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Safety Training Program Highlights
Hazwoper » Emergency Response Plan
Emergency Response Plan Outline
The following outline summarizes the major points of information presented in the course on The Emergency Response Plan.
The outline can be used to survey the course before taking it on a computer, as well as to review the course when a computer is not available.
The date was March 6th, 1990.
On that day, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) put a new regulation into effect.
The Regulation applied to:
The range of topics covered by the regulation includes:
It was the most comprehensive standard of its kind ever written.
OSHA named the regulation "Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response."
The "ER" at the end of HAZWOPER is particularly important because it represents one of the most dangerous HAZMAT situations you can encounter...
Sirens blare, smoke rises, people scatter... yet somehow, it seems unreal. -This is how hazardous materials emergencies appear to many of us when we see them on television.
-But no matter how they look on the small screen, itís nothing compared to what a HAZMAT incident is like when it happens at your facility.
When you face a chemical emergency in real life, you and your company are dealing with an event that could quickly grow out of control... threatening the entire area, including surrounding communities.
No one ever knows when a crisis will occur.
In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) feels that this is so important that they require all employers who deal with hazardous materials to have one of these plans.
The Plan has two primary functions:
These two functions support the major purpose of the Plan, which is to mentally prepare all responders for a crisis before one takes place.
Every chemical crisis is unique, and unexpected.
Like the emergencies they document, Emergency Response Plans come in many forms.
For example, every Emergency Response Plan contains information on the "chain of command."
Letís take a look at a typical chain of command.
At the top of the chain of command is the "Incident Commander."
The Incident Commander has the ultimate responsibility for bringing the event under control, including the containment and cleanup of the hazardous substance.
Perhaps the most important job that the Incident Commander performs, however, involves the surrounding community.
The Commander may need to act as a "rumor-control" officer, as well.
To ensure that both internal and external responders will work together smoothly during an incident, the Commander also needs a good working relationship with the local fire department.
While the Incident Commander has the position of greatest power, responsibility, and complexity... without reliable information on the released material, the Commander is helpless.
This is where a Hazardous Materials Specialist comes in.
This HAZMAT Specialist ranks directly below the Incident Commander in authority.
He or she is responsible for:
Hazardous Materials Specialists are chemical experts who must convey what they know to their Incident Commander in a clear, concise way.
Hazardous Materials Technicians are next in the chain of command.
The Plan also lists the procedures that should be used to make sure that unauthorized people do not enter any contaminated areas.
Last in the chain of command are employees on the "First Responder:
Although each link in the chain of command performs functions which require very specific training, everyone in the chain must be able to communicate with each other.
For instance, some communications procedures, such as the "buddy system", are directly linked to safety considerations.
Other communications issues that are addressed in the Emergency Response Plan include:
In addition to defining the chain of command and addressing communications procedures, the Emergency Response Plan also outlines what Personal Protective Equipment should be worn during various types of emergencies.
Combinations of PPE that are used when dealing with Chemical Releases are grouped into four Levels:
Level A PPE provides the greatest amount of protection.
Level B PPE is used in places that present fewer skin hazards than "Level A" environments do... but an equal number of respiratory hazards.
Level C PPE provides respiratory protection through the use of Air-Purifying Respirators (APRs), which filter contaminants out of the air before they can be inhaled.
Level D Personal Protective Equipment provides the least amount of protection.
But the use of PPE isnít the only preventative measure that the Emergency Response Plan discusses.
Safe Work Practices typically include:
The best way to learn about these and other Safe Work Practices is through comprehensive training.
Training must include practice sessions and drills.
As part of the drills, trainers will often change the scenarios unexpectedly... such as introducing a medical emergency.
In some facilities, HAZMAT training also includes familiarizing workers with the mental challenges they may face when they are working in emergency response situations.
And thatís really what an Emergency Response Plan is all about... preparing people to face one of the most unpredictable foes anyone ever confronted... a HAZMAT incident.