|2005 OSHSPA Report > Workplace security: safeguarding the workplace|
|Workplace security: safeguarding the workplace|
Alaska’s Enforcement and Consultation and Training sections have both been integrated into the emergency response plans and training activities in the state. Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH) staff members actively participated in emergency response exercises designed to test the state’s ability to react to potential threats.
After Hurricane Katrina, AKOSH offered employees to assist with the disaster cleanup efforts. To date, AKOSH contributed five industrial hygienists and six safety officers to support the cleanup effort in Louisiana through identifying and eliminating workplace safety and health hazards.
The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) has begun serving on the advisory committee for the Arizona State Emergency Response Commission (AZSERC). This commission oversees 15 local emergency planning committees and supports community, industry, government and academia in: planning, release and incident reporting, data management guidance for inventory reporting, public disclosure of information about hazardous chemicals in Arizona, as well as development of training and outreach programs.
The commission supports individual agency goals and objectives. This is accomplished through the receipt and coordination of emergency notifications of chemical releases, collection and provision of chemical inventory information to interested parties, training and grants programs.
Additionally, AZSERC provides consultative services, conducts and participates in workshops, and coordinates development and review of plans and programs for 15 local emergency planning committees. Further, AZSERC serves as a state clearinghouse for hazardous chemical emergency preparedness and planning activities and information through coordination with federal, state and local governments, and industry and community interest groups. Additionally, ADOSH continued to participate in monthly conference calls among federal OSHA and other state-plan states to discuss homeland security issues and the role for OSHA and state-plan states.
California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) has successfully achieved integration into the Statewide Emergency Management System used by California emergency responders. The Cal/OSHA emergency response staff is now represented in the statewide operations center, the regional emergency operations centers and in local incident command systems as technical specialists. This successful outcome was the result of meetings and negotiations with high-level staff members from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The Worker Safety and Health Annex to the National Response Plan was also instrumental in providing a framework for this integration.
Cal/OSHA has created emergency response teams in northern and southern California. Cal/OSHA personnel were selected to serve at the risk-assessment level or competent-technical level based on the level of training, expertise and experience in one or more of the risk categories. Risk categories include: biohazard, industrial chemical hazard, radiological hazard, chemical weapons or nuclear device hazard, or structural collapse hazard.
Hurricane Katrina assistance
Cal/OSHA teams were sent to New Orleans to assist federal OSHA in preventing deaths, injuries and illnesses among workers assigned to recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Residents and workers encountered by Cal/OSHA staff members were usually exhausted and demoralized. Foot traffic/workers were at high-risk of serious injury. Haulage vehicles, loaders, dozers and other similar equipment were constantly moving around. Piles of debris, waste and other materials were usually piled high and stability was uncertain. Pot holes, broken boards with nails, broken glass, sharp edges, large waste materials such as boats, loose materials, snakes, spiders and other bugs were plentiful.
Many of the dwellings had large amounts of black mold that was clearly visible throughout the walls, furniture, ceilings, fl oor and appliances. Many workers are not aware of the hazards of mold, asbestos, petroleum waste and unstable structures. Fact sheets were distributed and safety and health instructions were provided.
Connecticut OSHA (CONN-OSHA) emergency response teams successfully participated in TOPOFF3. CONNOSHA continues to take on a larger role with the state of Connecticut Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for protecting emergency responders, including participating in the National Certification Process for OEM. CONN-OSHA is preparing for its role in a Strategic National Stockpile training event.
The Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) is working with OTI with respect to workplace violence training for Indiana OSHA (IOSHA) and other IDOL personnel to develop and implement a working program and training for the agency. In July 2005, IDOL adopted an internal policy about responding to complaints regarding workplace violence or hazards within Indiana worksites.
The Kentucky OSH Program has representation on the Governor’s Security Working Group and meets quarterly with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security’s Training and Development Consortium. These groups work toward assisting in the development and implementation of programs and initiatives to ensure Kentucky is prepared.
Maryland continues to offer the Emergency Response and Disaster Preparedness (updated periodically) course to guide participants through the process of preparing and implementing an emergency response plan. This seminar was presented three times during this period, reaching 87 employers and employees for a total 522 training hours.
Michigan OSHA’s (MIOSHA’s) strategic plan for 2004 through 2008 includes a specific objective to address emergency preparedness strategies to enable MIOSHA to assist in the event of a terrorist attack or other significant threat or attack. MIOSHA developed an emergency response plan and has designated staff members to provide initial response and assistance following a catastrophic incident.
MIOSHA developed a workplace security resource guide for use in outreach and training efforts. Through a MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training grant, a video and workbook were developed and are available to employers and workers about workplace violence assessment, planning and prevention. MIOSHA staff members also conducted three security hazard surveys at higher-risk places of employment.
MIOSHA staff assisted federal OSHA in recovery and clean-up efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Staff members performed a variety of functions during two-week, 12-hour-day assignments.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is represented by Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Compliance at the state’s Department of Public Safety. This representation ensures its involvement in all incidents of natural and human-made disasters. In addition, MNOSHA is involved in state of Minnesota planning for potential acts of terrorism. The role of MNOSHA Compliance is defined in the Minnesota emergency operations plan. The state has an internal Catastrophic Event Inspection (CEI) Team that is its first line of contact in regard to an event. MNOSHA also provides help to employers with emergency response and preparation plans.
In federal fiscal-year 2005, MNOSHA continued to be an active participant on the State Emergency Response Team. Two directors from the CEI Team attended the two-day Minnesota Incident Management System course in June 2005. Team members reviewed the Emergency Response Contingency Plan and updates were made to several response checklists.
Since being formed in 2002, Nevada’s two OSHA-Safety Consultation and Training Section (OSHA-SCATS) emergency response teams continue to train and prepare to meet OSHA’s responsibilities when responding to catastrophic emergencies. Frequent drills and exercises were significant in honing team members’ skills and abilities to meet these responsibilities. However, only real world emergencies and application of what they learn can ultimately assess their level of preparedness. One of Nevada’s response teams was put to the test in early 2005.
An unusual amount of rain came to Nevada in January 2005. And in one remote area of southern Nevada, an unprecedented water runoff and flooding caused the erosion of railroad track-beds, collapse of the tracks and eventual derailment of railroad cars. Reports of possible releases of chlorine, liquid propane gas and sulfuric acid from these cars sparked concerns from the media, community and emergency management officials. These reports prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to issue a mission assignment requesting assistance and deployment of resources to assess these potentially disastrous conditions – the first of its kind issued and responded to by a state-plan-state OSHA response team.
Responding to the call, an OSHA-SCATS response team, integrating with other state and local agencies, was airlifted to two target sites. They collected air-quality data, determined the rail cars’ condition and possible breaches, identified and evaluated potential safety and health hazards for responders or recovery workers, and completed an overall assessment of the sites for the decisionmakers.
From this experience, the OSHA-SCATS response team proved it was prepared and capable of performing its assigned mission. The team learned lessons that only real events can give. The bottom line: Team goals and objectives were met – mission accomplished.
SCATS also provided outreach-training activities about planning for emergencies through its Workplace Emergencies and Evacuation and Workplace Violence Awareness programs. The Nevada OSHA/SCATS response teams made additional presentations at some of the larger Workplace Emergencies and Evacuation training programs.
New Jersey participated in TOPOFF 3. TOPOFF 3 was the most comprehensive terrorism response exercise ever conducted in the United States. The states of New Jersey and Connecticut participated in the exercise. In New Jersey, the exercise tested the ability of the state to plan and respond to a biological attack. The state tested its ability to coordinate inter-agency preparedness and response plans to a biological response; conduct epidemiological investigations and criminal investigations; supply medication to ill patients; and deploy assets statewide. The exercise involved all 21 counties, many municipalities, state agencies and federal agencies. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) program participated by responding to injects and assisting the NJDHSS in the preparation of a plague occupational health alert and in the distribution of medication.
The New York State Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) continues to enhance its emergency preparedness responsibility. Currently, there are more than 60 trained responders whose primary purpose is to support the emergency response community by assisting in pre-crisis planning and on-site monitoring, providing safety and health training, providing PPE selection expertise, conducting fit-testing or training others to conduct fit-testing, and assisting in the development of site or incident safety and health plans. In 2005, the team identified five trainers who provide safety and health training about subjects pertinent to the emergency at hand. These trainers are fully resourced and ready to provide prompt training upon request.
Eight hours of refresher training is provided annually to team members that includes the conduct of functional exercises designed by State Emergency Management Officials (SEMO).
During 2005, DOSH coordinated with various state agencies assigned to the New York State Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Task Force in the development of a safety and health plan designed specifically for emergency workers who may be deployed following an incident to perform critical response and recovery activities. This agency-specific plan contains key ingredients necessary for the protection of emergency responders during a CBRNE event. The completed safety and health plans will be annexed in a task-force-specific plan that will identify multi-agency emergency response safety and health procedures.
The DOSH Crisis Response Team stands ready to fulfill its mission to provide safety and health technical assistance and resources to the New York SEMO and state and local emergency response agencies.
The primary responsibility of the North Carolina Division of Occupational Safety and Health in response to a catastrophic event, natural disaster or terrorist activity is to help protect responders and recovery personnel, and to assure all post-event activity is conducted in as safe and healthy a manner as possible. The division has provided personnel and equipment in response to significant events at the state and national level. This included 29 personnel in response to Hurricane Katrina. The role of the division has been defined in the State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) and shared with emergency responders through participation with Local Emergency Planning Committees and as a member of the State Emergency Response Team. The SEMP has also been posted on the state’s official Emergency Management Web site.
One of the ways the division takes a proactive approach in helping to protect responders is through pre-event safety and health training, and instruction in the proper use of equipment. This can include bloodborne pathogen or hazard communication training for fire departments or respirator fit-testing for emergency services personnel.
Disaster exercise at the Capitol
In October 2005, Oregon OSHA (OR-OSHA) participated in a coordinated disaster response event with local, state, federal and nongovernmental partners called Operation Cooperation, on the Capitol Mall. Nine hundred participants took part in the exercise, which involved detonating a bus on the mall and several other explosions in the surrounding area. The exercise was funded in part by a Homeland Security grant.
Participants gained insight into triage, hospital traffic flow, communication barriers (wireless issues and native language issues when dealing with first responders) and jurisdiction. Local high school students also had a chance to participate, playing the part of mock victims. OR-OSHA staff members were part of the Exercise Planning Group and performed as safety officer/controller for the exercise.
OR-OSHA participated in “COWEX” (cow exercise), a full-scale hoof and mouth disease exercise funded by a Homeland Security grant and encompassing five counties. OR-OSHA’s involvement included being a member of the Exercise Planning Team, staffing the State Emergency Communication Center, serving as safety officer (SO) and serving as safety evaluator for the exercise. As SO, staff members trained and worked with county public works staff members about trenching issues, heavy equipment and traffic control. According to state agriculture rules, if a cow with hoof and mouth disease is found, every cloven hoofed animal in a five-mile radius must be collected, killed and disposed of in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
As part of its outreach efforts to industry, OR-OSHA has been involved in industry group training about contingency planning. The primary focus is about the benefits of planning for emergencies to minimize business disruption and increase the likelihood of a company surviving a major event.
In response to ever-demanding conditions of the diverse working environments in the island, and continuing a 30-year tradition of commitment toward occupational safety and health, the Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Administration (PR OSHA) has engaged in several projects and strategies aimed at increasing its presence among employers throughout different industries.
PR OSHA strives to combine results from multiple program areas and is focused, among other objectives, on three strategic goals:
Tennessee OSHA has established a relationship with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and has provided input and expertise into the revision of several of the emergency response procedures, including earthquake preparedness. Presentations have been made to TEMA to inform the agency of the skills, knowledge and equipment Tennessee OSHA can provide in an emergency response.
In preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympics, Utah established a separate state agency with the responsibility of coordinating the state’s response to large-scale workplace emergencies. This agency, the Division of Emergency Services and Homeland Security, is part of the Department of Public Safety. The Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division supports this agency by making its resources available as needed.
Vermont OSHA (VOSHA) is a member of the SERC and a VOSHA staff member is attached to the ICS command structures as assistant to the safety officer. VOSHA continues to be an active participant in the monthly Homeland Security teleconferences.
Washington participated in the 2003 TOPOFF 2 exercise in Seattle, conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State. The exercise tested response by federal, state and local emergency responders to a simulated explosion containing radioactive material.
Washington’s program works with the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division, the agency that has primary responsibility for coordination and emergency contingency planning. Washington participated in a chemical stockpile emergency preparedness (CSEPP) exercise with the Emergency Management Division. The exercise included representatives from Oregon and FEMA. Washington representatives also work with other state agencies to address issues regarding the preparation and response to acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. Activities include discussion and incorporation of safety and health requirements for emergency responders, training, planning and attending scheduled emergency exercises.
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