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OSHA web page updates Gulf Coast cleanup worker safety and health (6/8)

June 8, 2010
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OSHA is participating in the Gulf Coast cleanup to assure that workers have safety and health training and protection necessary to avoid injuries and illnesses, according to a new Gulf Coast response page posted on OSHA’s web site.

Between 15 and 20 OSHA compliance officers are in the field everyday monitoring worker safety and health. OSHA has been at all 17 staging areas and many more actual worksites.

OSHA staff is conducting interventions and are collecting information on employers, workers, and the work performed. They are evaluating operations for potential hazards, the personal protective equipment being used and training being provided workers. If concerns are identified they are documented and addressed.

OSHA industrial hygienists are monitoring worker exposure and looking for health effects from chemical exposure to oil, weathered oil, oil dispersants, cleaning agents and other materials as identified. When evaluating worker exposure, direct reading instruments and shift-long sampling is performed in the actual breathing zone of workers.

OSHA has also sampled areas that are periodically frequented by workers but the samples are not taken from the breathing zone of workers.

Finally, OSHA has sampled directly over tar balls, inside bags containing contaminated materials, and other locations that do not represent worker exposure but provide information on the types of chemicals that may be coming off contaminated materials.

OSHA has also used instrumentation capable of evaluating physical hazards such as noise and heat stress.

Locations and data will continue to be added to this web page as they become available.

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