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OSHA Activities during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Current Training Requirements for the Gulf Oil Spill [July 21, 2010]

Training Is Required for All Workers Involved in the Gulf Oil Spill Response

To work in the cleanup, you must be trained on the hazards of your job in a language that you understand. You must be trained before you begin oil spill response and cleanup work. Your employer must determine the type and length of training you will need. Training is based on your job duties and the job's hazards. OSHA is monitoring BP to make sure that their site training meets OSHA requirements.

NOTE: At this time, BP has stated that you must be hired by a BP contractor before you attend training. Taking a class without already having a job does not guarantee that you will get a job later.

As the employer, BP requires that you get the training from a trainer that BP has hired: PEC, Parsons, or O'Brien. After you finish the training, you will get a yellow card that states your level of training. This is the only training card that will get you on to a BP work site.

See also, the Official Site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command RestoreTheGulf.gov

Oil spill images

Former Labor Secretary, Hilda L. Solis, and OSHA Assistant Secretary, David Michaels, met with beach cleanup workers in Port Fourchon and discussed worker safety efforts with OSHA staff in Houma, La.

Onshore Cleanup

For onshore work, BP has stated that you must be hired by a BP contractor before you attend training. Taking a class without already having a job does not guarantee that you will get a job later. You must receive site training from the BP contractor hired to provide training for shoreline cleanup: PEC. The training is provided for free. Information about the training is available at 866-647-2338 and at www.pecpremier.com. After you successfully complete the class, you will receive an identification card as proof of your training.

Volunteers should be protected as well. For information, call the BP Hotline at 866-448-5816.

If you are: You must receive:
Doing work that does NOT involve materials contaminated by the spill 45 minutes of site training [Module 2 or equivalent Site Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Orientation or equivalent]
Doing work picking up tar balls and other oil-contaminated debris on beaches and along the shoreline 4 hours of site training [Module 3 – Shoreline Spilled Oil Response] NOTE: These workers will be supervised by someone with 40 hours of hazardous waste operations training.
Doing work at decontamination areas, handling or cleaning oily boom and equipment, or using vacuum trucks and portable skimmers to clean up weathered oil along the shoreline 45 minutes of site training [Module 2 or equivalent Site Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Orientation] and 40 hours of hazardous waste operations training. NOTE: These workers will be supervised by someone with 40 hours of hazardous waste operations training. BP is not providing the 40-hour hazardous waste operations training.

Marine Vessels and Vessels of Opportunity (VOO)

To work on a marine vessel and a vessel of opportunity, you must receive training from the BP contractors hired to provide training for vessels: Parsons or O'Brien. This training is also provided for free and is given only to crews that have been called up and hired by BP or a BP contractor. After you successfully complete the class, you will receive an identification card as proof of your training.

If you are: You must receive:
A captain or crewman working on a VOO involved in defensive booming, moving work crews around, or providing other types of support 4 hours of training [Module 3 – Marine Spilled Oil Response]
A captain or crewman working on a VOO involved in skimming, oiled boom, or controlled burns 8 hours of training* [Module 3 – Marine Spilled Oil Response and Module 4 – Marine Vessel Health and Safety] NOTE: These workers will be supervised by someone with 40 hours of hazardous waste operations training.
Doing work on a marine vessel involved in environmental sampling near the source of the release 45 minutes of site training [Module 2 or equivalent Site Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Orientation] and 24 hours of hazardous waste operations training. NOTE: These workers will be supervised by someone with 40 hours of hazardous waste operations training.
Doing work on a marine vessel involved in other operations near the source of the release 45 minutes of site training [Module 2 or equivalent Site Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Orientation] and 40 hours of hazardous waste operations training. NOTE: These workers will be supervised by someone with 40 hours of hazardous waste operations training and 8 hours of Supervisory training. BP is not providing the 40-hour hazardous waste operations training.

* If you have already taken the 4-hour “Module 3 – Marine Spilled Oil Response,” you will only need to take the additional 4-hour “Module 4 – Marine Health and Safety” class. BP is making plans now to provide this class to you in the very near future.

Supervisors

To supervise shoreline cleanup crews, VOOs, and other marine vessels doing work that involves weathered oil, you need to have completed a more rigorous 40-hour hazardous waste operations (HAZWOPER) course that is followed by several days of supervised field experience. BP is not providing this training. The 40-hour HAZWOPER training must include a combination of classroom and hands-on training. Computer-based training can be used as part of the training program, but alone does not meet OSHA's requirements. Training covers topics like the makeup and risks associated with the hazardous material(s) involved, hands-on work with the equipment needed for the work, and the local environment. OSHA also recommends that there be at least 1 trainer for every 30 students in the class.

If you are: You must receive:
Supervising any onshore operations and VOO operations involving weathered oil 40-hour HAZWOPER training and 45 minutes of site training [Module 2 or equivalent Site Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Orientation]
Supervising a marine vessel working near the source of the release OR Supervising a marine vessel with potential contact with fresh oil 40-hour HAZWOPER training and 8 additional hours of supervisor training and 45 minutes of site training [Module 2 – Site Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Orientation (includes Basic Health & Safety Orientation)]

BEWARE: OSHA has received reports that some trainers are offering the 40-hour HAZWOPER training in significantly less than 40 hours, showing video presentations and offering only limited instruction. Training cannot be shortened to anything less than 40 hours or it will not meet OSHA's requirements. And, as noted, training must include both classroom and hands-on instruction - videos and computer based training alone cannot be used to meet OSHA's 40-hour classroom training requirements or the additional days of supervised field experience. Be sure a class meets OSHA requirements BEFORE paying for it. In addition to the quality of the training, OSHA has received reports of trainers not giving workers their certificates after they finish the class. If you have a problem getting your certificate, contact your local OSHA Area Office for additional information. Read Assistant Secretary David Michaels' statement warning employers against withholding HAZWOPER training certificates.

What Should You Do if You Have Questions about Finding a Shoreline Cleanup Job?

Contact the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) Toll-Free Help Line (1-877-872-5627; TTY: 1-877-889-5627) or visit the USDOL/ETA website at www.careeronestop.org. The Toll-Free Help Line provides information about the locations of the nearest One Stop Career Centers and other related offices, including unemployment insurance assistance. The USDOL/ETA Toll-Free Help Line is staffed by English and Spanish speakers and translation services are in place so that information is currently available in over 180 languages.

How Can OSHA Help Me if My Employer Does Not Provide Me with the 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 your job is unsafe, if you have questions about safety and health or the training you need, 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 Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

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 1-800-321-0SHA (6742), and they will connect you to your Area Office.

Worker Rights

You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires that employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. OSHA sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to workers and employers. Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or there are serious hazards. Contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) if you have questions or want to file a complaint. We will keep your information confidential. We are here to help you.

Oil Spill Training Materials

OSHA's top priority is to ensure that oil spill response and cleanup operations are done as safely, effectively and efficiently as possible. This fact sheet provides basic information about training. If you are unsure or think your work is unsafe, STOP and ASK your supervisor. You can call OSHA at one of its gulf coast Area Offices during normal working hours or at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or TTY 1-877-889-5627 for further information.

  • OSHA - Florida
  • Ft. Lauderdale 954-424-0242
  • Jacksonville 904-232-2895
  • Tampa 813-626-1177
  • OSHA - Louisiana
  • Baton Rouge 225-298-5458
  • OSHA - Mississippi
  • Jackson 601-965-4606
  • OSHA -Alabama
  • Mobile 251-441-6131
  • OSHA -Texas
  • Corpus Christi 361-888-3420
  • Houston North 281-591-2438
  • Houston South 281-286-0583
  • BP Hotlines
  • Volunteers: 866-448-5816
  • Vessels of Opportunity Program (skimming operations): 281-366-5511

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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