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PA EPA AND OSHA WORK TOGETHER TO INVESTIGATE CHEM. ACCIDENTS

Release Date: 12/13/96
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PA EPA AND OSHA WORK TOGETHER TO INVESTIGATE CHEM. ACCIDENTS

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1996

EPA AND OSHA WORK TOGETHER TO INVESTIGATE CHEMICAL ACCIDENTS

EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are working together to identify and publicize root causes of chemical accidents and develop recommendations for preventing similar accidents in the future. Both OSHA and EPA have authority to investigate major chemical accidents. Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two agencies, EPA and OSHA will cooperate to jointly investigate major chemical accidents and releases for root causes and will publish the results of these investigations in joint reports. Chemical accidents or releases characterized by one or more of the following circumstances will be candidates for joint investigation: 1) one or more fatalities; 2) hospitalization of three or more people; 3) property damage estimated at $500,000 or more; 4) a serious threat to worker health or safety, public health, property or the environment; 5) significant off-site consequences such as large-scale evacuations, closing of major transportation routes, substantial environmental contamination or injury to domestic or wild animals; or 6) significant public concern. The MOU establishes general policy for procedures and coordination between the two agencies to ensure effective investigation and reporting and to avoid duplication of effort. EPA will pursue supplemental agreements with states having OSHA-approved State Plans in order to coordinate investigations where the state administers their own occupational safety and health program. Joint reports developed by the two agencies will include a description of the accident and response; observations and findings; any laboratory test results; discussion of the accident's probable root causes and contributing factors; a list of further planned activities; and recommendations for enhancing chemical safety, increasing emergency preparedness and preventing chemical accidents. Copies of the EPA/OSHA Memorandum of Understanding on chemical accident investigations will be available on EPA's Internet home page at http://www.epa.gov/swercepp/.

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