The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act defines brownfields as real property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. They are called brownfields in an effort to distinguish them from undeveloped, pristine land in areas outside of the city (often called greenfields).
Brownfield hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries.
This section highlights OSHA standards, preambles to final rules (background to final rules), Federal Registers (rules,
proposed rules, and notices), and directives (instructions for compliance officers) related to brownfields.
Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
Operations at brownfields must comply with either all applicable General Industry standards (29 CFR 1910) or all applicable Construction standards
(29 CFR 1926), depending on the nature of work at the site. In addition, if a site is determined to be a "hazardous waste site," that site must comply with the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard, as listed below.
General Industry (29
Construction Industry (29 CFR
- 1926 Subpart
D, Occupational health and environmental controls
Hazardous waste operations and emergency response
- Appendix A,
Personal protective equipment test methods
B, General description and discussion of the levels of protection
and protective gear
- Appendix C,
- Appendix D,
- Appendix E,
Training curriculum guidelines (Non-mandatory)
Preambles to Final Rules
Inspection Procedures for 29 CFR 1910.120 and 1926.65, Paragraph (q):
Emergency Response to Hazardous Substance Releases. CPL 02-02-073,
(2007, August 27). Also available as a 444 KB
PDF, 119 pages. Updates enforcement procedures for compliance officers
who need to conduct inspections of emergency response operations. It
defines additional terms and expands on training requirements for
emergency responders and other groups such as skilled support personnel.
This OSHA instruction revises CPL 02-02-059, issued April 24, 1998.
Policy for Emergency Action Plans and Fire Prevention Plans.
CPL 02-01-037 [CPL 2-1.037], (2002, July 9).
- Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response; Final Rule and Corrections.
CSP 01-01-024 [STP 2-1.154C], (1991, June 10). Describes a federal program
change to the regions and state designees.
- Search all available directives.
In addition to the risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals, the potential hazards at a brownfields site may resemble those found on a construction site and could include heat stress; falls from elevated work surfaces; slips, falls, or cave-ins in excavations or trenches; mechanical and impact hazards associated with heavy equipment and hand-held tools; electrical hazards; and noise exposure. The following references aid in recognizing hazards at a brownfield site.
Preparing brownfields for productive reuse requires the integration of many
elements—financial issues, community involvement, liability considerations, environmental assessment
and cleanup, regulatory requirements, and more—as well as coordination among many groups of
stakeholders. The assessment and cleanup of a site must be carried out in a way that integrates
all those factors into the overall redevelopment process. The following links provide information
about evaluating exposure to hazards at a brownfields site.
Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also available as a
260 KB PDF,
56 pages. Helps employers evaluate site activities and identify hazards.
Industry Safety and Health Outreach Program. OSHA, (1996, May). Identifies resources that clarify
construction standards and assist employers in implementing them.
- Brownfields Health
& Safety: For Sites Evaluated & Remediated under Federal Brownfields Initiatives or State Voluntary Clean-up Programs.
OSHA Question and Answer Sheet. Provides compliance information about site assessment and clean-up activities on
Sector Notebooks. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Provides a list of chemicals and pollutants associated with 30 individual industries.
- Safety and Health Aspects of EM CX Remediation Technologies. US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Publication No. EM 1110-1-4007, (2003, August 15). This engineering manual contains detailed hazard analyses for 25 commonly used EM CX site remediation technologies and is written for USACE project designers, Architect-Engineers (A-Es) and safety and health professionals. The document serves as a resource in identifying potential hazards unique and/or significant to the technologies addressed along with recommended controls.
OSHA provides several guidance resources for evaluating employee
exposure to site chemicals.
- Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-123, (1981, January). Provides a table of contents of guidelines for many hazardous chemicals. The files provide technical chemical information, including chemical and physical properties, health effects, exposure limits, and recommendations for medical monitoring, personal protective equipment (PPE), and control procedures.
- Chemical Sampling Information. OSHA. Presents, in concise form, data on a large
number of chemical substances that may be encountered in industrial hygiene investigations.
- OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (1999, January 20).
- Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM). US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication 2003-154, (2003). NMAM is a collection
of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine
of workers who are occupationally exposed. NMAM also includes chapters on quality assurance,
sampling, portable instrumentation, etc.
- Chemical Screening Tool For Exposures and Environmental Releases
(ChemSTEER). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Estimates employee
exposures during industrial operations.
Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh). Provides resources for evaluating and
controlling chemical hazards during construction.
- Chemicals can also be researched using the National Libraries
of Medicine TOXNET Database.
Biological hazards like bloodborne pathogens (HIV, Hepatitis B
and C) and vector borne diseases (Lyme, West Nile Virus,
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Rabies) may be easily overlooked
but are often associated with site work.
Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Provides links to useful exposure control
resources if employees are required to provide first aid or CPR on-site.
- Lyme Disease Facts [38 KB
2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2000).
- Workplace Safety & Health Topics.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A-Z index of all CDC topics.
- Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Disease, transmission and exposure control information
for mosquito, ticks and flea borne illnesses.
- Hazards. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh). Provides resources for evaluating and
controlling common biological hazards during construction.
HAZWOPER may or may not apply to your brownfield site. See the
OSHA Standards section
for answers about when OSHA requires compliance with HAZWOPER. You may be required
to comply with HAZWOPER through funding contracts or participation in your state Voluntary
Clean-up Program. Information on this page and the OSHA Standards page assist in meeting these requirements.
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)
If your brownfield site is considered to be a "hazardous waste site,"
you must comply with all the regulations contained in the HAZWOPER standard
29 CFR 1910.120
or 29 CFR 1926.65.
Use the following references to determine if your site should be classified as a "hazardous waste site."
If your site meets the scope of HAZWOPER, then a qualified person must characterize the site, identifying the
presence and concentrations of hazardous substances and their associated risks (29 CFR
1926.65(c)). Otherwise, a hazard assessment must be conducted in order to determine if hazards are present, or
likely to be present, that necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
(29 CFR 1910.132(d)).
- Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
- Brownfields Health
& Safety: For Sites Evaluated & Remediated under Federal Brownfields Initiatives or State Voluntary Clean-up Programs. OSHA Question and Answer Sheet. Compliance information about site assessment and clean-up
activities on brownfields.
Health and Safety Program (eHASP2). OSHA Expert System. Created in cooperation with the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), the updated eHASP Guide uses modern (Windows-based)
software, site-specific text, and expanded decision logic to assist the
user in determining the appropriate controls of health and safety hazards for
- Occupational Safety and Health Guidance Manual
for Hazardous Waste Site Activities. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), OSHA, US Coast Guard (USCG),
and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (1985). Identifies hazards and exposure controls, and provides a generic health
and safety plan template in Appendix B.
- Summary of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Congress passed this act in January 2002, amending the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability
Act (CERCLA). The amendment defines the term "brownfield site," provides funding for brownfield site assessment and
clean-up, and clarifies liability issues for sites that have completed State Voluntary Cleanup Programs.
Many of the resources listed here are also applicable for Physical and Biological hazards.
- Small Entity Compliance Guide for
the Respiratory Protection Standard [5 MB PDF*, 124 pages]. OSHA Publication 3384-09, (2011). Provides small entities with a comprehensive step-by-step guide complete with checklists and commonly asked questions that will aid both employees and employers in small businesses with a better understanding of OSHA’s respiratory protection standard.
- Respiratory Protection. OSHA eTool. Highlights selection, use, fit
testing, change-out schedules, medical and written program requirements.
Recommendations for Chemical Protective Clothing Database. National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Identifies protective
clothing materials appropriate for chemicals listed in this pocket guide.
Protective Technology. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH) Program Portfolio. Provides an example of a written program.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
- Construction Industry. OSHA. Provides links to OSHA Construction Standards and agency policies.
Engineering Manual EM 385-1-1. US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), (2008, November 15). Identifies safety and health requirements including physical hazards and exposure controls.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Brownfields
Exposure Evaluation Safety and Health Topics section.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
*These files are provided for downloading.