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.

April 16, 1993

Duane F. Rands
Safety Engineer
Chevron U.S.A.
Production Company
935 Gravier Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

Dear Mr. Rands:

Thank you for your letter of December 2, 1992, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120. According to our telephone conversations with you, your questions request clarification on the training requirements for emergency and post-emergency response to marine-based oil spills. We apologize for the delay in this response.

The standard states in paragraph (a)(3) under the definition of "post emergency response:"

"that portion of an emergency response performed after the immediate threat of a release has been stabilized or eliminated and clean-up of the site has begun. If post emergency response is performed by an employer's own employees who were part of the initial emergency response, it is considered to be part of the initial response and not post emergency response."

It is acceptable for trained emergency responders to conduct clean-up operations as part of the emergency response and under the direction of the on-scene Incident Commander. In your letter you proposed that trained hazardous materials technicians with a minimum of 24 hours of training in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.l20(q)(6)(iii) be used to clean up spills. This is permissible if the clean-up is conducted as part of the emergency response. In addition, this approach is only acceptable if the clean-up is performed by your own employees who were part of the initial emergency response, and if the clean-up continues under the direction of the Incident Commander.

Paragraph (q)(6) of the standard requires that all employees be adequately trained to perform their assigned job duties in a safe and healthful manner. Thus initial and refresher training for these emergency response workers must include all knowledge and skills necessary to safely perform the specific clean-up procedures assigned to them.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact us at (202) 219-8036.


Ruth McCully, Director
Office of Health Compliance Assistance