Paper highlights OSHA-NIOSH effort during Deepwater Horizon cleanup

Washington – Advance planning, immediate deployment and interagency collaboration helped prevent worker fatalities during the cleanup of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a review conducted by OSHA and NIOSH.

The article, authored by OSHA administrator David Michaels and NIOSH Director John Howard, credits the zero fatalities and few injuries during the cleanup to multiple efforts to protect workers. Agency personnel visited worksites daily, identified and abated hazards, ensured workers received adequate training and personal protective equipment, and monitored chemical exposures. Additionally, OSHA “insisted that BP implement a robust program” to protect workers – many of whom worked 12 hours a day in coveralls, boots and gloves – from the hot and humid weather.

However, improvements could be made in how safety and health information and decision-making processes are communicated to the public, the review stated.

The paper was published online July 18 in PLOS Currents: Disasters.

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