OSHA Praises National Response Plan for its Worker Safety and Health Guidelines

OSHA has announced that it supports the National Response Plan unveiled earlier this week by the Department of Homeland Security. The plan includes a new Worker Safety and Health Annex.

The Worker Safety and Health 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 L. 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."

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 Annex is designed to provide a consistent, high level of protection for all organizations involved in nationally significant events.

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;
  • Coordinates among federal agencies and state, local and tribal governments as well as private-sector organizations involved in responses to nationally significant events.

The Department of Homeland Security's National Response Plan establishes a unified and standardized approach within the United States for protecting citizens and managing homeland security incidents. The plan 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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