- Standard Number:
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.
August 5, 1993
Mr. Edward E. Hartin
Vice-President of Operations
HAZMAT Training Information
9017 Red Branch Road
Columbia, Maryland 21045
Dear Mr. Hartin:
This is in response to your inquiry of March 22, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120. We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.
The employees of your oil production company are trained to meet the competencies listed in the Hazard Communication Standard, Employee Emergency Plans and Fire Prevention Plans Standard, Respiratory Protection Standard, HAZWOPER emergency response, and have additional training in the hazards of hydrogen sulfide. On site employees are trained to respond to and control releases of oil, and when the emergency is over request assistance from employees outside of the facility who are equivalently trained. The questions you raise regarding the post-emergency response and medical surveillance requirements of HAZWOPER are answered below.
Question #1: Is the training that additional personnel (company employees [from another facility]) have sufficient enough to allow them to participate in post-emergency response clean-up?
At the heart of your questions you seem to be asking whether an emergency responder can perform post-emergency response clean-up operations. The HAZWOPER standard allows emergency responders, trained in 1910.120(q)(6), who took part in the initial emergency response to continue working through the clean-up operation. Employees who do not work at the facility where the release occurred, and who arrive after the emergency is declared to be over, must be trained in accordance with 1910.120(e).
Response personnel with the training you describe who arrive from outside of the facility may be sufficiently trained to engage in post-emergency response clean-up operations, even if they had not participated in the initial emergency response. Employers must first ensure that employees trained as emergency responders in 1910.120(q) also meet the competencies listed in 1910.120(e)(2). Employers may find that they need to provide some additional training to bring HAZMAT Technicians into compliance with the standard, such as informing these employees of the names of personnel responsible for site safety and health.
As you are aware, the employees who work "on plant property," i.e. at the facility, only need to meet the training requirements listed in 1910.120(q)(11)(ii). The training requirements for these employees are relaxed because the people who work at the facility regularly are familiar with the hazards of substances that they work with, know how and where to evacuate, and can perform other standard operating procedures unique to the facility.
Question #2: Do all post-emergency response participants require medical surveillance?
No. Subparagraph (q)(9) requires that "members of an organized and designated HAZMAT team and hazardous materials specialists shall receive a baseline physical examination and be provided with medical surveillance as required in paragraph (f) of this section." Additionally, any emergency response employees who exhibit signs or symptoms which may have resulted from exposure to hazardous substances during the course of an emergency incident must be provided with medical consultation.
Post-emergency responders to oil spills who are covered by paragraph (f) may be more difficult to assess medically. Some petroleum "fractions" become relatively benign while others may continually pose a health threat. The employer's medical program should address the points covered in paragraph (f), taking into account the health hazards that employees will encounter. Subparagraph (f)(2)(ii) requires that all employees who wear a respirator for 30 days or more a year, or as required by 29 CFR 1910.134, shall be included in the medical surveillance program. This would apply to any post-emergency responder who falls into this category.
Question #3: Is the training that the additional response personnel (i.e., company personnel not part of the original response) have sufficient enough to allow them to participate in the post-emergency clean-up?
All employees who respond to a release of a hazardous substance that is not on plant property must be trained in accordance with 1910.120(q)(6) to respond to the initial emergency, and in accordance with 1910.120(e) to perform post-emergency response clean-up. See the answer to question #1.
Question #4: Do all post-emergency response participants require medical surveillance?
No. Please refer to question #2. The medical surveillance requirements for post-emergency response personnel in Example B are identical to those in Example A.
Question #5: Is the training that the additional response personnel (company employees) have sufficient enough to allow them to participate in the post-emergency clean-up?
Petroleum products are covered by OSHA as "hazardous substance" in the scope of 29 1910.120(a)(3). Even though the toxicity and flammability of petroleum products are reduced after the first few hours of a spill into water or soil, it is still considered a hazardous substance, or a hazardous waste.
OSHA issued a compliance directive, OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.51, regarding the post-emergency response clean-up of low-hazard hazardous waste (enclosed).
Question #6: Do all post-emergency response participants require medical surveillance?
No. Refer to the answer to question #2. The medical surveillance requirements for post-emergency response participants in Example C are identical to those in examples A and B. However, if there is no inhalation hazard, there would not be any need for the employees to wear a respirator, so subparagraph (f)(2)(ii) would not apply in this example.
Question #7: Is a hazardous materials technician also considered a HAZMAT team member when everyone at the facility is trained to the 24-hour hazardous material technician level?
No. A hazardous materials technician would not necessarily be considered a HAZMAT team member when everyone at the facility is trained to the 24-hour hazardous material technician level. With respect to medical surveillance coverage, job duties and responsibilities determine whether an employee is a HAZMAT team member, not their job title. If the employer's emergency response plan (or intent) requires an employee to respond to emergency releases of hazardous substances as part of an organized "team" of responders, then that employee would be considered a member of a HAZMAT team.
The medical surveillance requirements for members of HAZMAT teams are intended to protect workers who respond to emergency releases as part of their job duties and responsibilities. A hazardous materials technician who is only expected to respond to incidental releases in his or her immediate work area would not be considered a member of a HAZMAT team.
Question #8: Are these hazardous materials technicians required to receive medical surveillance per the requirements of a HAZMAT team member?
A HAZMAT Technician would be required to receive medical surveillance if he or she fell into one or more of the following categories: (1) member of an organized HAZMAT team; (2) exposed to hazardous substances at levels above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) or other published exposure levels, without regard to the use of respirators for 30 days or more a year; or (3) wears a respirator for 30 days or more a year or as required by 1910.134. Additionally, any employee who is injured, becomes ill or develops signs or symptoms due to possible overexposure from an emergency response is required to receive medical consultation and treatment.
In Example D, the employer's emergency response plan must address worst-case release scenarios with standard operating procedures for responding to these releases. As stated above, if the job responsibilities of an employee require that he or she respond to a broad spectrum of releases throughout the facility as part of an organized "team", then the employee must be included in the medical surveillance program. The employee need not be specifically labeled as a "HAZMAT team member" to be covered by the medical surveillance requirements.
Question #9: If the employer has a designated HAZMAT team (example, a subset of the fire brigade), but also trains other employees to the 24-hour hazardous materials technician level, are these other employees subject to the medical surveillance requirements of a HAZMAT team member?
No. If the employer has a designated HAZMAT team that will be called in to respond to emergency releases of hazardous substances, then these employees would be covered by the medical surveillance requirements of the standard. Other hazardous materials technicians who would be asked to respond only to incidental releases in their immediate work area would not require medical surveillance.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8036.
Roger Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
Enclosure: CPL 2-2.51
March 24, 1993
Ms. Patricia Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance
Programs US DOL/OSHA
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Ms. Clark:
We have several questions regarding OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120 (HAZWOPER) on post-emergency response training requirements and the medical surveillance requirements for hazardous materials technicians (HMT) and post-emergency responders.
Logic would dictate that company employees that are trained to safely stop, contain, and control a hazardous substance should be able to clean up that substance regardless of the cleanup location, provided site/incident specific procedures are covered. Our review of the preamble and interpretive letters from OSHA indicates that the use of trained company emergency responders from company facilities other than the spill site for post-emergency clean-up is not clearly addressed. Consider the following examples:
- An oil production company has a number of separate gathering and treatment facilities.
- Each facility processes crude oil and, depending on their location, the crude oil may contain hydrogen sulfide.
- All employees in each facility have received identical training in the following areas:
o Hazard Communication 1910.1200;
o Emergency Training Under 1910.1200;
o Employee Emergency and Fire Prevention Plans 1910.38;
o Respirator Training for Self-Contained Breathing apparatus (SCBA) 1910.134;
o HAZWOPER 24-hour Hazardous Materials Technician 1910.120(q)(6)(iii);
o Additional Safety/Health Training Focusing on Hydrogen Sulfide
- A crude oil spill containing hydrogen sulfide occurs at one of the company sites.
- The on-site employees respond and stop, control and contain the release and, once the emergency is over, initiate clean-up.
- The facility supervisor realizes that additional assistance will be needed for the clean-up and requests help from another nearby company facility.
- These additional company employees (with the training indicated above) report to the spill site.
- Additional on-site training is given, which includes the following:
o site/incident specific health and safety orientation;
o a review of the facility's emergency procedures;
o a review of the site safety and health plan.
- On completion of the above, the additional company personnel assist the facility personnel in the post-emergency clean-up.
[Note: It should be understood that these "offsite"
employees are trained to respond to the same exact incident and perform the same work with the same material with the same precautions, PPE, etc., and would be considered workplace employees had the incident occurred at their work facility.]
1. Is the training that the additional response personnel (company employees) have sufficient enough to allow them to participate in the post-emergency clean-up?
2. Do all post-emergency response participants require medical surveillance?
- Same company operation and employee training is described in Example A.
- The spill is caused by a leak of crude oil containing hydrogen sulfide in a pipeline not on company property.
- HMT-trained company employees from the closest company facility respond, contain and control the leak and initiate clean-up.
- Other company employees, with identical training to the responders as described above, are called in to assist with the clean-up. These employees come from one or more company facilities as described above.
- Additional site/incident specific training as described in Example A is given.
3. Is the training that the additional response personnel (i.e., company personnel not part of the original response) have sufficient enough to allow them to participate in the post-emergency clean-up?
4. Do all post-emergency response participants require medical surveillance?
- Same setup and emergency scenarios as Examples A and B except the spilled crude oil did not contain hydrogen sulfide, and the clean up involved weathered crude with no inhalation hazard.
5. Is the training that the additional response personnel (company employees) have sufficient enough to allow them to participate in the post-emergency clean-up?
6. Do all post-emergency response participants require medical surveillance?
The definition of the duties of a hazardous materials technician and a HAZMAT team member appear similar, but a distinction is made for HAZMAT team members for medical surveillance. Consider the following example:
- An employer trains his employees to the 24-hour hazardous materials technician level in the event the employee needs to stop, prevent, or aggressively control and contain the release of a hazardous substance in his facility (but not necessarily in his immediate work area).
- The employer will not establish a separate, designated team to respond to releases.
7. Is a hazardous materials technician also considered a HAZMAT team member when everyone at the facility is trained to the 24-hour hazardous material technician level?
8. Are these hazardous materials technicians required to receive medical surveillance per the requirements of a HAZMAT team member?
9. If the employer has a designated HAZMAT team (example, a subset of the fire brigade), but also trains other employees to the 24-hour hazardous materials technician level, are these other employees subject to the medical surveillance requirements of a HAZMAT team member?
Your timely consideration and response to these questions is appreciated.
Edward E. Hartin
Vice President of Operations