In the course of routine work, firefighters are exposed to health hazards as a result of emissions from fires, chemicals from spills and accidental releases, potentially infectious materials from individuals, and other known disease-causing substances. Currently, no system exists for firefighters to document and report these work-related hazardous exposures. In March 2015, the Washington State Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 1604 (SHB 1604), which requires the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) to form a work group to discuss establishing definitions, policies and procedures for mandatory reporting of hazardous exposures suffered by firefighters in the course of employment. The work group, including representatives of firefighter unions, fire departments, fire chiefs, state fund public employers and self-insured employers, began meeting in August 2015. The legislation requires a report from the work group, with any recommendations for legislation or rulemaking, to be submitted by January 1, 2016.
Below is the final report as submitted from Labor and Industries to the legislature as a result of 10+ meetings of the committee.