Lack of Protective Equipment to Blame for Oil Spill Cleanup Worker Health Issues?

This week, a Center for Progressive Reform report highlights a lack of workplace safety procedures as being a key contributing factor of health issues and complaints reported by some Gulf oil spill cleanup workers.

Besides safety training and chemical exposure monitoring, there have been concerns regarding the lack of protective equipment used by cleanup workers.

One of the main problems, according to the report, is the programs themselves (known as the National and Regional Contingency Plans) don’t contain any method of ensuring workplace safety regulations are adhered to.

“These documents, beginning at the national level, consistently pass responsibility for ensuring worker safety down the line to the next entity that has a duty to participate in planning process,” the report states. “But as they pass the buck, they never establish mechanisms for ensuring accountability at the next level for worker safety and health.”

Concerns surrounding cleanup workers’ lack of oil spill protective clothing first arose back in July when pictures showing workers in Galveston, Texas without OSHA required coveralls, rubber boots and gloves.

You can view the original pictures of the workers without proper protection at the ‘Support Health and Safety Protections for Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup Workers’ facebook group.