Health Issues Concerning Oil Spill Clean-up Responders – Poisoning, Toxicology&Environmental Health Example

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"Health Issues Concerning Oil Spill Clean-up Responders" is a wonderful example of a paper on poisoning, toxicology and environmental health.   This paper talks about occupational health hazards associated with oil spill clean-up responders. This topic is expounded by explaining overall occupational health issues concerning oil spill clean-up responders. This paper also consists of discussion on one type of health hazard associated with cleaning up crude oil and the federal safety and health regulations applicable to it concerning responders. Then finally, the proponent’ s opinion on this topic is also provided.                       Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2001, par.

1) defined occupational hazards as risks of exposure to pollution, noise and vibrations in the workplace, with associated exposure limits which are promoted by International Labor Organization. Health issues concerning oil spill clean-up responders                       The Gulf Coasts of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi State in the US which are highly affected by the oil spill and now they received remarkable attention especially on financial aspects to help people while the problem is still on its solution-making process (United States Department of Labor, 2010, par.

1). This specific attention given to the mentioned states is just part of solving the problem related to pollution brought by the very controversial oil spill.               An oil spill is a form of pollution and as such, it is considered a significant environmental hazard. This is the reason why the government is giving too much effort into eradicating this type of pollution. Part of the eradication program is to use manpower to do the task on oil spill clean up. However, the government also needs to ensure the health of its manpower along with the operation.

This is to ensure that the success of the operation will be addressed and at the same time, the health of the people especially those assigned in the operation is ensured at its high safety level. This is not an easy task to do and in fact, the US government needs to invest its time and financial aspect. Thus, it is important that various studies need to be implemented especially on monitoring associated injuries and illnesses in the Deepwater Horizon response on oil spill clean up in the US Gulf Coast.                       Shown in Table 1 is the summary of injuries and illnesses in the Deepwater Horizon response on oil spill clean up.

The data shown in Table 1 can be used to actually monitor the hazard level brought by the oil spill in the US Coast. As of July 8, 2010, the total number for injuries and illnesses brought by oil spill clean up reached to 1,449 of which 68.9% goes to onshore and 31.1% goes to offshore. Among the selected injuries and illnesses presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are heat stress, multiple symptoms, lacerations/punctures, sprains/strains and muscle pain.

Lacerations/punctures have more reported cases and followed by sprains/strains and muscle pain. Heat stress and multiple symptoms still have many cases but not as much as many to the previously mentioned injuries and illnesses. It is also remarkable that all of the injuries and illnesses have high significant cases onshore. This only suggests that the government needs to give more focus on the health and safety needs of its manpower onshore.

After all, the most vital operation in the cleanup program occurs onshore.           Health hazard associated with cleaning up a crude oil spill                       Although it was not specifically stated in Table 1, dermatitis is highly associated with cleaning up the crude oil spill (United States Department of Labor, 2010, par. 1). A dermatitis is a form of infection or inflammation of the skin and it can be clearly manifested through rashes and more. Workers on oil spill removal are actually using protective clothing so as to ensure their skin will not come in contact with weathered oil.

The problem when the skin comes in contact with the weathered oil is inflammation which is actually a symptom of dermatitis. The United States Department of Labor actually declared that dermatitis can be the result when the skin comes in contact with weathered oil. Thus, protective clothes are necessary for workers on oil spill clean up in order to ensure their protection. The skin may actually come in contact with weathered oil on operations such as removal of oiled debris, cutting oiled vegetation and mopping up liquid oil mousse.

These operations are among the most necessary things to do in order to successfully implement oil spill clean up. However, these operations are also dangerous activities since they may allow the skin to come in contact with weathered oil. With these, the government must really invest in protective clothing in order to ensure the health safety of its workers. However, from the latest report of United States Department of Labor (2010), some workers are actually requesting disposable coveralls not on the intention of protecting their skin but on ensuring their clothes from not getting dirty (par.

4). This is a very important issue and the government must be aware that not all of its workers are actually having an idea on the probable health hazards when their skin comes in contact with weathered oil. Federal safety and health regulations                       It is not enough to actually see government officials generally only until knowing the problem and making solutions of it. The details must be necessarily included. Part of the solution making process on oil spill removal is to protect the workers and ensure their health safety at a maximum level.

It is not enough to only let the public learn of their on-site appearance. They have to create specific moves in order to provide the workers with the maximum protection they need on their health.                       One of the most important things that the government has to ensure is constant and reliable education and training for its people on oil spill removal operation. Extensive training is needed especially on supervisors assigned on onshore and marine cleanup (United States Department of Labor, 2010, par.

2).                       The government must also ensure enough budget for the operation and as well as those who are severely affected in various aspects of life. National emergency grant was actually provided by the government (United States Department of Labor, 2010, par. 1).                       The government needs to sign a memorandum of understanding concerning worker safety and health issues related to oil spill removal (United States Department of Labor, 2010, par. 1). This is not only to ensure health safety of the workers but to encourage participation, close coordination and remarkable participation of all concerned.                       Finally, federal agencies such as OSHA and NIOSH and the like shall need to receive reliable reports those that are accurate about symptoms or illnesses suffered by workers (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2010, par.

5). This is to ensure that necessary actions are implemented efficiently and effectively. Conclusion                       The oil spill in the US Coast is not only reminding the government on its obligation to the health safety of its people, as well as its management capacity.

Many aspects are needed to be managed in this case and the task is not only confined to ensuring public health safety. The ecological balance is also important and the government must regard oil spill a significant threat to the environment.                       The US is known for its political power and with this, it gains a lot more on its economical aspects. The US government can actually solve this problem by using such power. It can create major moves that will not only make the operation on oil spill removal faster but in a very effective manner.

The US cannot do it alone but it needs the help of everyone concerned so as not only to ensure the safety of its people and environment but the entire world.

References

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010, July 27). [Online]. NIOSH Report of Deepwater Horizon Response/BP Illness and Injury Data. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/oilspillresponse/pdfs/NIOSHrot-BPilnessAndInjuryDataApril23-July8-2010.pdf.

Organization for Economic and Co-operation and Development. (2001). [Online]. Glossary of Statistical Terms. Available: http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=1878

United States Department of Labor. (2010, June 10). [Online]. US Department of Labor’s OSHA, federal on scene coordinator sign memorandum to protect worker health, safety during oil spill cleanup. Available: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20100825.htm.

United States Department of Labor. (2010, June 30). [Online]. US Labor Department provides $27 million to help workers displaced by oil spill in Gulf of Mexico. Available: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/eta20100908.htm.

United States Department of Labor. (2010, July 7). [Online].US Department of Labor’s OSHA assistant secretary concerned some oil spill workers not receiving proper training. Available: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20100954.htm.

United States Department of Labor. (2010, July 22). [Online]. US Department of Labor’s OSHA explains requirements for protective clothing during oil spill beach cleanup operations. Available:http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20101034.htm.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2010, July 29). [Online]. OSHA’s Efforts to Protect Workers. Available: http://www.osha.gov/oilspills/index.html.

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