OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

July 1, 1991


                   OFFICE OF FIELD PROGRAMS


SUBJECT:            Post Emergency Response Training Requirements

We have forwarded your concerns about state-plan states having extended training requirements to Barbara Bryant. As with most compliance directives, the Federal Program Change section of CPL 2-2.51 requires Regional Administrators to ensure state designees submit a plan supplement and either follow OSHA's policy described in the instruction or submit rationale for all substantial differences to allow OSHA to judge whether a different state procedure is as effective as comparable federal guidelines.

We contacted Alaska's state OSHA office and they reported that they have revised their 1910.120 training requirements to be in line with the federal requirements. They no longer require 80 hours of training.

Beach clean-ups crews on shore are typically involved in post emergency response activity. Any activity to contain the oil on the water prior to removing it would be part of the emergency response. Thus, you can have both clean-up and emergency response activity going on at the same time. Each new section of beach contaminated with oil may not necessarily require an "emergency response" and may be handled as a "post emergency response."

California has adopted the federal regulation and applies it in a similar manner to Federal OSHA in non-state plan states. We are not familiar with the basis of the Pacific Task Force's (USCG) assertion that it is OSHA's policy to require 24 hours of training for beach cleanup crews. We have forwarded a request to Region IX for their consideration in this matter and have asked them to respond directly to you.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at (202) 523-8036.

March 22, 1991

                        Directorate of Compliance Programs

                        Office of Field Programs

FROM:                    BYRON R. CHADWICK 
                        Regional Administrator, VIII

SUBJECT:                 Regional Response Team Meeting

In response to your memo requesting feedback on OSHA's CPL 2-2.51, Inspection Guidelines for Post-Emergency Response Operations, under 29 CFR 1910.120, at a RRT meeting, we are providing the following information. During region VIII's recent RRT meeting, held in Denver, Colorado, 3/19 - 3/21/91, OSHA was given the opportunity to discuss our 1910.120 standard. The RRT participants response to this directive was overwhelmingly supportive.

However, a few questions/concerns were raised. Several concerns revolved around apparent inconsistencies in the application of this directive, particularly with State-plan OSHA states. At the recent oil spill scenario in California the Pacific Strike Force (USCG) indicated 24-hour training was required by OSHA for beach clean-up crews.

The USCG is confused and unhappy with Alaska's apparent initiation of an 80-hour training requirement for employees covered by OSHA's 1910.120 standard.

Some participants wanted further clarification between an initial emergency response and a post-emergency response with regard to an oil spill that flows further and further down a shore line. Is each new breach of a beach considered a "new" initial emergency response: Or is everything subsequent to the spill considered post-emergency response?