Firefighters often work in environments where there is a potential to be exposed to biological, chemical or physical agents. These exposures may occur, despite taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect firefighters’ health and safety.


Firefighters may experience many such exposures over their careers that could result in an illness or disease. Due to latency periods, illness or disease may occur long after the time of the exposure.

Actions for employers

Employers should:

  • establish a procedure for recording exposures, whether confirmed or suspected
  • establish a procedure for reviewing incidents which resulted in exposure, to prevent a similar reoccurrence
  • consult with their joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative in the development of these procedures

Exposure report contents

An exposure report should include information regarding:

  • the incident and details of the exposure
  • personal protective equipment worn or used
  • hazardous agent(s) potentially exposed to
  • additional details regarding how the exposure occurred

A copy should be provided to the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative.

Prevention of reoccurrence

Exposure reports should be reviewed after incidents, to determine what measures should be taken to prevent a reoccurrence.

Consider the following:

  • updates to current operating procedures or guidelines
  • adequacy of personal protective equipment
  • worker training

Applicable regulations and acts