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National News Release: USDL 05-1736-NAT
September 15, 2005
Contact: Pamela Groover or Al Belsky
Phone: (202) 693-4676      693-1999


OSHA Tapped as Federal Safety Coordinator for Worker Safety and Health During Hurricane Katrina Recovery Operations
Activated Under National Response Plan

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao today announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is coordinating technical support for federal responder and federal contractor safety and health during cleanup and recovery operations along the Gulf Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently activated the Worker Safety and Health Support Annex under the National Response Plan (NRP).

"With the vast number of workers involved in the cleanup, recovery and rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast, it is important to ensure that workers are operating safely to prevent unnecessary injuries," said Secretary Chao. "The safety and health of those working to rebuild the communities in the devastated regions is one of our highest priorities."

The response and recovery of Hurricane Katrina was previously designated as an Incident of National Significance under the NRP by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

OSHA is working with other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and DHS, in various tasks, including providing additional OSHA staff to joint field offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La., as well as in Mississippi and Alabama. OSHA is developing an overall worker safety and health strategy that addresses safety and health issues for federal responders and federal contractors involved in response and recovery operations. The agency is also developing an exposure and occupationally-based matrix of worker protection requirements, focusing on worker activities necessary for the safe response and recovery now and in the future.

As needed, Annex activities will include the monitoring of incident safety and health throughout the operation, coordinating incident-specific responder training and taking responder/worker exposure monitoring for chemical and biological contaminants and physical stressors, including noise and heat. In coordination with Annex cooperative agencies, OSHA will also develop, implement and monitor an incident personal protective equipment program (PPE), including the selection, use and decontamination of PPE.

"The Worker Safety and Health Support Annex provides a high level of protection for organizations involved in nationally significant events, and we are confident that OSHA is making a positive impact on the lives of responders and workers throughout these operations, " said Jonathan L. Snare, deputy assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.

Safety and health information pertinent to Hurricane Katrina is available on OSHA's Web site via the hurricane recovery page.


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This news release text is on the Internet at www.osha.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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