The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an “active to extremely active” 2010 hurricane season for the Atlantic with 14 to 23 named storms this season, of which 8 to 14 will turn into hurricanes and 3 to 7 of those will grow into major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour. Colorado State University forecasters have issued similar predictions: 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. Additional Resources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology
While the BP oil spill may be unique in its size and impact, the April 20, 2010 accident isn’t the first time that the United States has had to deal with an oil spill and its devastating consequences. There have been numerous opportunities to learn from the spills of the past; however, many of the same tactics, techniques and mistakes are being repeated today. In June 1979 there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which at the time was unmatched in its size. Interestingly, many of the tactics that BP executives have tried, including the top hat, top kill, chemical dispersants and booms, were used in the 1979 clean-up effort with relatively little success despite the fact that the spill was located in only about 200 feet of water, whereas the BP spill is in about 5,000 feet of water. The solution to the 1979 spill was ultimately relief wells, which took nine months to completely stop the flow of oil. BP executives have stated that a relief well won’t be in place until at least August. Another unfortunate similarity between oil spills are the health effects that workers have started to experience from cleaning up the BP spill. Similar to the Exxon Valdez spill, workers have been experiencing headaches, vomiting, nausea and respiratory problems. These health issues can often be prevented with the use of protective gear; however, BP has only been providing this necessary equipment to a limited group of workers. These health effects can […]
Fishermen have been reporting popping ears , coughing up stuff, and a weak tingling feeling. A marinee toxicologist reported that the chemicals being used by BP to clean can cause serious bodily injury and even lead to death. In high concentrations the chemicals can fry the brain and cause brain lesions. Lots of fishermen are working sick for fear of losing their jobs. With fishing closed down and a family to feed, the fishermen are doing whatever they can to take care of their families by continuing to work for BP under these conditions. One physician has reported that one fisherman even look as though he had damaged lungs despite never having smoked. Congressman Charlie Melancon has requested the opening of temporary health clinics. Specifically, in an open letter to Health & Human Services Secretary he stated, “Many residents and volunteers are being exposed to hazardous materials on a daily basis, and some will have to travel hours to get treatment at the nearest health care facility. It is imperative that temporary health care clinics be established to provide basic health care services in this geographic area.” Additional Resources: Fishermen Report Illness From BP Chemicals Used In Cleanup Charlie Melancon’s Letter To HHS’s Kathleen Sebelius
Oil spill cleanup workers can face potential hazards from oil byproducts, dispersants, detergents and degreasers. Drowning, heat illness and falls also pose hazards, as can encounters with insects, snakes and other wild species native to the impacted areas. In these situations, OSHA goals include ensuring that workers receive appropriate training and protective equipment. This training tool was developed by National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, as a health and safety resource for “skilled support personnel” who will participate in an oil spill response and cleanup. This tool will help workers understand at an awareness level what an oil spill is, characteristics of an oil spill response, and how to identify and control hazards pertaining to the response and cleanup activities associated with an oil spill. Trainers may use this tool (Safety And Health Awareness for Oil Spill Cleanup Workers.pdf) to aid in the development of an oil spill awareness level course or other awareness level materials (fact sheets, table-top activities, etc.). PLEASE NOTE: This is the FOURTH VERSION of the training tool and it will continue to be updated. Refer to http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/index.cfm?id=2495 for the most current version. For information from OSHA on worker safety guidelines during oil spill cleanup, visit http://www.osha.gov. These web pages include information from federal and other sources intended to protect the health and safety of workers. Please check back often; we will continue to update the page with the most current information.