Inspection procedures for the HAZWOPER standard: Excerpts from OSHA compliance directive CPL 2-2.59A

The following information is taken from CPL 2-2.59A, which OSHA issued in April 1998 to establish policies and provide clarification for the uniform enforcement of paragraph (q) of the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard (HAZWOPER). Section 1910.120 of the General Industry regulations covers emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard.

Appendix B of CPL 2-2.59A Guidance for emergency response compliance inspection

This appendix provides uniform guidance for OSHA compliance officers when conducting an inspection. For the employer, the information in this checklist gives valuable insight to fulfilling the requirements in §1910.120(q), Emergency response to hazardous substance releases.

Review the Emergency Response Plan (ERP)

  1. Do the provisions of §1910.120(q) apply to the employer? (Would the substances present onsite require an emergency response if released?)
  2. Which compliance strategy does the employer use? Evacuation of all employees in accordance with §1910.38(a), or emergency response by employees in accordance with §1910.120(q)?
  3. Does the employer have an emergency response plan or an emergency action plan? If not, cite paragraph §1910.120(q)(1).
  4. If the employer does not have an ERP but expresses an intent to evacuate all personnel and not allow any employees to respond, does the employer have an emergency action plan in accordance with §1910.38(a) (may be communicated orally to employees by employers with 10 or fewer employees)? If not, then cite §1910.38(a).
  5. If the employer does not have an emergency response plan but has an emergency action plan, is the emergency action plan adequate? If not, then cite §1910.38(a).
  6. Emergency Action Plan compliance checklist:
    • Is the Plan in writing (may be communicated orally to employees by employers with 10 or fewer employees)?
    • Are emergency escape procedures and emergency escape routes designated?
    • Are procedures established to account for all employees after the emergency evacuation has been completed?
    • Has an employee alarm system which complies with §1910.165 been established?
    • If an employee alarm system is used for other purposes, have distinctive signals for each purpose been developed?
    • Has the employer designated and trained a sufficient number of persons to assist in the safe and orderly evacuation of employees (generally one per 20 employees)?
    • Has the employer reviewed the emergency action plan with each employee covered by the plan initially, and when the plan or the employee’s responsibilities under the plan change?
    • Is the written plan kept at the workplace (may be communicated orally to employees by employers with 10 or fewer employees) and made available for employee review?
    • Has the plan been effectively communicated and implemented by the employer to ensure that employees do not assist in handling emergencies, or does the employer actually intend to have employees respond to emergencies?
    • Does the employer intend to have employees handle incidental releases? If so, are the training, tools, equipment, and PPE appropriate for handling incidental releases of the hazardous substance available in the work area?
    • Does the employer have procedures for notifying both inside and outside parties of incidents? Employees may be placed at risk in situations where they are required by the plan to remain in a temporarily safe area to shut down an operation, and the plan does not have procedures for the employer to ensure that outside responders are notified in a timely manner. CSHOs should look closely at emergency action plans that do not have procedures for immediately contacting the local fire department and other outside parties in order to determine whether such plans place any workers at risk.
      The term “outside parties” means outside responders (fire departments, police, private hazmat teams, emergency medical service personnel, and other pertinent components of the local, state, and federal emergency response system) and other employers in the surrounding area who could be affected by a hazardous substance emergency incident.
  1. Is the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in writing?
  2. Is the ERP easily accessible to employees?
  3. Does the employer make use of the local or State ERP in the company ERP? If so, does the local or State ERP adequately provide employee protection for this employer?
    Emergency response organizations may use the local or State ERP as part of their ERP to avoid duplication. However, the plan must address all of the provisions listed in §1910.120(q)(2) and (q)(3).
  4. Does the ERP reflect pre-emergency planning and coordination with outside parties?
    • Does the plan describe procedures or existing agreements addressing how the outside parties are to be notified of an potential emergency situation and what role each should play in an incident?
    • If any response coordination procedures or agreements are included in the plan, are the local fire department and other selected outside emergency response parties aware of their roles and responsibilities as described in the plan?
    • Can outside responders identify any reasons that were not considered by the employer that would delay or prevent them from responding to an incident (e.g., distance, lack of training, etc.)?
  1. Are personnel roles, lines of authority, training, and communication provided in the ERP?
  2. Does the ERP address emergency recognition and prevention?
  3. Does the ERP address safe distances and places of refuge adequate for all employees who may need it?
  4. Does the ERP designate equipment, people, and procedures to ensure site security and control?
  5. Are evacuation routes and procedures developed, and do they work well with the methods developed for emergency alerting and the designation of places of refuge?
  6. Does the ERP address the setting up of a decontamination station, and the decontamination of personnel and equipment?
  7. Are emergency medical treatment and first aid available to employees during an emergency response?
  8. Are emergency alerting and response procedures addressed in the ERP? Is there evidence of an alerting and response system?
  9. Does the ERP address the types and uses of PPE and emergency response equipment to be used?
  10. Does the ERP provide procedures for the critique of emergency responses?
  11. Are there any other features that are missing or should be addressed in the employer’s ERP?
The elements listed in §1910.120(q)(2) are minimum requirements. The performance-oriented aspect of the ERP is in §1910.120(q)(1), which states that the ERP “shall be developed and implemented to handle anticipated emergencies prior to the commencement of emergency response operations.”

Review procedures for handling emergencies

  1. Has a single individual been identified as the On-Scene Incident Commander?
  2. Is there a system in place that passes the senior official position up the line of authority as more senior officials arrive on the scene?
    The senior official assists the On-Scene Incident Commander, “the individual in charge of the Incident Command System” in §1910.120(q)(3).
  3. Has a safety official been identified?
    In smaller responses, the On-Scene Incident Commander may play this role.

Review training requirements

  1. Has the employer certified that the employee has been provided training?
    The employee does not necessarily have to be provided with a certificate, although the employer must certify in writing that employees who have successfully completed the first responder operations, HAZMAT Technician, HAZMAT Specialist, and On-Scene Incident Commander levels are trained.
  2. If employee training is done in-house, is training based on the specific duties and functions to be performed at the site?
    Keep in mind that OSHA does not endorse training programs, but may offer suggestions as to their comprehensiveness.
  3. Does the employer have a “statement of training” or “statement of competency” for annual refresher training or competency for all employees trained in emergency response?
    Methods of demonstrating competency include critiques of actual incidents or “dress rehearsals” which identify any weakness and effectiveness of the response effort.
  4. If employee annual refresher training is done in-house, is training adequate for the site?
Keep in mind that OSHA does not endorse training programs, but may offer suggestions as to their comprehensiveness.

Review medical surveillance

  1. Does the employer furnish the employee with the physician’s written opinion indicating medical results and whether the employee is capable of working with hazardous materials?
  2. Is medical recordkeeping done in a manner consistent with §1910.1020, Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records?

Review of Personal Protective Equipment Program. Ask to review the written PPE Program required in §1910.120(q)(10).

Subparagraph §1910.120(q)(10) refers to the provisions for PPE in §1910.120(g)(3)-(g)(5).
  1. Is the PPE chosen sufficiently protective of employees, based on hazards and potential hazards?
  2. Is the PPE maintained and inspected routinely?
  3. Does the PPE appear to be in good condition and up to date?
  4. Is air monitoring equipment available to assist the Incident Commander in determining when to increase or lower the level of PPE?

Employee interview questions

  1. Does the employee have access to the ERP?
  2. Has the employee ever been through an emergency response drill or an evacuation drill? Is the employee aware of the evacuation route in the event of an emergency?
    Drills may be required by SARA title III if the facility or emergency response organization is designated to be part of a community emergency response.
  3. Is the employee expected to take any action, other than evacuation, during an emergency? If so, what level of training does the employee have?
  4. Does the employee feel the training was sufficient to perform expected duties and functions during an emergency as an emergency responder?
  5. Does the employee know how to select, use, and inspect the PPE designated for employee use during an emergency?
  6. Have the employees been fitted properly for PPE?
    §1910.120(q)(10), Chemical protective clothing, refers to the provisions in §1910.120(g)(3)-(5): PPE selection (which requires selection and use of PPE in compliance with Part 1910, Subpart I), totally encapsulating chemical protective suits and a written PPE program.
  7. Does the employee know how to use the emergency response equipment designated for use in performing control, containment and/or confinement operations?
  8. If possible, interview the designated On-Scene Incident Commander to determine if the individual:
    • Is aware of the potential hazards and/or benefits associated with certain PPE and engineering controls;
    • Is capable of implementing appropriate emergency operations;
    • Can really designate a safety official;
    • Can implement appropriate decontamination procedures;
    • Has received training as an On-Scene Incident Commander.
  1. Has the employee gone through refresher training or demonstrated competency annually?
  2. Have employees who are entitled to a baseline physical and periodic consultations received them?
    Designated members of HAZMAT Teams and HAZMAT Specialists must receive baseline physicals and be part of a medical surveillance program.
  3. Are employees offered medical consultation following the development of signs or symptoms resulting from exposure to hazardous substances during an emergency incident?

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