Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.120
• Status: Archived

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

December 17, 1984

Honorable Barney Frank
Chairman, Subcommittee on Manpower
and Housing Committee on Government
Operations
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

This is an update of our October 9 response to your letter of September 11 which asked about the progress and accomplishments of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in implementing OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.37 (December 30, 1983), "Technical Assistance and Enforcement Guidelines for Superfund and Other Hazardous Waste Site Activities."

As background to your request, I would like to mention that the current OSHA program was only decided upon after length discussions with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Emergency and Remedial Response (Superfund office). In April 1984, EPA's Superfund office distributed an internal memorandum to their affected offices, explaining the OSHA Instruction (CPL 2-2.37) and the applicable protocols to be followed when requesting OSHA assistance. We expect that there may be a call for an increased level of OSHA participation as EPA and other lead agencies become more aware of the procedures for requesting OSHA assistance.

The information provided below, and in the enclosures as noted, corresponds to each issue raised in your letter; your requests appear in boldface at the beginning of each section.

a. A status report on activity to date under each section of the OSHA Instruction. This should include data on State responses to this Federal directive; technical assistance, inspections, and enforcement action at Superfund sites; number of personnel trained at EPA's facility or elsewhere; and the amount of money reimbursed to OSHA by EPA.

Enclosure A is a list of those States with OSHA Section 18(b) State Plans, which have opted to cover Superfund sites in their States and also those which will not cover Superfund sites (Federal OSHA will cover Superfund sites in State-plan States which choose not to assume jurisdiction). The States, during the period of October 1, 1983, through September 30, 1984, have completed a total of five inspections at Superfund sites.

During the same period, Federal OSHA completed six inspections at Superfund sites. OSHA has also responded to three local requests from EPA for offsite technical assistance and one request for onsite technical assistance. In addition, OSHA has on a number of occasions, offered offsite technical assistance (e.g., via the telephone, meetings, speeches, etc.) to parties other than EPA, who have an interest in the safety and health of workers at both Superfund and non-Superfund sites. It is the Agency's general policy to offer such technical assistance whenever possible.

As of October 1984, 78 of OSHA's field staff and two National Office staff members have completed EPA's training course, "Hazardous Materials Incident Response Operations," given at the EPA facility in Edison, New Jersey. This training of OSHA staff will play a large part in assuring that OSHA is ready to respond to hazardous waste emergencies.

For the period October 1, 1983, through September 30, 1984, EPA has reimbursed OSHA for $18,276 in Superfund activities. While this amount is small in relation to total Superfund expenditures, it represents only the first year of OSHA's involvement in Superfund since CPL 2-2.37 was signed. In addition, the costs claimed by OSHA only involve costs for equipment needed and reimbursement for technical assistance by OSHA's Health Response Team. Costs associated with OSHA's enforcement/inspection actions are not reimbursed by EPA.

b. A report on the number of inspections, enforcement actions or complaints pertaining to non-Superfund sites.

From a survey of the OSHA field offices, it was found that Federal OSHA enforcement activity for the period of October 1, 1983, through September 30, 1984, included 11 inspections at hazardous waste sites which were not on the EPA's National Priority List of Superfund sites.

For FY 1984, the State-plan States conducted a total of 10 inspections and one technical assistance visit at hazardous waste sites other than those classified as Superfund sites.

OSHA recognizes that hazardous waste sites are likely to demand careful attention by this Agency. To assist OSHA in determining whether these sites merit special attention, in September 1984, OSHA's Region X initiated a local emphasis program for (non- Superfund) hazardous waste sites. Each company that has been identified by EPA as a "permit applicant" for the treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste will be targeted by the Idaho Area Office for a programmed safety and health inspection. The Agency plans to evaluate this emphasis program for possible use by other Agency offices (e.g., OSHA-wide targeting of hazardous waste sites).

c. Information about OSHA's activities on behalf of worker health and safety at hazardous waste sites owned or operated by the Federal government.

For the period October 1, 1983, through September 30, 1984, OSHA has had no requests from Federal agencies for assistance, nor have we received any complaints from Federal workers involved in the cleanup of hazardous waste.

d. Copies of any Memoranda of Understanding or other interagency agreements on this problem between OSHA and EPA, NIOSH, etc.

Enclosure B is a copy of the December 18, 1980, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreed to by NIOSH, OSHA, the Coast Guard and the EPA on "Guidance for Worker Protection During Hazardous Waste Site Investigations and Clean up and Hazardous Substance Emergencies." This MOU established an Interagency Work Group which consists of at least one representative from each of the four Agencies involved.

On December 10, 1982, these Agencies, in fulfillment of a requirement under section 301(f) of Superfund to study the problem of health and safety protection for employees involved in hazardous substance response actions, made formal recommendations to EPA's Office of Emergency and Remedial Response (the EPA Superfund office). Among these was the recommendation that the full scope of OSHA safety and health regulations be applied to hazardous substance response activities "...in a manner similar to the way in which OSHA applies its regulations to other more conventional industrial situations...."

In 1982, this MOU Work Group also published a document known as the "Worker Bulletin," to provide workers involved in hazardous waste response operations with some general information about the hazards they might expect to encounter at waste sites and during emergency response, and some of the precautions that can be taken. A copy of this document is enclosed for your information.

Since 1982, the Work Group has been developing a more comprehensive technical manual of safety and health information for hazardous waste response operations. This guidance document is in its final stages of preparation.

e. The amount of money requested in the budget submitted to EPA and the amount allocated to OSHA for each year of the Superfund program.

The figures for fiscal years 1984 through 1986 are as follows:

                              FY 1984     FY 1985     FY 1986

           Requested          $151,600    $222,400    $296,700 
           Allocated          $151,600    $222,400        * 
           Reimbursed         $ 18,276**      *           *      


            * Figures unavailable at this time.
           ** This figure does not include costs to OSHA for enforcement
              actions or support activities.
I hope this information will be of use to you. If you need further assistance, please let me know.

Sincerely,



Robert A. Rowland
Assistant Secretary

Enclosures



September 11, 1984

The Honorable Robert A. Rowland
Assistant Secretary Occupational
Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Rowland:

The Government Operations Subcommittee on Manpower and Housing is concerned about protection of the health and safety of workers performing clean-up at hazardous waste sites. Specifically, we seek information pertaining to the progress and accomplishments of OSHA in implementing OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.37, dated, December 30, 1983, "Technical Assistance and Enforcement Guidelines for Superfund and Other Hazardous Waste Site Activities."

Please furnish the Subcommittee with the following information:

a. A status report on activity to date under each section of the OSHA Instruction. This should include data on State responses to this Federal directive; technical assistance, inspections, and enforcement actions at Superfund sites; number of personnel trained at EPA's facility or elsewhere; and the amount of money reimbursed to OSHA by EPA.

b. A report on the number of inspections, enforcement actions, or complaints pertaining to non-Superfund sites.

c. Information about OSHA's activities on behalf of worker health and safety at hazardous waste sites owned or operated by the Federal government.

d. Copies of any Memoranda of Understanding or other interagency agreements on this program between OSHA and EPA, NIOSH, etc.

e. The amount of money requested in the budget submitted to EPA and the amount allocated to OSHA for each year of the Superfund program.

In addition, please feel free to comment on any aspects of the problem which you wish to bring to the Subcommittee's attention.

If you have questions in connection with this request, please contact Ms. Joy Simonson of the Subcommittee staff at 225-6751.

Your cooperation on this inquiry will be appreciated.



BARNEY FRANK
Chairman
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
House of Representatives
Manpower and Housing
Subcommittee of the Committee
on Government Operations
Rayburn House Office Bldg.,
Room B-349-A
Washington, D.C. 20515


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents