APPROPRIATE STANDARDS APPROVED BY THE COMMISSIONER as are appropriate to the nature of the risk to which the firefighter shall be exposed AND SHALL, AT A MINIMUM, INCLUDE IN SUCH RULE LANGUAGE REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO (1) IDENTIFY WHETHER FIRE- FIGHTERS EMPLOYED BY THEM WOULD BE EXPOSED TO THE HAZARD OF ENTRAPMENT AT ELEVATED SURFACES; (2) IDENTIFY THOSE FIREFIGHTERS WHO WOULD BE EXPOSED TO THE HAZARD; AND (3) DETERMINE THE APPROPRIATE EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS TO ADDRESS THE HAZARD. Such [safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS shall be adequate to protect the health and safety of the firefighter. The employer shall ensure that the firefighter is instructed in the proper use of the [safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS. AS USED IN THIS SUBDIVI- SION, THE TERM "ENTRAPMENT AT ELEVATIONS" SHALL MEAN A SITUATION WHERE A FIRE OR OTHER EMERGENCY CONDITIONS REQUIRE A FIREFIGHTER INSIDE A STRUC- TURE TO IMMEDIATELY EXIT THE STRUCTURE BUT WHERE SUCH CONDITIONS MAKE THE NORMAL ROUTE OF EXIT UNUSABLE, THEREBY REQUIRING THE FIREFIGHTER TO EXIT THE STRUCTURE FROM AN OPENING THAT IS NOT DESIGNED AS AN EXIT ANDEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD16238-02-2 S. 7677 2
IS ABOVE THE GROUND FLOOR OR AT AN ELEVATION ABOVE THE SURROUNDING TERRAIN THAT WOULD REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO CAUSE INJURY TO A FIRE- FIGHTER EXITING BY MEANS OF THIS OPENING WITHOUT ANY EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS. AS USED IN THIS SUBDIVISION, THE TERM "EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEM" SHALL MEAN SAFETY ROPES AND SYSTEM COMPONENTS AND ANY OTHER SYSTEM THAT (1) IS COMPLIANT WITH THE CODES, STANDARDS AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES OF THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION OR OTHER APPROPRIATE STANDARD IDENTIFIED BY THE COMMISSIONER THROUGH REGULATION, AS A MEANS OF EMER- GENCY SELF-RESCUE FROM AN ABOVE GRADE, IMMEDIATELY HAZARDOUS ENVIRON- MENT, (2) HAS BEEN CERTIFIED BY A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED SAFETY TESTING AND CERTIFICATION ORGANIZATION, AND (3) THE COMMISSIONER HAS RECOGNIZED THROUGH REGULATION. In order to ensure the adequacy of the
[safety ropes and system compo- nents]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS, the employer must routinely inspect and ensure that: (1) Existing [safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS meet the codes, standards and recommended practices adopted by the commissioner. (2) Existing [safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS still perform their function and to identify any of their limi- tations such as but not limited to: (i) Checking the labels or stamps on the equipment; and (ii) Checking any documentation or equipment specifications; and (iii) Contacting the supplier or the approval agency; (3) Firefighters are informed of the limitations of [any safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS; (4) Firefighters are not allowed or required to use any [safety ropes or system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS beyond their limitations; (5) Existing and new [safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS have no visible defects that limit their safe use; (6) [Safety ropes and system components]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS are used, cleaned, maintained and stored according to manufacturer's instructions; (7) The firefighter is instructed in identifying to the employer any defects that the firefighter may find in [safety ropes and system compo- nents]EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS; and (8) Any identified defects are corrected or immediate action is taken by the employer to eliminate the use of this equipment. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.