NIOSH shares lessons learned during large-scale emergency response in Gulf
Posted February 9, 2012
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon disaster oil rig on April 20, 2010, resulted in the death of 11 workers and injury to another 17 workers. In the weeks and months that followed, as large amounts of crude oil released from the well, tens of thousands of workers engaged in on- and off-shore containment and clean-up activities. Addressing concerns about the potential effects of the spill on human and environmental health in the Gulf, including potential risk to response workers, prompted an unprecedented response from agencies all across the federal government. As a result of these interagency efforts, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a report on the observations made during response activities.
The role NIOSH had in the interagency effort was to anticipate and address the occupational safety and health needs of the containment and cleanup response workers in close collaboration with OSHA. As part of these activities, NIOSH led efforts in rostering workers, conducting health hazard evaluations, providing technical guidance by means of a joint OSHA/NIOSH publication, conducting health surveillance activities, and performing toxicity testing.
With the publication of “Lessons Learned from the Deepwater Horizon Response,” NIOSH hopes to share the knowledge gained during this response (including the application of knowledge gained from past large-scale emergency responses), report how response to similar events in the future can be improved, and facilitate a dialogue between NIOSH and partners in the government, industry, labor and academia on ways to improve the overall response to both natural and man-made disasters.
To read the full report, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-117/pdfs/2012-117.pdf
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