OSHA Notes Support for New Guidelines to Use During National Emergency Incidents

January 7, 2005

OSHA announced its support for the National Response Plan unveiled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which includes a new Worker Safety and Health Annex. The Annex provides guidelines for implementing worker safety and health support functions during national incidents, including acts of terrorism, major natural disasters, or man-made emergencies.

“The Worker Safety and Health Annex is an important contribution to emergency management,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jonathan Snare. “It provides direction for the coordination and process by which responder safety and health will be conducted and it can serve as a template for state and local response organizations to follow.”

The Annex is designed to provide a consistent high level of protection for all organizations involved in nationally significant events. Proper management of responder safety and health could be beyond any one organization’s capabilities due to the vast number of people who are involved in major disasters.

The Worker Safety and Health Annex provides for the coordination of Federal safety and health assets for proactive consideration of all potential hazards; ensures availability and management of all safety resources needed by responders; shares responder safety-related information; and coordinates among Federal agencies, State, local, and tribal governments, and private-sector organizations involved in responses to nationally significant events.

The Department of Homeland Security’s NRP establishes a unified and standardized approach within the United States for protecting citizens and managing homeland security incidents. The NRP standardizes Federal incident response actions by integrating existing and formerly disparate processes and establishes standardized training, organization, and communications procedures through the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and clearly identifies authority and leadership responsibilities.

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