For cleanup operations, OSHA's Hazardous
Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard
(29 CFR 1910.120) requires a written
health and safety plan (HASP), which identifies site hazards and
appropriate controls to protect employee health and safety. The
elements addressed below meet or exceed the intent of a
site-specific HASP as described in the standard, 1910.120(b)(4):
Due to overlap of some of the elements, it
may be useful to expand the HASP to include those elements necessary
to protect the local community and environment (for example,
disposal of waste from decontamination, monitoring community
exposures to fumigants).
organizational structure part of the program shall establish the
specific chain of command and specify the overall responsibilities
of supervisors and employees. It shall include, at a minimum, the
The organizational structure shall be
reviewed and updated as necessary to reflect the current status of
waste site operations. It is necessary to organize and assign
personnel roles, responsibilities, lines of authority, and
communication before an anthrax-related event to ensure an efficient
and safe response.
- A general supervisor who has the responsibility and authority
to direct all hazardous waste operations.
- A site safety and health supervisor who has the responsibility
and authority to develop and implement the HASP and verify
- All other personnel needed for hazardous waste site operations
and emergency response and their general functions and
- The lines of authority, responsibility, and communication.
For more detailed information regarding specific roles associated
with an emergency response, go to the Anthrax
eTool Training page.
Characterization and Job Hazard
HASP requires a characterization of the site-specific job hazards,
- Location and approximate size of the site,
- Description of the response activity and the job task to
- Duration of the planned employee activity,
The following links provide additional
information regarding site characterization and job hazard analysis:
- Site topography and accessibility by air and roads,
- Safety and health hazards expected at the site (for example,
chemical, physical, biological hazards),
- Pathways for hazardous substance spread, and
- Present status and capabilities of emergency response teams
that would provide assistance to hazardous waste cleanup site
employees at the time of an emergency.
In the event of an
anthrax release, it is necessary to control site access in
order to prevent exposure and spread of the anthrax spores.
Suggested site controls include:
As outlined in the HAZWOPER
(29 CFR 1910.120), a site control
program for protecting employees should be part of the employer's
HASP and should include, at a minimum, the following:
- Evacuate and secure the area,
- Turn off fans and air handling systems, if possible, and
- Notify personnel about the potential hazard and to not
access the area. The impacted area should only be accessed
by those trained and informed about the release.
- Site map,
- Site work zones,
- Use of a "buddy system,"
- Site communications including alerting means for emergencies,
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or safe work practices,
- Identification of the nearest medical assistance.
site-specific training program ensures that workers receive the
hazard awareness training they need to work safely. Training should
be based on the job hazard analysis in the HASP and other applicable
standards. Anthrax-specific hazard
awareness training should help workers understand the health
hazards of anthrax and how to protect themselves from exposure
to spores. Specific topics might include:
49 CFR Part 172, Subpart H provides
additional training requirements for workers preparing contaminated
materials or other hazardous materials for transport. For the most
current version of 49 CFR, visit the: Code
of Federal Regulations website.
- How workers might be exposed to spores, the signs and symptoms
of infection, and medical conditions that could place
them at increased risk (such as a compromised immune
- Where contamination has been identified in the facility,
and the status of decontamination
of those areas, and
- How to minimize the risk of disease through specific
standard operating procedures and controls (such as
engineering controls, work practices, housekeeping, or PPE),
and whether specific measures are expected to be temporary
Additional training information is provided on the Anthrax
eTool Training page.
The purpose of medical
surveillance in the workplace is to improve the effectiveness
of the occupational health and safety program by
systematically collecting and analyzing information that
pertains to at-risk workers.
Medical screening is the use of examinations or tests to
detect adverse effects on a worker's health at an early stage
when prevention is possible or treatment is most effective.
Further information about Medical
Surveillance may be found at the following websites:
- Baseline medical screening should
identify pre-existing conditions that may affect an
individual worker's fitness for duty.
- When it is no longer necessary for a worker to re-enter
a contaminated site, a final evaluation
should be done to identify changes from the
baseline and any new risk factors.
protective equipment (PPE) shields or isolates workers
from health and safety hazards in the workplace. In a
site where anthrax spores may be present, PPE protects workers
from exposure to respiratory and skin hazards and prevents the
spread of contaminants to uncontaminated areas. The level and
type of PPE should be based on the job hazard analysis in the
HASP. Workers should be trained on the location, type,
and proper use of the PPE.
Further information about PPE may be found at the following
exposure monitoring, the HASP should include the following three
- Medical measures to prevent anthrax,
- Medical screening and follow-up care for anthrax and medical
complications related to preventive measures, and
- Knowledge and information that workers need to prevent anthrax
and medical complications related to preventive measures.
Stress: Temperature extremes can adversely affect worker
health and safety. Heat stress can be experienced by workers due to
hot ambient temperatures. In addition, the use of PPE, especially in
excess, can increase the chance a worker will experience heat
stress. The four main types of heat stress are listed below:
Cold stress can be experienced by workers when they are exposed to a
cold environment. The two main types of cold stress are listed
Rash: Caused by continuous exposure to heat and
humid air and aggravated by chafing clothing. Decreases
ability to tolerate heat, as well as being a nuisance.
- Heat Cramps: Caused by
profuse perspiration with inadequate fluid intake and
chemical replacement. Signs are muscle spasms and pain in
the extremities and abdomen.
- Heat Exhaustion: Caused
by increased stress on various organs to meet increased
demands to cool the body. Signs are shallow breathing; pale,
cool, moist skin; profuse sweating; and dizziness and
physical or mental exhaustion.
- Heat Stroke: The most
severe form of heat stress. Body must be cooled immediately
to prevent severe injury and/or death. Signs are red, hot,
dry skin; no perspiration; nausea; dizziness and confusion;
strong, rapid pulse; coma. Medical help must be obtained
- Frostbite: Local injury resulting
from cold is included in the generic term frostbite. There are
several degrees of damage. Frostbite of the extremities can be
- Frost nip or incident frostbite -
the condition is characterized by sudden blanching or whitening
- Superficial frostbite -
skin has a waxy or white appearance and is firm to the touch,
but tissue beneath is resilient.
- Deep frostbite - tissues
are cold, pale and solid; extremely serious injury.
- Hypothermia: There are degrees of
hypothermia which are characterized as "moderate" and
"severe." A victim of moderate hypothermia exhibiting
the first seven signs listed below is still conscious but often
confused. Severe hypothermia is determined by extreme skin
coldness, loss of consciousness, faint pulse, and shallow,
infrequent, or apparently absent respiration. Death is the
- Severe shivering
- Abnormal behavior
- Inability to walk
prevent further spread of the anthrax spores:
- Evacuate and secure the area.
- Turn off the air handling systems, if possible.
- Notify personnel to stay away from the site. Only those
trained and informed about the release should access the
Cleaning an area or item
contaminated by anthrax involves numerous and variable issues
that are specific to individual locations. No single
technology, process, or strategy will be effective in every
case. Responders must develop a decontamination
plan that takes into account the:
The extent of contamination and how the contamination was spread are
critical considerations in isolating affected areas and selecting
appropriate decontamination technologies.
- Nature of the contamination.
- Extent of the contamination.
- Objectives of decontamination.
the agencies below. Keep the contact numbers easily
An emergency response protocol should be contained in the HASP for
site personnel to follow while waiting and preparing for the
notified agencies to arrive, initial actions should focus on the
- Call 9-1-1 for local police
assistance and the local Federal Bureau of Investigations
- Call the National Response Center
(NRC) at (800)424-8802. The NRC will notify
the appropriate agencies.
- Isolate contaminated areas,
- Minimize exposure to others, and
- Keep track of those who may have been exposed.