July 21, 1992
Ms. Patricia K. Adams
Assistant Pollution Response Coordinator
Scandinavian Marine Claims Office,
Stamford Harbor Park
333 Ludlow Street
Post Office Box 120020
Stamford, Connecticut 06912-0020
Dear Ms. Adams:
This is in response to your inquiry of June
9, concerning the Occupational Safety
Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous
Waste Operations and Emergency Response
rule (HAZWOPER), 29 CFR 1910.120.
Your question concerns clarification
on training requirements for oil spill responders.
Employees who will be expected to engage
in tasks for which there is a potential for
exposure to hazardous substances must receive
appropriate training under 1910.120.
Responses to marine oil spills consist
of two phases, which are covered by different
sections of 1910.120. Paragraph (q) covers
emergency response, and paragraphs (b) through
(o) cover postemergency response. The 40
hour and 24 hour training requirements to
which you refer in your letter would apply
only to the post-emergency response (clean-up)
phase. It is our understanding, from your
June 22 telephone conversation with Sara
Prueitt, that you were referring only to
the potential involvement of your employees
in post-emergency response (clean-up) operations,
not emergency response operations.
During this phase, your employees do
not need to receive training under 1910.120
if they will only be entering clean zones
where there is little or no potential for
exposure. Clean zones must first be designated
through site monitoring and characterization
conducted in compliance with the provisions
of paragraph (c).
If it will be necessary for your employees
to enter contaminated areas of the site in
the course of their monitoring activities,
they must receive appropriate training. In
other hazardous waste clean-up situations,
a minimum of 24 hours of training would be
required for employees who would be on-site
only occasionally. However, oil spill clean-up
situations generally pose little risk of
exposure, since the most toxic components
of the oil volatilize quickly, generally
before clean-up operations begin. Consequently,
less than 24 hours of training is acceptable,
with a minimum of four hours required. Washington
State doubles Federal OSHA training requirements;
a minimum of 8 hours of training for marine
oil spill clean-up would be required there;
please see enclosures.
As stated above, emergency response
operations are covered under paragraph (q).
Any of your employees who may potentially
be exposed to the hazards of the initial
emergency response during an oil spill must
receive training under paragraph (q)(6).
This paragraph describes five levels of training
requirements for five distinct levels of
emergency response activity and responsibility.
You ask specifically about training
requirements for an attorney who may need
to board a vessel to assist the Captain.
If the attorney does not enter areas which
would involve any potential for exposure
to hazards from the oil spill, no training
is required. The vessel itself, or parts
of the vessel, might be considered a clean
area even during an emergency response. An
attorney who must enter contaminated areas
during the emergency response phase would
be considered skilled support personnel under
(q)(4). Such employees are not required to
receive training under (q)(6), but must be
briefed prior to site entry. Required elements
of the briefing are explained in paragraph
(q)(4). If the attorney enters contaminated
areas during the clean-up phase, the 4 hour
minimum training requirement would apply
as described earlier in this letter.
We have enclosed the Federal OSHA and
Washington State postemergency response compliance
directives for your convenience.
We hope this information is helpful.
If you have any further questions please
contact MaryAnn Garrahan at (202) 523-8036.
Patricia Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs