The information and recommendations in this fact sheet may change
oil response and cleanup work continues.
This fact sheet will be revised as needed so make sure you have the latest version.
August 23, 2010
What Is This Job?
Workers use high-pressure water spray (more than 3,000 pounds per square inch, or PSI) to clean oily booms, equipment, and other surfaces. The oil is pushed into retaining areas where it can be collected in tanks.
What Dangers Has OSHA Found For This Task?
OSHA has closely watched workers doing oil spill work and has run tests to see if there are harmful substances in the air. The major risks that OSHA has found for this task are:
Other hazards to be aware of include:
What Must My Employer Do To Protect Me?
Employers must provide their workers with a safe workplace. You should report any unsafe working conditions to your supervisor or safety coordinator right away. If you are injured or feel sick, notify your supervisor immediately. For the ongoing oil response and cleanup operations, your employer must have a site safety plan for where you work and share it with you. The plan MUST include:
Your employer must provide you the safety clothing and equipment you need to do your job safely and replace it if it wears out.
What Training Do I Need To Do This Job Safely?
Workers doing this task must take a 4-hour class on Shoreline Spilled Oil Response (Module 3). Supervisors must have additional hazardous waste operations training.
What Work Practices Do I Need To Use?
What Safety Clothing and Equipment Must My Employer Provide (free of cost)?
|If you are doing this job, then you need:|
|Impervious suit for extended oil contact||Coveralls that prevent oil from touching skin or soaking through normal clothing.|
|Sun hat and sun screen|
|Safety goggles||Goggles cover the eyes and nearby skin and protect against dust, splashes, impact and flying objects. Only required if your supervisor tells you they are necessary.|
|Face shield||Face shields are worn over goggles to provide extra protection from splashes and sprays. Only required if your supervisor tells you they are necessary.|
|PVC (polyvinyl chloride, plastic coating) heavy general-duty use gloves||For heavy use, thicker PVC gloves (26-40 milliliters) prevent oil, grease and other petroleum products from touching your skin.|
|Steel toed protective shoes/boots||Steel toed shoes and boots protect your feet from being crushed or being cut by sharp objects.|
|Rubber boots||Rubber boots or boot covers, also sometimes "Chicken Boots", keep oil or other liquids from touching your skin or shoes.|
|Hearing protection -- ear plugs and muffs are worn together for this task||Ear plugs or ear muffs protect your hearing from harmful levels of noise. Plugs are worn in the ear, while muffs cover the whole ear. Ear plugs and muffs must be worn together to give enough protection from the noise during this job.|
|You may also need the following equipment if your specific job or work site requires them. Your supervisor will tell you if you need this equipment.|
|Hard hat||Hard hats prevent injuries from falling objects or bumping your head. Only required when there are overhead or other objects on which you might bump your head.|
|Hi-visibility garment||Wearing High-Visibility Garments helps make sure that workers are seen by heavy equipment operators and motorists. Only required when working around heavy equipment and UTVs.|
|PFD||A Personal Floatation Device (PFD) protects against drowning. Only required when working on docks, vessels, and if entering the water or surf.|
Do I Need To Wear A Respirator?
OSHA sampling data indicates that using high pressure water on oily booms, equipment, and other surfaces could create oil mist and other chemicals in the air. Because of the way that this task is done, you cannot completely control the level oil of mist and other chemicals by using only the work practices listed and natural ventilation. For these reasons, medium and high pressure washing operations MUST be continually monitored so that your supervisor or safety coordinator can tell you when additional protective equipment, including a respirator, is needed.
The correct respirator for this operation must be at least a P100 DISPOSABLE FILTERING FACE PIECE shown in the picture below:
BEFORE you can use a respirator, your employer MUST train you in the proper use of this equipment, and make sure a medical professional says you are physically able to wear a respirator.
How Can OSHA Help Me if My Employer Puts Me at Risk or Does Not Provide Me With the Equipment and Training I Need?
All workers involved in the oil spill response and cleanup have the right to a safe workplace just as they would in any other job. Contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) if you think you job is unsafe, if you have questions about safety and health or if you have symptoms and want to report them. OSHA keeps your information confidential. You may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect your workplace if you believe that your employer is not following OSHA standards or there are serious hazards.
OSHA Protection From Discrimination If You Raise Safety And Health Concerns
You may also file a complaint if you believe you were fired or in any way retaliated against for raising safety concerns to an employer or for participating in safety and health activities. OSHA protects workers who complain to their employer, OSHA or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthful working conditions in the workplace or environmental problems. You cannot be transferred, denied a raise, have your hours reduced, be fired, or punished in any other way because you used any right afforded to you under the OSHA Act.
If you have been punished or discriminated against for using your rights, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged reprisal for most complaints. No form is required, but you must send a letter or call your local Area Office to report the discrimination (within 30 days of the alleged discrimination). You can also call the 1-800 321 -0SHA (6742) and they will connect you to your area office.
This is one in a series of informational fact sheets highlighting OSHA programs, policies or standards. It does not impose any new compliance requirements. For a comprehensive list of compliance requirements of OSHA standards or regulations, refer to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. The voice phone is (202) 693-1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: (877) 889-5627.
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