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      Review of the OSHA-NIOSH Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Protecting the Health and Safety of Cleanup Workers

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      PLoS Currents

      Public Library of Science

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          Abstract

          Introduction: The fire and explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig resulted in an enormous oil spill that threatened large distances of coastline. The overall response was led by the United States Coast Guard and involved the oil company BP, federal agencies, and state and local governments of five states. Methods: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health focused extensive resources on ensuring that BP and its contractors provided safe working conditions for thousands of workers involved in the response. Federal personnel visited worksites daily, identifying hazards and means of abatement; assessed training programs to ensure that workers were adequately trained in languages they could understand; monitored chemical exposures and determined that the proper personal protective equipment was deployed; insisted on implementation of a heat mitigation program; rostered thousands of workers; and conducted extensive outreach in communities impacted by the spill. Results: Advance planning, immediate deployment, and collaboration across agencies helped ensure that the response operations resulted in no worker fatalities, and relatively few injuries and illnesses. Conclusions: For future responses, improvements should be made in how safety and health information, as well as the process behind safety and health decisions, are communicated to the public. Citation: Michaels D, Howard J. Review of the OSHA-NIOSH Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Protecting the Health and Safety of Cleanup Workers. PLoS Currents Disasters. 2012 Jul 18

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          http://www.OSHA.gov
          http://niosh.gov
          Journal
          PLoS Curr
          PLoS Curr
          plos
          PLoS Currents
          Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
          2157-3999
          18 July 2012
          : 4
          Article
          10.1371/4fa83b7576b6e
          3957409
          Funding
          This review was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Neither author has any potential or perceived competing interests to report regarding this review.
          Categories
          Field Report

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