News Release USDL 98-163
Tuesday, April 21, 1998
Contact: Frank Kane (202) 219-8151
OSHA STRENGTHENS JOB PROTECTIONS
FOR BATTLING HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE EMERGENCIES
Workers and firefighters battling emergencies
involving hazardous substances -- such as fires,
explosions or chemical releases -- will be better
protected, thanks to new safeguards from the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The new protection includes strengthened workplace
requirements for emergency planning and coordination
with local fire departments and a revised training
course on emergency response for federal and
"Preparation and training are vital to saving
human lives when hazardous emergencies occur,"
said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "
A fire or explosion is no time to find out that
an emergency plan is not in place or is inadequate
to meet the needs of a crisis situation. That is
why we are strengthening protections for both
workers and the firefighters on whom they often
The new directive incorporates and clarifies
agency policy originally issued in an Oct. 30,
1996, memorandum involving employer compliance
with OSHA standards for hazardous waste and
emergency response operations and employee
emergency and fire prevention plans.
That memorandum resulted from an April 1995 fire
and explosion at Napp Technologies, Inc., a
chemical plant in Lodi, N.J., in which five
workers -- all emergency responders -- were
killed. OSHA found that the fire department
had not been notified prior to the evacuation
of the plant for a chemical emergency and that
some of the company's emergency responders,
including those who died, were inadequately
trained and equipped.
The new directive requires OSHA compliance officers
inspecting a private sector facility for compliance
with hazardous waste and emergency response
conditions to contact the local fire department
to determine whether the employer has notified
them concerning the company's emergency response
plan. This includes coordinating the circumstances
or conditions under which outside responders will
provide emergency response to the site or facility.
Without adequate coordination, fire departments
and other emergency responders may not be trained
and equipped to carry out the role that an employer
might need in an emergency.
The directive requires a minimum of two backup
personnel outside any hazardous area during an
emergency response. The revised OSHA respiratory
protection standard issued in January 1998 also
requires two backup personnel.
Detailed guidelines to determine the adequacy
of the employer's plans for handling an emergency
are included in the directive.
The directive is CPL 2-2.59A titled,"Inspection
Procedures for the Hazardous Waste Operations
and Emergency Response Standard, 29 CFR 1910.120,
Paragraph (q): Emergency Response to Hazardous
Substance Releases." It is available on the
Internet through OSHA's home page(http://www.osha.gov)
by going to "Other Documents" and then "Directives."
Paper copies are available through the OSHA
Publications Office at (202) 219-4667 or fax:
OSHA is offering a revised four-day training
course on emergency response to hazardous
substance releases that will emphasize points
made in the directive. It will be available
for OSHA compliance officers, consultation program
consultants, and representatives of other federal
agencies such as the Environmental Protection
Agency. The course is being offered at the OSHA
Training Institute in Des Plaines, Ill. phone: