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Tips for Managing Corporate Emergency Management Training Programs

Posted on Thu, Jun 12, 2014

The ability to schedule, communicate, develop, document, and deliver training is a critical aspect of your environmental, health, safety and emergency response program. Training familiarizes employees and responders with safety and emergency procedures, equipment, and systems, and can identify deficiencies and mitigation opportunities in emergency response planning programs.

Managing the administrative duties associated with training requirements can be time consuming and complex, particularly for large companies. With the multiple variables associated with training, many large companies implement a training and exercise management system. An emergency response planning system with a training component can ease the burdens of documentation, scheduling, and maintenance. Managing an enterprise-wide training program can be complicated by:

  • Multiple fluctuating certification/expiration dates
  • Diverse and varying scope of responder/employee responsibilities
  • Site-specific operations and response objectives
  • Maintaining company standards and best practice priorities
  • Regulatory compliance measures
  • Multiple facilities across several locations
  • Employee turnover

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Accurate and verifiable training documentation enables response plans and procedures to be implemented as intended. Training topics and specialized training includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hazard and risk assessment techniques
  • Selection criteria of proper personal protective equipment
  • Incident reporting
  • Instruction and procedures for using personal protective and emergency equipment
  • Evacuation and alarm procedures
  • Specific roles and responsibilities in according to response scenarios (i.e. fire, explosion, severe weather)
  • An understanding of the role of the first responder in an emergency (i.e.  First Responder Operations Level)
  • Basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources available
  • Relevant standard operating procedures and termination procedures
  • Principles of the Incident Command System

Training and exercise administrative requirements may be dictated by company policy, site operations, hazardous material response needs, or governmental agencies. In addition to yearly response plan reviews and scheduled updates; training documentation modifications may be required:

  • After each training drill or exercise
  • After each emergency
  • When personnel or response tasks change
  • When the layout or design of the facility changes
  • When policies or procedures change

Continual administrative duties associated with personnel training documentation may be timely or inadequately performed, jeopardizing regulatory compliance or the sustainability of an optimal emergency management program. Maximizing efficiency through advancements in technology can minimize administrative maintenance time. An enterprise-wide training and exercise management system can:

  • Improve regulatory compliance by comparing actual training dates to required training frequencies
  • Reduces costs by incorporating all training and exercise records and documentation into an existing database already being utilized for your emergency planning system.
  • Provide reporting tools to identify personnel requiring training, generate lists of completed training per person, and  document all training completed.
  • Automatically generate training agenda and certificates  for each scheduled training session
  • Simplify communication to attendees by generating emails regarding training requirement reminders, class agendas,
  • Initiate scheduled training requirement reminders to each facility. A comprehensive system will allow for developing a customized email message that will be automatically sent to a list of personnel for a selected time period (example monthly).

Technology has bolstered the availability and popularity of online training. However, depending on the certification, trainees often must complete corresponding classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. But regardless of the training format, employers must document certifications and verify site-specific response comprehension.

Companies should require annual site-specific training, and routinely implement unannounced emergency drills and scheduled response exercises. Annual refresher training should cover current industry and in-house emergency operating experience; changes in emergency operations plans, policies, procedures, and equipment; as well as, familiarize employees and responders with response procedures, equipment, and systems. Annual training events can be used as a trigger for discussions and feedback on the company’s emergency management program, drills, and exercises. These discussions often cultivate an environment of safety and preparedness, identify mitigation opportunities, and possibly, training deficiencies.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Training and Exercises, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program, Workplace Safety, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training, HSE Program

Advanced HAZWOPER Training Supports HAZMAT Responses

Posted on Mon, Aug 05, 2013

The intent of the OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response ) is to protect workers engaged in "Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard." (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)).  Employees who may be exposed to or respond to hazardous material emergencies are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to have specific HAZWOPER training.  

There are various OSHA training levels of HAZWOPER that are commensurate with the type of work and the potential involvement with hazardous materials. The HAZMAT technician and the HAZMAT specialist are to have significant knowledge of HAZMAT situations and can assist the incident commander in response assessments. Both the technician and specialist levels are required to initially complete, at a minimum, the 24-hour training HAZWOPER training. However, technician level responders vastly outnumber specialist level responders, and are the most frequent personnel in handling HAZMAT incidents.

Trained HAZMAT technicians are individuals who respond to releases or potential releases for the purpose of stopping the release. These individuals assume a more aggressive role than an operational level first responder in that they are trained to approach the point of release in order to plug, patch, or otherwise stop the release of a hazardous substance. HAZMAT technicians may not be classified as scientific experts; however, most have an understanding of chemistry that may range from basic to advanced.

The HAZMAT technicians must demonstrate competency in the following areas:

  • Implementation of the employer's emergency response plan.
  • Classification, identification and verification of known and unknown materials through the use of specialized equipment.
  • Functioning within an assigned role in the Incident Command System.
  • Selecting and using proper specialized chemical personal protective equipment provided to the hazardous materials technician.
  • Hazard and risk assessment techniques.
  • Performing advanced control, containment, and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources and personal protective equipment available with the unit.
  • Understanding and implementing decontamination procedures.
  • Understanding termination procedures.
  • Understanding basic chemical and toxicological terminology and behavior.

On average, HAZMAT technicians complete 40-hours of training. Certified technicians new to a site must receive appropriate, site-specific training before site entry and have appropriate supervised field experience at the new site. Equivalent training includes any academic training or the training that existing employees might have already received from actual hazardous waste site experience.

The HAZMAT specialist receives the highest level of HAZWOPER training. The specialist typically responds with and supports the duties of hazardous materials technicians. These individuals’ duties parallel those of the technician; yet require a greater knowledge of the various substances they may be called to contain. HAZMAT specialists often act as a site liaison with Federal, State, Local and other government authorities in regards to site activities.

The HAZMAT specialist must demonstrate competency in the following areas:

  • Implementation of their employer’s emergency response plan.
  • Classification, identification and verification of known and unknown materials by using advanced survey instruments and equipment.
  • Knowledge of the state emergency response plan.
  • Selecting and using proper specialized chemical personal protective equipment provided to the hazardous materials specialist.
  • Detailed hazard and risk assessment techniques.
  • Performing specialized control, containment, and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources and personal protective equipment available.
  • Implementing decontamination procedures.
  • Developing a site safety and control plan.
  • Understanding chemical, radiological and toxicological terminology and behavior.

The Specialist responder typically has an in-depth and highly advanced level of knowledge in chemistry, biology or some other discipline of science. According to FEMA the HAZMAT specialist is responsible for:

  • Providing ongoing monitoring of local environmental conditions during operations.
  • Providing an initial and ongoing survey for presence of hazardous materials at search and rescue sites.
  • Implementing defensive mitigation practices when indicated.
  • Directing emergency decontamination procedures for any task force member or victim.·
  • Providing assistance to medical personnel for  chemical exposure and injuries.
  • Documenting all related information.
  • Adhering to all safety procedures.
  • Accountability, maintenance, and minor repairs for all issued equipment.
  • Performing additional tasks or duties as assigned during a mission.
  • Ensuring MSDS are provided for all hazardous materials carried or used by the task force.
  • Ensuring all specialized equipment is maintained and calibrated according to the manufacturers’ specifications.

Although HAZMAT specialists are required to initially pass the 24-hour HAZWOPER training, most specialists have completed university-level courses. A HAZMAT specialist often holds a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, chemistry, biology, or other science related field.  It is not uncommon for a specialist level responder to have an advanced degree.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, Training and Exercises, Workplace Safety, HAZWOPER, Chemical Industry, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

Safety Training Through HAZWOPER Certification

Posted on Thu, Jul 25, 2013

America’s largest retail store was recently fined $81 million for improper handling of hazardous wastes and pesticides. The chain did not have a store level safety program in place to train its employees on proper hazardous waste management and disposal practices. As a result, hazardous wastes were transported without proper documentation or improperly discarded, including being put into municipal trash bins or poured into the local sewer system.

From manufacturing facilities to store fronts, hazardous substances can be found in an array of company locations. Facility safety training should incorporate processes and procedures applicable to hazardous material interactions and disposal. Unless handled by training individuals and disposed of properly, hazardous material can create health risks for people and damage the environment.

If a site houses hazardous material, HAZWOPER training may be necessary. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) applies to specific groups of employers and their employees. Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to obtain -Online Training.

There are various Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) training levels of HAZWOPER that are commensurate with the type of work and the potential involvement with hazardous materials. The following two levels of HAZWOPER training apply to employees that will not assume the aggressive role of attempting to plug, patch, or otherwise stop the release of a hazardous substance.

HAZWOPER training - TRP

Awareness Level

According to OSHA, the first responders at the “awareness level” must demonstrate competency in areas such as recognizing the presence of hazardous materials in an emergency, the risks involved, and the role they play in their employer’s plan.

This level is applicable for persons who, in the course of their normal duties, could be the first on the scene of an emergency involving hazardous materials. Responders at the awareness level are expected to recognize the presence of hazardous materials, protect themselves, call for trained personnel, and secure the area without engagement.

Individual companies can set their own hourly training requirements, however, employees must be capable of demonstrating the following:

  • Understanding what a hazardous substance is, and associated risks
  • Understanding potential outcomes associated with an emergency involving hazardous substances
  • Ability to recognize the presence of hazardous substances during  an emergency
  • Ability to identify the hazardous substances, if possible
  • Understanding the role of the first responder awareness individual in the employer's emergency response plan, including site security and control and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Emergency Response Guidebook
  • Ability to recognize the need to make appropriate notifications for additional resources

Operations Level

Operations level responders meet and exceed the competency level of the awareness responder. Operational responders are trained to respond in a defensive fashion without actually trying to terminate the release. Their function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading, and prevent exposures.

These trained responders are part of the initial response to the incident for the purpose of protecting nearby persons, the environment, and/or property from the effects of the release. Operations may receive additional training in HAZMAT/CBRNE defensive techniques of absorption, damming and diking, diverting, retention, vapor dispersion and suppression. They may also train in basic decontamination procedures and PPE.

First responders at the operational level should complete the 8-hour HAZWOPER training course or sufficient experience to objectively demonstrate competency in the following areas:

  • Basic hazard and risk assessment techniques
  • Selection and use of proper personal protective equipment provided to the first responder operational level
  • Basic hazardous materials terms
  • Basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of available resources and personal protective equipment
  •  Implementation of basic decontamination procedures
  • Relevant standard operating and termination procedures
TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, OSHA, Training and Exercises, Safety, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

Emergency Response Exercises and HAZWOPER Training

Posted on Thu, Apr 18, 2013

A recently released study entitled Staging and Performing Emergencies: The Role of Exercises in UK Preparedness states that comprehensive exercises are essential for an effective response to various types of emergencies. Just as incidents vary in scale, duration, and complexity, training and response exercises need to be inclusive of site specific threats and risks. Authors Dr Ben Anderson and Dr Peter Adey of the report told  Science Omega magazine that there are three core reasons why exercises are beneficial and increase the likelihood of an effective response.

  1. Collaboration Rehearsal: Exercises enable separate organizations to collaborate in a real-world simulation of an incident. Organizations that operate separately on a day-to-day basis must collaborate on procedures that would be necessary in an actual emergency. Dr. Anderson states, “Exercises allow organizations the opportunity to work together, both formally, in terms of enabling various protocols or communication procedures to be used, and informally, in terms of getting to know the organizational culture of other bodies”.
  2. Test strategies and plans: Exercises allow the various strategic response components to be tested. Through real-world exercise scenarios, companies can evaluate procedures and plans before the real event.
  3. Confirm roles and responsibilities: Exercises reveal response competencies. Employees and responders must have a thorough understanding of required roles and responsibilities in order to react effectively, make timely decisions, and perform appropriate actions within high-pressure emergency situations.

Response plan exercises may incorporate on-site operational responders. The typical staffed operational responder is trained for defensive reactions, not to terminate the release. Their main function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading and prevent exposures. The ability to terminate a release may require a higher level of training.

A response effort by trained emergency personnel or other designated responders (i.e., fire brigade, mutual aid groups, local fire departments), would then go into effect. An event that requires outside emergency assistance can be, but is not limited to, an uncontrolled release of a hazardous material, fire, explosion, and serious injury or illness to personnel where there is a potential risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens.

If a facility has hazardous material on-site, HAZWOPER training may be necessary. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) applies to specific groups of employers and their employees. Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to obtain HAZWOPER training.

OHSA mandates that individuals who work in the following areas must complete the standard HAZWOPER training.

  • General site workers: Individuals, such as equipment operators, general laborers and supervisory personnel, who are engaged in hazardous substance removal or other activities which expose or potentially expose workers to hazardous substances and health.
  • Operations crew: Individuals involved in hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA; or by agencies under agreement with U.S.E.P.A. to implement RCRA regulations.
  • Emergency response operations team: Those directly involved in responding to the releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.

There are various training levels with HAZWOPER. Training levels should reflect the type of work and the potential hazard involved in the work.

  • 40-hour HAZWOPER Training: Those individuals directly involved in the cleaning up of hazardous materials, its storage, or its transportation should take the 40-hour HAZWOPER course. The 40 hour course is required for the safety of workers at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • 24-hour HAZWOPER Training: Appropriate training for those who are less directly involved with uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (such as, but not limited to, ground water monitoring, land surveying, or geophysical surveying).
  • 8-hour HAZWOPER Training: Managers are required to attain the same level of training (either the 40-hour or 24-hour training) as those they supervise, and an additional 8 hours.

There are numerous sources for OSHA-based HAZWOPER training, from community colleges to private consultants. However, companies must insure that the trainer teaches the required material and provides certification to the students. The certification is assigned to the employee, not the employer. Because of this, individuals must receive the full training mandated, not just those areas that are covered at the current work site.

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.

Exercises - TRP Corp

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, OSHA, Training and Exercises, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

Hazardous Materials Response Team Training Requirements

Posted on Mon, Jan 30, 2012

A Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Response team is comprised of hazardous material experts who specialize in detecting, containing, and removing any release or potential release of hazardous substances in order to control or stabilize an incident. According to the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER), a HAZMAT team “is not a fire brigade, nor is a typical fire brigade termed a HAZMAT team. However, a HAZMAT team is often a separate component of a fire brigade or fire department.”

The acronym  HAZMAT refers to any substance (gas, liquid or solid) capable of creating harm to people, the environment, or property. It is often used when discussing the production, transport, use, disposal, cleanup, or emergency response of hazardous materials.

HAZWOPER is one of the training components of a HAZMAT team. The intent of the HAZWOPER standard is to protect workers engaged in "Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard." (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)).

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According to the HAZMAT Team Planning Guide of the EPA’s Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, a HAZMAT Team should be trained to the “Hazardous Materials Technician” level defined by NFPA Standard 472 and HAZWOPER 29 CFR 1910.120.

HAZMAT Training Regulations

HAZMAT employees, that may or may not be part of a HAZMAT team, must be trained, at a minimum, in accordance with:

Records need to be maintained for all employees that have been, or will be trained before handling hazardous materials, in accordance with the training requirements set forth in 49 CFR §172.704 and 172.602, and 29 CFR §1910.120 and 1910.1200.

Click the image below for a free Response Procedures Flow Chart:

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Tags: HAZCOM, PHMSA, OSHA HAZWOPER, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, Disaster Recovery, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training, Fire Department HAZWOPER training

Seven HAZWOPER Training Categories and Response Capabilities

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012

Employees who may respond to hazardous material emergencies are required by OSHA to have HAZWOPER training.  HAZWOPER, short for the OSHA initiated Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, communicates the required training associated with operations and potential spills or releases. The intent of the HAZWOPER standard is to protect workers engaged in "Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard." (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)).

Paragraph (q) of HAZWOPER lists seven emergency responder training categories that require training under the regulation.

1. Skilled support personnel (q)(4):

  • Personnel, not necessarily an employer's own employees, who may temporarily perform immediate emergency support work that cannot reasonably be performed in a timely fashion by an employer's own employees
  • Contracted or temporary personnel who will be or may be exposed to the hazards at an emergency response scene
  • Require an initial briefing at the site prior to their participation in any emergency response to include:
    • Instruction in the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment
    • Chemical hazards involved
    • Duties are to be performed
    • All other appropriate safety and health precautions provided to the employer's own employees shall be used to assure the safety and health of these personnel.

2. Specialist employees (q)(5):

  • Regular job duties include working with and are trained in the hazards of specific hazardous substances
  • May be called upon to provide technical advice or assistance at a hazardous substance release incident to the individual in charge
  • Receives trainingor demonstrate competency in the area of their specialization annually.

3. First responder awareness level (q)(6):

  • Individuals likely to witness or discover a hazardous substance release
  • Trained to initiate an emergency response sequence by notifying the proper authorities of the release. They would take no further action beyond notifying the authorities of the release.

4. First responder operations level (q)(6):

  • Individuals who respond to releases or potential releases of hazardous substances as part of the initial response to the site for the purpose of protecting nearby persons, property, or the environment from the effects of the release.
  • Trained to respond defensively from a safe distance to minimize spreading and prevent exposures, without actually trying to stop the release.

5. HAZMAT technician (q)(6):

  • Individuals who respond to releases or potential releases for the purpose of stopping the release.
  • Trained to approach the point of release in order to plug, patch or otherwise stop the release of a hazardous substance.

6. HAZMAT specialist (q)(6):

  • Individuals who respond with and provide support to hazardous materials technicians.
  • Duties, which parallel those of the hazardous materials technician, require a more directed or specific knowledge of the various substances they may be called upon to contain.
  • May act as site liaison with Federal, state, local and other government authorities in regards to site activities.

7. On-scene incident commander (q)(6):

  • Individuals who will assume control of the incident scene beyond the first responder awareness level.

For a free guide that details the world of HAZWOPER training, download A Guide to HAZWOPER Training.

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Tags: Emergency Response, OSHA HAZWOPER, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, Disaster Response, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

Regulatory Compliance Management

Posted on Fri, Feb 11, 2011

Managing regulations for industrial facilities can be a daunting task.  Industrial facilities must operate profitably, yet comply with a complex array of federal, state and local regulations. 

To ensure regulatory compliance, companies must establish an effective method of tracking and documenting actions items required for compliance.

Companies are always searching to reduce the costs and efforts required to manage compliance, so they can focus budgets within their core business.  However, lack of compliance can result in additional financial burdens resulting from fines, negative public perception, and possibly government mandated shutdown of operations.

Technology can be a useful, and relatively inexpensive tool for companies to monitor continually evolving regulatory requirements. The use of Excel spreadsheets is a common way to manage these requirements and may be effective for small operations. However, as companies grow and numbers of facilities increase, spreadsheets can become overwhelming, ineffective, and time consuming. Larger operations should consider utilizing database technology to ensure that compliance can be effectively managed on an enterprise-wide level.

Key concepts for managing regulatory compliance from a corporate perspective include, but are not limited to:

  • Use of Database Technology - This allows association of each regulatory requirement to applicable facilities. Updating evolving regulatory information can be effectively managed across multiple facilities with the use of a database.
  • Available Expertise - Identify corporate resources or outsource compliance expertise, and leverage that knowledge enterprise-wide.
  • Identify Facility-Specific Regulations -  Highlight mandatory submission requirements and tasks for each facility associated with each regulatory requirements.
  • Tasking -  Assign compliance tasks, frequencies, due dates, persons responsible, and document completion actions.
  • Identify Best Practices -  Apply best practices related to compliance with specific regulatory requirements, when practical to do so.
  • Organize Compliance Information - Utilize a database to limit duplication of tasks generated when multiple agencies have regulations that are related to the same subject matter.
  • Search Functionality - Create the ability to search database for key words and phrases associated with regulations.

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: USCG, DOT, CFATS, Emergency Preparedness, EPA, OPA 90, Regulatory Compliance, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

HAZWOPER and Hazardous Materials

Posted on Tue, Nov 09, 2010

As part of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was directed to establish programs to protect hazardous waste workers. The result of this effort was termed the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard or, as more commonly known, HAZWOPER (29 CFR 1910.120).

OSHA considers HAZWOPER to have a broad coverage in emergency response. The intent of the HAZWOPER standard is to protect workers engaged in "Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard." (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)). It applies to all employers who have their employees respond to an emergency situation where a hazardous substance may exist. This response requires all covered workers to comply with the OSHA HAZWOPER rules.

It is possible for some potentially harmful substances to be technically excluded from the definitions of Hazardous Materials of Substances. It should be noted that the HAZWOPER response standard is NOT limited or restricted to OSHA's list of "highly hazardous chemicals" under the PSM standard, the EPA's list of "Extremely Hazardous Substances" (EHS), or substances listed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as a hazardous material.

  • Hazardous Materials is a general term intended to mean hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants as defined by the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The term includes blood borne pathogens and infectious disease as defined by OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030).

Hazardous Substance is a term that is designated by numerous agencies.

  • Any substance designated pursuant to section 311(b)(2)(A) of the Clean Water Act
  • Any element, compound, mixture, solution, or substance designated pursuant to section 102 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Any hazardous waste having the characteristics identified under or listed pursuant to section 3001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act   (but not including any waste under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.) that has been suspended by act of Congress)
  • Any toxic pollutant listed under section 307(a) of the Clean Water Act; any hazardous air pollutant listed under section 112 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. § 7521 et seq.)
  • Any imminently hazardous chemical substance or mixture with respect to which the EPA Administrator has taken action pursuant to section 7 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.).

These general mandates are not limited to a finite list of chemicals or established thresholds, but apply to all chemicals stored at a facility regardless of whether the stored amount is less than the published threshold quantity. Again, the overall intent of the general standard mandates is to proactively manage potential risk and impact to the environment, and assure the safety and health of all workers and potentially affected communities. 

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download our Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Management Program, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

The Misinterpretations of HAZWOPER Response Capabilities

Posted on Fri, Aug 13, 2010

Numerous organizations have emergency response policies in place based on misinterpretation of the HAZWOPER regulations. The purpose of the initial responder (operations level) of an emergency is to protect life, property, or the environment from the effects of the release, not stop the release.

Operational responders are trained to respond in a defensive fashion without actually trying to terminate the release. Their function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading, and prevent exposures.

Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to be HAZWOPER certified.  According to OSHA, first responders at the operations level are those individuals who respond to releases, or potential releases, of hazardous substances as part of the initial response to the site.

Any employee or contractor, upon discovering a significant event or condition that requires urgent response from outside trained personnel, should take the suggested initial response actions listed below and report the emergency to the designated onsite Emergency Dispatch Center to render additional response.

Initial Response Actions:

  • Discovery of an emergency situation.
  • Warn others in the immediate area by word of mouth and activate local alarms.
  • Take immediate personal protective measures (PPE, move to safe location, etc.).
  • Report the emergency to Security.
  • Implement local response actions (process shutdowns, activate fire protection systems, etc.) if safe to do so, and consistent with level of training and area specific procedures.

A response effort by trained emergency personnel from outside the immediate area, or by other designated responders (i.e., mutual aid groups, local fire departments, etc.), would then go into effect. An event that requires outside emergency assistance can be, but is not limited to, an uncontrolled release of a hazardous material, fire, explosion, and serious injury or illness to personnel where there is a potential risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens.

Below are examples of classification levels and potential responses.

LEVEL ONE Classification: Minor Incident

  • Minor threat to life, property, or environment DOES NOT extend outside of immediate area.
  • No spill/release or fire in progress, no potential for explosion or loss of control.
  • Area Supervisor and Unit personnel can effectively manage situation.

Response

  • On-Scene Incident Commander and Emergency Response Team assistance limited to routine medical response, advice, assessment, and post-incident support/cleanup activities.
  • External assistance limited to routine medical transport and/or law enforcement assistance.
  • Notifications as required.

LEVEL TWO Classification: Serious Incident

  • Serious threat to life, property, or environment may extend outside of immediate area, but DOES NOT extend Off-Site.
  • Protective actions required for unit and/or nearby areas.
  • Rescue or medical response - Serious injuries reported or possible.

Response

  • On-Scene Incident Commander and Emergency Response Team respond or on stand-by.
  • External assistance at discretion of On-Scene IC.
  • Emergency Operation Center will be activated.

 LEVEL THREE Classification: Significant Incident

  •  Significant threat to life, property, or environment extending or with POTENTIAL to extend Off-Site.
  • Protective actions required for nearby units/areas, and/or off-site communities.
  • Potential for significant impact to company reputation, operability, or revenues.

Response

  • On-Scene Incident Commander and Emergency Response Team respond.
  • External coordination and/or assistance is required.
  • An Emergency Command Center is activated.
  • Corporate Crisis notification at discretion of Emergency Operations Center Director

In conclusion, operational responders are trained for defensive reactions, not to terminate the release. Their main function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading and creating exponential incidences, and prevent exposures.

For more tips and best practices on conducting an effective oil spill, download our Free Best Practices for Oil Spill Exercises

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Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, OSHA HAZWOPER, SPCC, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

OSHA's HAZWOPER standard training... Who needs it?

Posted on Thu, Jun 10, 2010

The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard -Online Training applies to specific groups of employers and their employees. Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to obtain HAZWOPER training. 

OHSA mandates that those who work in the following areas must complete the standard HAZWOPER training.

  • General site workers (such as equipment operators, general laborers and supervisory personnel) engaged in hazardous substance removal or other activities, which expose or potentially expose workers to hazardous substances and health.
  • Operations crews involved in hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA; or by agencies under agreement with U.S.E.P.A. to implement RCRA regulations.
  • Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.Training levels

Courses should be selected based upon the type of work and the potential hazard involved in the work. 

  • Those individuals directly involved in the cleaning up of hazardous materials, its storage, or its transportation should take the 40-hour HAZWOPER course. The 40 hour course is required for the safety of workers at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Other, shorter courses such as the 24-hour HAZWOPER training may be appropriate for those who are less directly involved with uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (such as, but not limited to, ground water monitoring, land surveying, or geophysical surveying). .
  • Managers are required to attain the same level of training as those they supervise, and an additional 8 hours.

There are numerous sources for OSHA-based HAZWOPER training, from community colleges to private consultants.  However, companies must insure that the trainer teaches the required material and provides certification to the student. The certification is assigned to the employee, not the employer.  Because of this, individuals must receive the full training mandated, not just those areas that are covered at the current work site.

 

For more tips and best practices on HAZWOPER Training, download our HAZWOPER training guide

 

 

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training, Fire Department HAZWOPER training