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Incident Safety and Health



Joselito S. Ignacio, CIH, CSP, REHS, MPH

Incident Preparedness and Response Working Group

This document is neither a comprehensive treatment of issues concerning incident safety and health management nor a stand-alone
resource. Scientific and practical knowledge in this area are rapidly accumulating and evolving. It is intended to complement policies
and procedures put into practice by other disciplines within an incident management environment and should be used by the
industrial hygienist in conjunction with existing information.
AIHA and the authors disclaim any liability, loss, or risk resulting directly or indirectly from the use of the practices and/or theories
discussed in this handbook. Moreover, it is the readers responsibility to stay informed of policies adopted specifically in the readers
Specific mention of manufacturers, membership organizations, and products in this guideline does not represent an endorsement by
Copyright 2008 by the American Industrial Hygiene Association
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, in an electronic retrieval system or otherwise, without the prior written
permission of the publisher.
Stock Number: SEPH08-744
ISBN: 978-1-931504-93-5
Published by American Industrial Hygiene Association
2700 Prosperity Ave., Suite 250, Fairfax, VA 22031
Printed in the United States of America.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

Chapter 1 Common Responsibilities.......................................1
Chapter 2 Safety Staff Organization and
Chapter 3 Operations Planning Cycle...................................13
Chapter 4 Hazard Risk Analysis............................................35
Chapter 5 Site Safety and Health Plan ..................................49
Chapter 6 Air Monitoring Plan and Execution ....................65
Chapter 7 Decontamination Guidelines ...............................85
Chapter 8 Respiratory Protection ..........................................95
Chapter 9 Personal Protective Equipment..........................113

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Table of Contents

Appendix I Cold Injury Prevention.....................................119

Appendix II Heat Inquiry Prevention Quick Reference...121
Appendix III Safety Officer Deployment List....................123
Appendix IV Food Safety Quick Reference........................127
Appendix V Fire Safety Quick Reference ...........................131
Appendix VI Hazards Associated with Rescues ...............135
Appendix VII Hazards Associated with Confined
Space Entries..........................................................................137
Appendix VIII Hazards Associated with Boating
Appendix IX Hazards Associated with Body Recovery
and Evidentiary Collection..................................................141
Appendix X Hazards Associated with Working in and
around Damaged Structures ...............................................143
Appendix XI Safety Display Board .....................................145
Appendix XII Dive Operations ............................................147
Appendix XIII List of Acronyms..........................................151

ll assigned incident safety officers, or their support
staffs, should follow this checklist to ensure proper
items or affairs are taken care of.

Receipt of Assignment from Ones Company

or Government Agency
Job assignment designated (e.g., position);
Brief overview of the type and magnitude of the incident;
Travel instructions, including reporting location and reporting time;
Any special communications instructions (e.g., cell
phone numbers of persons to contact at the incident);
Incident-related information from the media, internet,
or other sources;
Personal equipment readiness should be checked;
Travel information should be given to supervisor, family
members, and friends, as appropriate;
Review this handbook; and
After preparations are complete, relax.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Chapter 1
Common Responsibilities
Arrival at the Incident
Know where the check-in locations are. They may be located at the
Base camp where the reader will lodge;
Incident command post;
Staging area;
(Note 1: If instructed to report directly to an on-scene assignment, check in with the designated incident commander or designated incident safety officer via radio or telephone communication.)
(Note 2: Always check-in. Incident command staff and general staff need to know of arrivals.)
Receive a brief from the incident commander or deputy
incident commander. Assistant safety officers should receive the briefing from the incident safety officer. Technical specialists (THSP) should receive the briefing from
the planning section chief or the deputy;
Read and if possible, get a copy of the incident action
plan and the incident safety plan;

Acquire other necessary work material;

Know the organizational chart, who are the
agencies/parties involved, etc.
Participate in meetings and briefings as required;
Report unsafe conditions that may have been noticed
coming in;
If designated as the incident safety officer, one should
know where their people are at all times. Implement a
sign-in/sign-out board if necessary. Have a contact roster for their cell phones or radio frequencies;
When communicating, always use clear text and ICS terminology in all radio communications;
One should begin writing the unit log from the time that
they report in until they are relieved at the end of the
operation. They should keep copies for themselves at
the end of the the duty operation.
Report any signs/symptoms of extended incident stress,
injury, fatigue, or illness for oneself or coworkers to the
Brief shift replacements on ongoing operations when relieved at operational periods or rotation out; and
Carry out all assignments, as directed, within the legal,
ethical and health/safety standards. Use good

Getting Organized
Incident safety officers need sufficient workspace, depending upon the number of assistant safety officers
and technical specialists assigned. Assume that the same
workspace for the incident safety officers is co-located
with the incident command post, and will be used by
each work shift. Also, consider that some assistant
safety officers may need to be attached with division or
group supervisors in the field versus working out of the
incident command post.
Recordkeeping files should be kept in either an accordion-type folder or filing cabinet. It is recommend that
the files be indexed, as a minimum:
Incident action plans
Site safety plans (Note: approved versions with
Unit logs (Consolidate from the staff at the end of
each operational period)
Contact lists
Air monitoring logs
Accident reports
Hazard and risk analysis worksheets; and
Other indexed files as appropriate.
Office and IT-support requirements:
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Dedicated telephone for incident safety officers. If

staff increases to six personnel, request an additional
telephone line
Pens (Medium or fine-point) 1 box
Pencils 1 box
Field notebooks 1 packet
Writing Easel with permanent markers 1 each
Laptop or desktop computers 1 per Safety Officer
Shared printer
Shared Fax machine
Safety display board refer to Appendix XI
Two-drawer filing cabinet or two accordion-type folders for filing
Shared copy machine
Flash memory 1 each

People to Meet
Very early into the arrival, incident safety officers should
begin to identify and work with key stakeholders whose jobs
will be directly impacted during this response. They can
simply walk over to introduce themselves, and their official
incident staff function.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

As a minimum, the following people should be met

early on:
Incident commander or members of the unified command (If the reader is the incident safety officer for the
overall response operation)
Deputy incident commander; (Note: Performs duties of
a chief of staff)
Operations section chief and his/her deputy
Members of ones own safety staff
Planning section chief
Situation unit leader
Division/group supervisors
Logistics section chief
Finance section chief
Medical unit leader
Eventually, you will meet their respective staff sections
as you and your staff members move up the planning P

Respond to demobilization orders and brief subordinates regarding demobilization;

Brief shift replacements on ongoing operations when relieved at operational periods or rotation out.
Prepare personal belongings for demobilization.
Return all issued equipment before departing the AO;
Follow the check-out procedures, which should be implemented.
Participate in after-action meetings and file the appropriate reports for lessons learned.
Upon demobilization, notify the incident safety officer,
the deputy and incident commander, the resource unit
leader (RESL) at the incident site, and the home
company/agency of a safe return.

Keys to Successful Incident Safety and Health

Although there are a myriad of different ideas on how to
best approach safety and health in an incident, there are
basic tenets to follow regardless of the size and scope of a
1. Maintain professionalism always.
Focus at the tasks at hand.
Be courteous, yet decisive and clear on actions to
recommend and to implement.
The incident safety officer works for the incident

commander and the unified command. Tell them the

hazards, the risks associated with those hazards, and the
priority recommendations to control them. Although the
IC/UC may disagree, the SOFR s job is to advise and
recommend. Dont take things personally, particularly
in an incident.
Early on, the incident safety officer has to earn the trust
and respect of the IC/UC, fellow command staff, the
general staff, and the response and recovery workers. To
accomplish this, the SOFR should give respect to everyone that they meet and work with.
Work as a team with the safety staff.
The SOFR may get assigned an aspect of safety and
health that they are not totally familiar with. Ask questions, read up on any available field books, and if possible,
access the internet.
2. Be Clear and Concise in Communication.
If one has difficulty being clear and concise, using bulleted statements to convey the health and safety risks,
then they should pick someone in the staff that can.
The response workers and most senior members of an
IC/UC will NOT be familiar with industrial hygiene,
safety, or environmental health information.
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Keep briefings, and written words short and to the point

Also, lengthy explanations within your safety and health
plans or messages WILL NOT be read thoroughly. Time
is running short.
3. Triage Safety and Health Risks.
Remember, the existence of an incident command staff
is to support the operations in the field.
Focus on high priority controls that can prevent or
minimize hazards intended to:
Prevent immediate death; and
Prevent immediate serious and debilitating injury.
Remember that the incident safety officer is attempting
to effectively manage an entire incident response or recovery operation from a health and safety perspective. If
there are specialized tasks required, like air monitoring
or occupational medical surveillance, formally request
subject matter experts for those more focused and time
intensive tasks.
4. Be Decisive.
Make a decision on the hazards, their risks, and the
controls necessary to prevent or minimize their
Avoid lengthy, philosophical discussions until meal
breaks or off-shift hours.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Remember, the site safety and health plan is a key component to an incident action plan. The SCFR shouldnt
let the entire process wait for them to catch-up on their
decision making.
Also, if safety officers see a very serious hazardous event
about to happen, Stop the operation! That is the incident
safety officers job, and why the IC/UC depends on
them to do it.
5. Keep Improving the Program.
The biggest mistake is to stop with the low-hanging
fruit when it comes to advising and preventing health
and safety hazards and their risks.
Definitely address these issues and fix them early on,
but the SOFR should remember who they are.
If the SOFR is an industrial hygienist, they should
start executing a more thorough exposure assessment
strategy looking at chronic exposures both dermal
and inhalational routes.
If the SOFR is a safety engineer, they should get moving on conducting more thorough engineering and
structural analysis.
If the SOFR is an environmental health professional,
they should consider developing an on-site hazard
analysis critical control point (HACCP) program,

particularly when dealing with large food-service

operations serving hundreds of responders and
support staff.
Dont ever settle for just enforcing safety and health
recommendations from the first produced incident site
safety and health plan.

1. U.S. Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (COMDTPUB P3120.17A). Washington,
DC: U.S. Coast Guard, 2006.

American Industrial Hygiene Association


Chapter 2
Safety Staff Organization and Responsibilities

Safety Officer (SOFR)

The SOFR function is to develop and recommend measures
for assuring the personnel safety and to assess and/or anticipate hazardous and unsafe situations. Only one primary
SOFR will be assigned for each incident.
The SOFR may have assistants as necessary, and these assistants may also represent assisting agencies or jurisdictions.
Safety assistants may have specific responsibilities, such as air
operations, hazardous materials, or maritime operations.
The major responsibilities of the SOFR are:
1) Review the common responsibilities listed in Chapter 1;
2) Participate in tactics and planning meetings, and other
meetings and briefings as required;
3) Identify hazardous situations associated with the incident;
4) Review the IAP for safety and health implications;
5) Provide safety and health advice in the IAP for assigned
6) Exercise emergency authority to stop and prevent
unsafe acts;
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

7) Investigate accidents that have occurred within the incident areas, to include support locations such as the base
camp or staging areas;
8) Assign assistants, as needed;
9) Review and approve the medical plan by coordinating
with the medical unit leader;
10) Develop the site safety plan and publish the site safety
plan summary as required;
11) Develop a work safety analysis worksheet as required;
12) Ensure that all required agency or company forms, reports, and documents are completed prior to demobilization;
13) Brief command on safety issues and concerns; and
14) Have a briefing with the IC prior to demobilization;

Assistant Safety Officers (ASOF)

These individuals function to support the responsibilities of
the SOFR. As with any leadership tenet, the SOFR retains the
responsibilities listed in paragraph 1, but can delegate

authority, as required, in the execution of those responsibilities. The ASOF shall be prepared to assist the SOFR in any of
the responsibilities, as required. Specific tasks may include
the following:
1) Attend and participate in tactics and planning meetings,
or other meetings and briefings, as directed;
2) Perform the duties of a field observer (FOB) to identify
and verify health and safety compliance of incident response personnel;
3) Plan, coordinate, and conduct health and safety briefings during the operations brief or in other designated
meeting and briefing engagements;
4) Recommend to the SOFR to exercise emergency authority to stop and prevent unsafe acts; or perform such
emergency authority if the situation is imminent and the
SOFR cannot be advised in time;
5) Review the medical plan;
6) Develop the site safety plan, and submit a site safety
plan summary to the SOFR;
7) Develop the hazard and risk analysis worksheet;
8) Plan, coordinate, and conduct an air monitoring plan, as
9) If the SOFR is unavailable, brief the command on safety
issues and concerns;

10) Develop a demobilization plan with approval from the

SOFR for the incident safety staff;
11) Perform other additional duties, as assigned; and
12) Maintain a unit log.

Assistant Safety Officer

Hazardous Materials(ASOF-HAZMAT)
These are specific individuals that coordinate safety-related
activities directly related to hazardous substances or material group operations, as mandated under 29 CFR 1910 Part
120. They advise the hazardous substance/material group
supervisor (or equivalent, if appropriate) on all aspects of
health and safety and have the authority to stop or prevent
unsafe acts. In a multi-activity incident, the ASOF-HAZMAT
does not act as the safety officer for the overall incident. Specific functions include the following:
1) SOFR responsibilities described above;
2) Obtain a briefing from the hazardous substance/material group supervisor;
3) Participate in the preparation and implementation of a
site safety plan;
4) Advise the hazardous substance/material group supervisor (or branch director) of deviations from the site
safety plan or any dangerous situations;
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5) Alter, suspend, or terminate any activity that is judged

to be unsafe;
6) Ensure the protection of the hazardous substance/material group personnel from physical, environmental, and
chemical hazards/exposures;
7) Ensure the provision of required emergency medical
services for assigned personnel and coordinate with the
medical unit leader; and
8) Maintain a unit log.

Technical Specialists (THSP)

Certain incidents or events may require the use of THSPs
with specialized knowledge and expertise. THSPs may function within the planning section or be assigned under the
function wherever their services are required. In this publication, assignment may occur under the SOFR. The major responsibilities of THSPs are:
1) Review the common responsibilities in Chapter 1;
2) Provide technical expertise and advice to command and
general staff as needed;
3) Attend meetings and briefings as appropriate to clarify
and help to resolve technical issues within their area of
expertise; and
4) Maintain a unit log.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Technical Specialist
Industrial Hygienists (THSP-IH)
These professionals characterize the workplace environment
by anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazards. There may be very hazardous conditions in an incident
that are not well characterized and may pose long-term
health effects. Hazards that are inhalable, ingestable, or absorbable through the skin require some level of quantification
in order to determine the risk and the appropriate controls.
THSP-IHs can be assigned any of the following duties:
1) Evaluate the work safety analysis worksheet to further
define specific hazards that may require further research;
2) Based on any airborne-type hazards and the types of operations involved, develop, coordinate and execute an
air monitoring plan (AMP);
3) Based on any gas, vapor, liquid or particulate matter
which can be dermally absorbed, develop, coordinate
and execute a dermal monitoring and sampling method;
4) Based on the phase of a response operation, determine
the appropriate occupational exposure limits (OELs)
that ought to be used as a reference benchmark for determining over-exposures at the incident;

5) Identify noise hazards and perform the appropriate

sound level surveys and/or noise dosimetry surveys;
6) Advise, based upon the hazards identified and characterized on-site, the appropriate engineering controls,
personal protective equipment (PPE), and safe work
practices (SWP);
7) Based on the airborne hazards, and operations involved,
develop a respiratory protection plan, and in turn, coordinate and conduct respiratory fit-testing/training as
well as coordinating for the medical qualification
process for the respirator wearers; and
8) Perform other SOFR duties as delegated.

Technical Specialist
Industrial Hygiene Technician (THSP-IH TECH)
These are professionals that assist a THSP-IH or SOFR to execute specific IH tasks, as assigned. They may be expected to
perform the following functions:
1) Calibrate and maintain air monitoring, noise survey or
other exposure monitoring equipment;
2) Perform air monitoring, noise survey or other exposure
monitoring as directed by either the SOFR or THSP-IH;
3) Write out air monitoring, noise survey, or other exposure monitoring logs or reports as directed;

4) Perform health and safety compliance evaluations onsite IAW the current SSHP; and
5) Perform other SOFR type duties as assigned.

Technical Specialist Safety and Health Field

Observer (THSP SHFOB)
These professionals serve as the eyes and ears of the SOFR
in observing and identifying safety and health hazards. Ideally, assigning an SOFR very familiar with the operation
being performed is extremely beneficial (e.g., having a
THSP-SHFOB with a hazardous material technician training
qualification observe a decontamination process). They may
perform the following functions:
1) Perform on-site safety and health inspections or observations to validate compliance with safe work practices
and the current SSHP;
2) Maintain a unit log of activities and observations;
3) May assist the SOFR, the THSP-IH or THSP IH tech in
performing health and safety functions;
4) Advise the supervisor at the division or group, or the
strike team leader on health and safety issues and concerns; and
5) Perform other SOFR-type duties as assigned.
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Technical Specialist
Safety Engineer (THSP-SFTYENG)
Significant incidents may require complex systems design in
order to perform rescue or recovery operations. The THSPSFTYENG takes an early design of a system, analyzes it to
find what faults can occur, and then proposes safety requirements in design specifications up front and changes to existing systems to make the system safer. Specific functions vary
tremendously depending on the type of situation or system
being developed or modified. In general, if an incident calls
for elaborate equipment or systems, a safety engineer should
be brought in early and immediately brought into the design

Technical Specialist Occupational Medicine

Though a unit medical plan generally supports the emergency medical treatment support and evacuation needs of
response personnel, often an on-site THSP-OCCMEDSPEC is
needed to focus on specific work-related illness and injuries
associated with response operations. Response personnel
who may require respiratory protection but have not been
medically cleared should have a medical evaluation, if required, based on a medical review of the personnels
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

response to the OSHA Respiratory Medical Evaluation

Questionnaire. Other duties may involve the following:
1) Understanding the specific hazards and workplace conditions at the incident in order to advise the SOFR on
possible pre- and post-medical surveillance requirements;
2) Provide a medical review and follow-up medical evaluation of response or recovery personnel required to
wear respiratory protection or personal protective
3) Provide medical evaluation of suspected work-related
illness or injury from the incident response site(s) and
help determine the source of exposure; and
4) Develop and maintain a medical surveillance program at
the incident in order to track trends of illness and injuries.

Technical Specialist
Environmental Health Specialist (THSP-EH)
These are professionals educated, trained, and experienced
in performing environmental health functions, such as food
service sanitation inspections, living quarters/shelter sanitation, hospital/institutional environmental health, waste and
wastewater disposal oversight, drinking water quality, pest
management, and injury prevention programs. Professionals
assigned as a THSP-EH should be registered environmental

health specialists/registered sanitarians (REHS/RS). For performing food service sanitation inspections, these individuals may also be certified food safety professionals (CFSP).


1. U.S. Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (COMDTPUB P3120.17A). Washington,
DC: U.S. Coast Guard, 2006.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

Chapter 3
Operations Planning Cycle

ost of the information in this chapter is verbatim

from the U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management
Handbook.(1) This Handbook succinctly lays out the
operational planning cycle very well. Subsequently, the SOFR
and his/her staffs need to mirror the exact operational planning
cycle when developing and refining a site safety and health
plan (SSHP). This gives the SOFR and staff the opportunity to
effectively integrate into the overall incident response operations to ensure that hazards are identified, communicated to the
incident operators with recommended control measures, and
documented in an SSHP when the incident action plan (IAP)
for the upcoming operational period is published.

Initial Response and Assessment

Figure 3.1 Reprinted from the U.S. Coast Guard

Incident Management Handbook.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

This occurs in all incidents where the on-scene incident commander first reporting to the scene performs the required and
immediate response measures after a rapid assessment. Under
almost every circumstance, the initial response and assessment
has no assigned SOFR, but the responsibilities of the SOFR lie
with the IC on-scene until delegated. An incident briefing form
is used.

Incident Briefing
When an incident transfers command from a local on-scene
incident commander to one with higher jurisdictional authorities (e.g., incident commander (IC)/unified command
(UC)), an incident briefing is conducted. A standardized incident briefing form (e.g., an ICS-201 form) is used, which has
basic information regarding the incident situation and the resources allotted to the incident. Most importantly, the form
and briefing functions as the IAP for the initial response and
remains in force and continues to develop until the response
ends or the newly assigned Planning Section generates the
incidents first IAP. It is also suitable for briefing individuals
newly assigned to the command and general Staff, incoming
tactical resources, as well as needed assessment briefing for
the staff.


Incident Briefing Agenda:

1) Current situation (use of maps/charts, affected area,
safety concerns)
2) Initial objectives and priorities
3) Current and planned actions
4) Current on-scene organization
5) Resource assignments
6) Resources en-route and/or ordered
7) Facilities established
8) Incident potential (e.g., escalate further into other areas
or not)

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Safety & Health Items to Note

1. Safety and health concerns mentioned, if
2. Safety and health concerns not mentioned
that should have been;
3. Safe work practices and PPE being used, or
should be used;
4. Chemical, biological, and radiological
exposures not mentioned.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Initial Unified Command Meeting

This provides the UC officials with an opportunity to discuss
and concur on important issues prior to the UC objectives
meeting. The meeting should be brief and all important decisions and direction should be documented. Prior to the
meeting, ICs should have an opportunity to review and prepare to address the agenda items. The results of this meeting
will help to guide the overall response.


The UC is formed prior to the first meeting

UC member or the designated Planning
Section Chief (PSC)
Only ICs that will comprise the UC, and
documentation unit leader (DOCL)

Incident UC Meeting Agenda:

1) Meeting brought to order, cover ground rules and
reviews the agenda
2) Validate the make-up of the newly formed UC
3) Clarify the UCs roles and responsibilities
4) Review agency policies, as appropriate
5) Negotiate and agree on key decisions, which may
a. UC jurisdictional boundaries and focus (Area of
Responsibilities (AOR))
b. Name of the Incident
c. Overall response organization
d. Location of the incident command post
f. Operational period/length/start time and work shift
g. Designation of a operations section chief and deputy
h. Identification of key command and general staff assignments and technical support as needed
6) Summarize and document key decisions

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Safety and Health Focus

Unless a SOFR has been assigned, the responsibilities of the SOFR lie with the IC/UC. Typically,
the SOFR would not participate at the initial UC
command meeting. It is, however, important to
note the key decisions that come from this meeting, because those decisions will drive the operations. In turn, the operations will drive the types
of health and safety controls required. Forward
thinking is crucial because these decisions have
implied tasks that require safety and health input
(e.g., if a key decision is to stop an uncontrollable
leak of hazardous material, it is implied that a
Level A or B entry may be required).

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Unified Command Objectives Meeting

(aka Strategy Meeting)
The UC will set response priorities, identify any limitations
and constraints, develop incident objectives, and establish
guidelines. All products and decisions from this meeting will
be presented at the command and general staff meeting.


Prior to command and general staff meeting

IC/UC member or PSC
IC/UC members, selected command and general staff, DOCL

Meeting Agenda:
1) PSC brings meeting to order, conducts roll call, covers
ground rules, and reviews agenda
2) Review and/or update key decisions
3) Develop or review/update response priorities, limitations, ad constraints
4) Develop or review incident objectives; (Key SOFR input
Health and Safety of Response Personnel)
5) Develop or review/update key procedures which may
a. Managing sensitive information;
b. Information flow;
c. Resource order (Key SOFR should know how to request safety/health equipment, safety and health personnel,
d. Cost sharing and cost accounting; and
e. Operational security issues
6) Develop or review/update tasks for command and
general staff to accomplish
7) Agree on the division of UC workload
8) Prepare for the command and general staff meeting

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Safety and Health Focus

Include as an incident objective Ensure health and
safety of response personnel. It needs to be the primary focus with all of the other incident objectives
to accomplish.
Note the procedures for ordering resources such as
SOFR/ASOFRs/technical specialty personnel,
IH/safety equipment, PPE, etc.
Based on the objectives and specific operational issues, begin to gather the types of information
needed to begin hazard assessment and analysis and
the types of controls that may be required.
After this meeting, if the assistant safety officers are
present and available, begin delegating tasks such as
field observers for hazard recognition and gathering
any air monitoring data from response personnel.
This is a good opportunity for the SOFR to begin
delegating to the ASOF to attend sideline meetings that the operations section or planning section
may have in order to facilitate the incorporation of
safety and health guidance.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Command and General Staff Meeting

At this meeting, IC/UC will present their decisions and
management direction to the command and general staff
members. This meeting should clarify and help to ensure understanding among the staff on the decisions, objectives, priorities, procedures, and functional assignments (tasks) that
the UC has discussed and reached agreement on. Further
command and general staff meetings will cover any changes
in command direction, review open actions and status of assigned tasks.


Prior to tactics meeting

IC/UC members, command and general staff,
situation unit leader (SITL), and DOCL

Meeting Agenda:
1) PSC brings meeting to order, conducts roll call, covers
ground rules, and reviews agenda
2) SITL conducts situation status briefing
3) IC/UC provides the following:
a. Provides comments;
b. Reviews key decisions, priorities, constraints and limitations (if new or changed);
c. Discusses incident objectives;
d. Reviews key procedures (if new or changed); and
e. Assigns or reviews functional tasks/open actions.
4) PSC facilitates open discussion to clarify priorities,
objectives, assignments, issues, concerns and open
5) IC/UC provides closing comments.

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Safety and Health Focus

From this meeting, SOFR and staff should begin developing
the SSHP. (ICS-208 Form)
Most of the hazards at the tactical operations level should
have been recognized, documented, and controls should
either have been implemented or at least identified.
Hazards involving airborne particulate, gases, or vapors,
will not necessarily be quantitatively analyzed at this point,
unless initial air monitoring has already been executed.
Identify this hazard assessment as a task to accomplish, but
based on good judgment and hazard analysis at the site, develop and recommend good controls in the form of engineering, safe work practices, and/or PPE.
SOFR staff should utilize a Hazard/Risk Analysis Worksheet to characterize the types of hazards present, and the
controls to use. (ICS-215a Form)
SOFR and staff should address immediate health and safety
hazards, and what controls should be implemented using a
formal message form (ICS-213) and transmitted to the
IC/UC, command staff, general staff, and division/group

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Preparations for the Tactics Meeting

During this phase, the OSC and PSC will begin to review the
incident objectives to determine general staff responsibilities.
A work analysis matrix (ICS-334 Form) helps tremendously
to document the types of strategies and tactics needed to accomplish the incident objectives. An operational planning
worksheet (ICS-215 Form) is also drafted to help in identifying the types of resources required in order to accomplish
the tasks required. The PSC facilitates and supports this
process as much as possible.
This is not a meeting, it is a process.


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Safety and Health Focus

SOFR and staff should begin to finalize the draft of
the hazard analysis worksheet (ICS-215a). As the
OSC and PSC develop their ICS-215, it would help
if the SOFR or staff bring the ICS-215a so that the
hazards and risks associated with the tactical operations can be identified at the same time. Note that
many of these hazards and risks may already have
been identified at this point from site visits by the
SOFR or staff, but it helps reinforce the identification of those hazards.
On-site characterization of the hazards as well as
verification of compliance with the appropriate
control measures should be on-going during this
preparation phase. As new hazards are identified,
they should be documented and included in the

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


This is a 30-minute meeting with the intent of providing operational input into the developing IAP. The OSC should
present the work analysis matrix (ICS-334 Form) and present
the operational planning worksheet (ICS-215 Form). The
SOFR or designated representative should then present the
draft hazard/risk analysis worksheet (ICS-215a). Input from
the attendees is vital to ensure that the tactics is sound and


Prior to planning meeting

needed), communications unit leader (COML),
resource unit leader (RESL), logistics section
chief (LSC)

1) PSC brings meeting to order, conducts roll call, covers
ground rules, and reviews agenda
2) SITL reviews the current and projected incident
3) PSC reviews incident operational objectives and ensures
accountability for each
4) OSC reviews the work analysis matrix (ICS-234) strategy and tactics
5) OSC reviews and/or completes the operational planning worksheet (ICS-215), which addresses the work
assignments, resource commitments, contingencies,
and needed support facilities (e.g., staging areas)
6) OSC reviews and/or completes operations section
organization chart
7) SOFR reviews and/or completes the hazard risk analysis worksheet (ICS-215a) and identifies and resolves any
critical safety issues
8) Based upon the matrix and worksheets, the LSC
discusses and resolves any logistics issues
9) PSC validates connectivity of tactics and operational

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Safety and Health Focus

SOFR presents the draft ICS-215a, and updates the draft with any new information or
changes to the operation, as necessary.
Be prepared to accept any safety and health
issues from the other attendees that may not
have been identified before, or may require
further investigation to validate those
During this meeting, the SOFR staff continually maintains field observation of the tactical operations on-site and notes any new
operations or hazards not previously identified on the ICS-215a.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Preparations for the Planning Meeting

The command and general staffs now prepare for the upcoming planning meeting. PSC facilitates this process.
This is not a meeting, it is a process.


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Safety and Health Focus

SOFR develops the final version of the draft
ICS-215a with any new information or
changes to the operation, as necessary.
SOFR and staff should begin to develop the
site safety plan (ICS SOFR).
SOFR and staff should be inquiring, if not already received, about reviewing the unit
medical plan from the medical unit leader. If
a medical unit has not been asked for, SOFR
should take this as an immediate action to
the logistics section chief.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Planning Meeting
This meeting provides an overview of the tactical plan to
achieve the IC/UCs current direction, priorities and objectives. The OSC will present the proposed plan to the command and general staff for review and comment. The OSC
will discuss strategy and tactics that were considered and
chosen to best meet the commands direction for the next operational period. The OSC will also briefly discuss how the
incident will be managed along with work assignments,
resources, and support required to implement the proposed
plan. This meeting provides the opportunity for the command and general staff to discuss and resolve any issues and
concerns prior to assembling the incident action plan (IAP).
After review and updates are made, planning meeting attendees commit to support the plan.

After the tactics meeting

IC/UC, command staff (e.g., SOFR), general
staff, SITL, DOCL and THSP (as needed).

1) PSC brings meeting to order, conducts roll call, covers
ground rules and reviews agenda
2) IC/UC provides opening remarks

3) SITL provides briefing on current situation, resources at

risk, weather/sea forecast and incident projections
4) PSC reviews commands incident priorities, decisions
and objectives
5) OSC provides briefing on current operations followed
with an overview on the proposed plan including strategy, tactics/work assignments (ICS-215 Form), resource
commitment, contingencies, operations section organizational structure, and needed support facilities such as
staging bases
6) PSC reviews proposed plan to ensure that the commands priorities and operational objectives are met
7) PSC reviews and validates responsibility for any open
actions/tasks and management objectives
8) PSC conducts round robin of command and general
staff members to solicit their final input and commitment to the proposed plan:
a. LSC covers transport, communications and supply
updates and issues
b. FSC covers fiscal issues
c. SOFR covers safety issues
d. PIO covers public affairs and public information issues
e. LNO covers interagency issues and
f. Intelligence Officer (INTO) covers intelligence issues
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Safety and Health Focus

During the meeting, the SOFR or staff should
be going over their ICS-215a to ensure that
the tasks, associated hazards and appropriate
controls are in line with the planning effort.
When briefing, the SOFR or representatives
should highlight the hazards and risks, which
are likely to happen and have a high consequence (e.g., serious injury or death if not
properly controlled).
Also, look at the health and safety resources
that an SOFR may need to 1) determine compliance verification (e.g., field observers), 2)
conduct additional air monitoring, 3) to provide safety and health training (e.g., topics,
the audience, etc.), and 4) have adequate and
sufficient PPE and other controls.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


9) PSC requests commands tacit approval of the plan as

presented. IC/UC may provide final comments
10) PSC issues assignments to appropriate members for developing the IAP support documentation along with

Incident Action Plan Preparation and Approval

Appropriate members of the incident management team
(IMT) must now immediately complete the assigned tasks
and products needed to be included in the IAP. These products must meet the deadline set by the PSC so that planning
can assemble the IAP components. The deadline should be
done early enough to permit timely IC/UC review, approval, and duplication of sufficient copies for the operations briefing.
This is not a meeting, it is a process.


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Safety and Health Focus

SOFR and his/her staff are responsible for Site
Safety Plan.
Note that the Site Safety Plan may have attachments, which will be discussed in later chapters.
During this IAP planning processes, SOFR or
his/her designated staff should also be working
with other IMT members, who are assigned various IAP components, but need to ensure that
health and safety considerations are incorporated into their components. For example, SOFR
should be working with
Medical Unit Leader to review and approve
the Medical Plan (ICS-206 Form)
Ground Support Unit Leader (GSUL) on the
transportation plan (e.g., traffic safety)
Technical Specialist developing the Decontamination Plan
Technical Specialist developing the Waste
Management or Disposal (e.g., infectious
waste & its properly handling)

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Operations Briefing


This 30-minute or less briefing presents the IAP to the operations section oncoming shift supervisors. After this briefing
has occurred and during a shift change, off-going supervisors should be interviewed by their relief and by the OSC in
order to validate the IAP effectiveness. The division/group
supervisor may make last minute adjustments to tactics over
which they have a purview. Similarly, a supervisor may reallocate resources within that division/group to adapt to
changing conditions.

1) PSC opens briefing, covers ground rules, agenda and

takes roll call of command and general staff and operations personnel required to attend.
2) PSC reviews the IC/UC objectives and changes to the
IAP using pen and ink changes, if required.
3) IC/UC provides remarks.
4) SITL conducts the situation briefing.
5) OSC discusses current response actions and
6) OSC briefs on the operations section organization and
its personnel.
7) LSC covers transport, communications, and supply updates.
8) FSC covers fiscal issues.
9) SOFR covers safety issues.
10) PIO covers public affairs and public information
11) PSC solicits final comments and adjourns the briefing.



Approximately 1 hour prior to a shift change

IC/UC, command and general staff, branch directors, division/group supervisors, task
force/strike team leaders, unit leaders, and
others as appropriate.

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Safety and Health Focus

The operations briefing is the SOFRs one time opportunity
during the beginning of a new operational period to provide
essential safety and health information to the unit leaders,
branch/division supervisors and command and general staff.
Be succinct on the types of hazards and specific references to
the tactical operations expected during that operational period.
The operations briefing is not about a time to elaborate in excruciating detail the various controls and requirements. This
is why the site safety plan and the appropriate attachments
(e.g., air monitoring plan) are part of the IAP.
Areas to emphasize:
Newly identified hazards with a significant risk of occurring;
Hazards previously identified as a low risk in the previous
operations period, but are not high risk;
Recent near mishaps or mishaps that occurred;
Repeat violations of safety and health compliance items;
Trends of injuries and illnesses; and
Let people know that their help is needed to identify other
hazards or risks.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Assess Progress
As the new operational period begins, the SOFR and staff
need to be out at the site talking with unit leaders, division/branch supervisors as well as keeping up-to-date on
the latest situation. New tasks or operations may occur, and
new contractors may suddenly appear performing work that
the SOFR was not aware of and has not had the opportunity
to assess. Continue to review the IAP and the site safety
plan. Identify areas to improve upon. Gather new information from air monitoring data, or simple field observations.
Improve, improve, and improve.

1. U.S. Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (COMDTPUB P3120.17A). Washington,
DC: U.S. Coast Guard, 2006.


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Need for a Standardized Process
Avoiding a haphazard and inconsistent method of recognizing hazards and determining risks at an incident response is
essential. Although initial response actions warrant a quick
and dirty method of recognizing hazards and determining
risks, the SOFR and his/her staff need to begin quickly controlling the process. Otherwise, hazardous conditions are
likely to get missed or underestimated in their risks of a
mishap. Also, without a standardized process, various response entities, both private and government sector, will develop its own set of processes resulting in a myriad of
controls such as personal protective equipment.

Hazard and Risk Analysis Process

Figure 4.1 depicts the process developed and recommended
for use by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Although the process stems originally from general industrialtype operations, the same process is very sound in an
emergency response venue. The AIHA Exposure Assessment
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Chapter 4
Hazard and Risk Analysis
Model (EAM) is the strategy for anticipating, recognizing,
evaluating, and controlling hazards in the workplace, and
should be the basis for protecting responders in an emergency response scenario.
When initially starting the duties of an SOFR, one must first
begin with identifying and involving stakeholders. Questions to ask when receiving situational briefs include the
What specific operations are occurring right now?
Search-and-rescue (for example)
> Simple walk through the neighborhood door-todoor, or
> Conducting confined space entries among debris
and rumble.
Hazardous material response (for example)
> Units on stand-by to allow the material to release
until the containers are empty, or

> Units conducting deliberate entries to stop the leak,

and what PPE level are they entering with (e.g.,
Level C, Level A).
Who is involved in planning and conducting these
Where are these operations located?
Who are the people involved in those operations to ask
questions about the operation?
What kinds of personal protective equipment, engineering controls, or safe work practices are personnel using?
What environmental hazards are posed to the responders?

People to identify as direct information resources:

Situation unit leader (SITL)

Division/group supervisor
Operations section, or deputy operations section chief
Unit leaders
Unit members themselves

People to identify as indirect information resources:

Logistics section (e.g., resources being ordered is reflective of the type of tactical operations being conducted)
Incident commander or deputy incident commander;
(e.g., give you the major priority work or effort that
needs to be done at the tactical level)

Figure 4.1 AIHA Exposure Assessment Model.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

When talking with people about the operation, take

careful notes. The SOFR and staff should be maintaining a
unit log for recordkeeping and for future references. Delegate assistant SOFRs to talk with certain people, and then
meet back together to begin sharing and comparing notes
about the operation.
Never assume that you know what the operation
entails. Every incident response is unique, not simply by the
location and responding organizations involved, but also by
the method of tactical response. Past response experience is
important, but knowing what is actually occurring at the
scene is more important. What matters in an incident are
real-time events on the ground. Travel, meet and talk with
people, observe, listen, and learn. Safe work practice, PPE,
and engineering controls may have worked in one response,
but not necessarily work in the current response.

be numerous and in many cases, uncharacterized in the

initial response.
2) Incident command post. This area will have the IC/UC,
command and general staff, and possibly the media. Electronics, telecommunications, and other infrastructure

Basic Characterization
This process occurs both during field observation of an incident response operation and when the SOFRs staff gets together to share and compare notes of what they have seen.
Three areas to focus basic characterization efforts:
1) Tactical operations area(s). This area is likely to involve
the most activity and the most people. The hazards can
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)







support systems should be checked to prevent fire and

electrical hazards, trips hazards, or fall hazards.
Evacuation shelters. Where homes have been destroyed
or determined as unsafe for occupancy, these shelters
are major locations often established very quickly with
little forethought on safety and health considerations.
Overcrowding and sanitation can become major public
health issues.
Staging area. Owned by the operations section chief,
staging area has the vehicles and equipment ready to
move and are available to support the operation. How
the vehicles are staged, the conduct of fueling operations,
and traffic safety management are key areas to watch for.
Base camp. In operations expected to last weeks to
months, a base camp may be established at a remote
site, particularly if local hotel services are already
booked or were adversely affected by an event. General
cleanliness, security, fire and electrical safety, and general environmental health issues should be carefully examined. Food service sanitation of contracted
operations should be inspected.
Helibase or Helispot. Unless local airport facilities and
airfields are available, relatively flat and remote locations may be cleared and available to receive and stage

rotary wing aircraft. Fueling and maintenance operations should be examined for potential fire and explosion hazards. Generator set-up should be checked.
Table 4.1 Information Sources for Gathering Information(1)

Collection Methods

Type of Information

Walkaround survey

Operations occurring
Jobs or tasks of that operation
Personal protective equipment worn or
Engineering controls used
Safe work practices used
Division of labor (who does what and when)
Environmental agents
Direct-reading instruments used and their
Review material safety data sheets, cargo
manifests, labels, and placards

Interviews with workers,

and unit leaders

Jobs or tasks that they are performing

Work practices
Any health or safety issues or concerns
PPE, engineering controls, or safe work
practices used
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Training, if any, on the tasks that they are

doing or their knowledge of the hazards
Environmental agents
Interviews with medical
staff or other safety
specialists on-site

Injuries or illnesses seen

Patterns of the injuries or illnesses
Same jobs or operations
Same locations of the cases

After visiting the appropriate sites, talking with the appropriate people, and observing the operation in a shorttime frame, analysis of the findings is important.
Exposure Assessment
After initially identifying the jobs and tasks in addition to
the hazards, an SOFR can begin developing a health and
safety profile. The next step required to characterizing the
health and safety profile is estimating the likelihood of exposure to those hazards, and its variability from operational
period to another. Unlike a generally routine industrial operation, variability exists day-to-day based on the whether personnel are exposed to certain health and safety hazards.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

In an incident response operation, initial exposure assessment will likely be heavily qualitative in nature. In other
words, most of the SOFR staff assessment of exposure will
rely heavily on observation, interviews, and professional
judgement versus air or dermal sampling results. Over the
length of the response, however, efforts should be made to
quantify these exposure assessments in order to validate initial estimates of exposure risks.
Health Risk Rating
For each hazard identified in a particular work assignment,
assess the health effects as a component of risk. Using the
AIHA Health Effects Rating scheme(1), rate the health effects
in the following category:

Health Effect

Life-threatening or disabling injury or illness

Irreversible health effects of concern
Severe, reversible health effects of concern
Reversible health effects of concern
Reversible effects of little concern or no known or
suspected health effects


Exposure Risk Rating

When dealing with hazards associated with chemical, biological or radiological exposures in the respiratory, dermal,
injection, or ingestion route, the ERR is an estimate of the exposure level that response personnel may be exposed to relative to a specific occupational exposure limit (OEL). For
safety hazards, the ERR can be used to define the likelihood
of the hazard actually causing illness, injury or death.
The problem in an incident response is the lack of sufficient quantitative analysis required to determine if chemical,
biological, or radiological exposures are below, near, or
above a particular OEL never mind the fact that the SOFR
may be dealing with an uncharacterized hazardous environment. Here, as indicated in the next section, the SOFR can
rate the level of uncertainty for the assessment, which can
then prompt a higher priority to conduct further information
Safety hazards and environmental agents present with
known significant short-term health effects should be the
primary focus. Time is short for an SOFR and staff to perform hazard and risk analysis. Identifying and assessing the
significant and largely observable hazards should be focused
for immediate control.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

ERR can be rated according to the following AIHA Exposure Risk Rating scheme:

Exposure Rating

Safety Hazard
Rating Category

> Occupational
Exposure Limit

Very High Risk

of Occurrence

50100% of OEL

High Risk of

1049% of OEL

Moderate Risk of

< 10% of OEL

Low Risk of

When determining ERR, review the notes taken from

walkaround surveys, and interviews. Based on the ratings
on the following information:
Monitoring data: area or personal monitoring
Surrogate data: exposure data from past response operations or using another environmental agent also present
in the environment
Modeling data: should be performed a qualified industrial hygienist or other qualified technical specialists
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

based on physical and chemical properties of the environmental agents, but also, the response operations
Controls used by the workers, either engineering, safe
work practices, and/or PPE and their observable effectiveness in controlling exposures.
For selecting the OELs for chemical exposures, refer to
the section on OELs in this handbook.
Risk Level
An SOFR can obtain the risk level quantitatively by simply
adding the category scores obtained from the ERR and HRR.
The higher the sum, the higher the risk level for that particular hazard.
Exposure Judgment
The SOFR must now determine if the exposure to health and
safety hazards identified are either
Acceptable: Hazard identified has been determined to
be low enough that risks associated with the exposure
are low. Though rated acceptable, the SOFR should continue to reassess the particular hazard to verify the acceptability judgment.

Unacceptable: Hazards identified have been determined to have an average exposure or the upper extremes of the exposure (e.g., peak) to be significantly
high exceeding the established OEL. For safety hazards,
these are typically hazards with a significantly high
health risk rating and a high risk of occurrence.
Uncertain: Insufficient data in either the associated response task or job, or information of the hazard may
warrant an SOFR to determine the hazard as uncertain.
Whereby unacceptable judgments assume that the SOFR
knows the specific hazards involved and therefore,
mechanisms of effective controls can be recommended,
uncertain exposure judgments warrant a high priority
for further surveys and other information gathering efforts in order to make the appropriate control recommendations.


American Industrial Hygiene Association

After determining the risk categorizations and exposure
judgments, the SOFR should list the types of controls necessary. Even if further information gathering is required for an
uncertain judgment, the most conservative approaches to
PPE, engineering controls and safe work practices should be
determined and recommended.
The columns for controls are analogous to the ICS-215
form used by the planning and logistics section chiefs to determine resources to successfully perform a particular tactical operation. Controls are types of resources, even if the resources
are safe work practices or training. The importance of this portion of the form is that the SOFR is able to focus essential control resources to particular types of response operations rather
than haphazardly making generalities on the types of controls
that all response operational units have to undertake.

ICS-215A-AIHA Version

Completing Form 215A

Block 7

There are two versions of the 215A available in this publication: the AIHA Version and the U.S. Coast Guard version.
Although the U.S. Coast Guard version is complaint with the
National Incident Management System (NIMS), either form
will effectively provide a comprehensive analysis of the
hazards and risks associated with an incident.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Block 1
Block 2
Block 3
Block 4

Block 5

Block 6

Fill out the incident name.

Fill out the date/time prepared.
Provide the division/group that was assessed.
Define the specific work assignment/task that
is being assessed.
In this block, an SOFR should only specify the
jobs or tasks that have the potential for injury
or illness.
List up to five hazards associated with performing this assignment
If more lines
are needed to list the hazards, continue to the
next set of blocks, but leave blocks 3 and 4
blank, which assumes the information in the
prior blocks still apply.
For each hazard, rate the health, exposure, uncertainty, and risk level per this chapter.
In the column titles, list the specific types of
controls needed to prevent injury or illness.
Recommend that general control categories are
used, such as PPE, Respiratory Protection,
or Eye Protection. This way, the SOFR can
simply check the appropriate blocks on the
same line as the specific hazards identified in

block 5. Specific PPE or respiratory protection

devices would be clarified in the site safety and
health plan.

Block 6

ICS-215A-CG Version
Block 1
Block 2
Block 3
Block 4

Block 5


Fill out the incident name.

Fill out the date/time prepared.
Provide the division/group that was assessed.
Define the specific work assignment/task that
being assessed.
In this block, an SOFR should only specify the
jobs or tasks that have the potential for injury
or illness.
Here, indicate the gain or reason for performing this particular work assignment. Is it to
preserve human health, to provide security,
etc? This may affect the priority of the types of
controls needed for particular work assignments, based on the work assignments level of
importance. Obviously, the work assignments
should be tied back to the priorities established
of IC/UC.

Block 7

Block 8

List the types of general hazard categories that

may be involved in all work assignments identified in this analysis. Then the SOFR will
check the appropriate block underneath the
column heading matched with the particular
work assignment.
List the types of control categories that may be
involved in minimizing or preventing injuries
or illnesses in all work assignments identified
in this analysis. Then the SOFR will check the
appropriate block underneath the column
heading matched with the particular work assignment.
Refer to the rating tables along the bottom of
the form. Using the scales associated with the
severity, probability, and exposure scales, multiply the numbers to obtain a product. The
product ranges under the GAR scale indicate
the appropriate risk, color, and action required
for that particular work assignment. This helps
the SOFR identify the very high risk work assignments, and consequently, prioritizes these
particular assignments for careful monitoring,
and control implementation.
American Industrial Hygiene Association

1. Ignacio, J.S. and W.H. Bullock (Eds.): A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures, Third Edition. Fairfax, VA: AIHA, 2007.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Figure 4.2 AIHA Version of ICS-215A.


American Industrial Hygiene Association

Figure 4.3 Coast Guard ICS-215A Form.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)



Chapter 5
Site Safety and Health Plan

The SSHP is required by state and federal OSHA regulations
to identify and present methods of controlling hazards in the
workplace. Incident response is not exempt from such regulations, and if any workplace required such a plan, incident
response operations would be the reason. These types of jobs
and tasks very often are complex, simultaneously executed,
and involve a myriad of government, private and volunteer
organizations. The need for one SSHP in a particular incident response operation is crucial.

Gathering the Facts

Based on the hazard and risk analysis explained in the previous chapter, an SOFR and staff should immediately begin
writing the SSHP. Items to verify before writing the plan:
Have all of the jobs/tasks associated with the tactical
operations been identified, assessed, and analyzed on
the hazard and risk analysis worksheet?
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Have appropriate discussions and interview with key

stakeholders, as described in the previous chapter, been
conducted and the information collected via unit logs
and/or on the hazard and risk analysis worksheet?
Are the incident objectives established by the IC/UC
Are there new tactical operations being conducted that
have not been captured from the initial information
gathering process?

Core Elements of the Plan

Site safety and health plan: States the hazards and
types of controls necessary to prevent injury and illness.
SSHP Site Map: This form will assist in graphically depicting the specific worksite and where the hazards are
located, if possible. It may also show entry and exit
points into a worksite, decontamination locations, emergency medical support units, and other appropriate crucial safety and health resources.

Emergency Response Plan: Every incident response

should address emergencies that may occur during the
operation. The plan should include the following:
Medical Emergencies: Who to call (e.g., frequencies
or 911), on-site medical treatment, or locations of
medical evacuation assets
Unexpected hazardous material, radiological, or
biological releases
Fire and explosives hazards
Motor vehicle, truck, or ship/boat accidents
Other as appropriate
Worker Acknowledgement Form: This form is intended
to be signed by every response worker involved in those
jobs/tasks addressed in the SSHP. Division/Group supervisors should be using the SSHP as part of their daily
operations brief prior to commencing work.

Block 6:

Block 7:
Block 8:

Site Safety and Health Plan

Blocks 14:
Block 5:


Indicate the division/group that this particular
SSHP page addresses. If other
divisions/groups are performing similar job
tasks/activity, all of them may be addressed on
the same page(s).

Block 9:

Block 10:

Indicate the specific location and the size of

the site that this SSHP is applicable to. References to boundary lines or geographic delineations (e.g., streets or highways) are also
good to reference in this block. Particularly in
a large site location, the job tasks/activity may
be performed throughout a significant area.
So, division/group supervisors ought to be
cognizant that this SSHP applies to response
personnel in the identified site location and
the applicable areas in and adjacent to it, as
This links to the SSHP-B Form for an Emergency Response Plan. Use of 911 at an incident
response operation should not be assumed,
but verified as the true emergency call number.
Radio frequencies may apply.
Attachments should include material safety
data sheets (MSDS), air monitoring results, and
other information applicable to the response
operation identified as key information.
This information should be derived from the
hazard and risk analysis worksheet, as
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described in the previous chapter. Keys to

successfully writing out the information are:
Be specific on the job task/activity, hazards,
and potential injuries/health effects, using
13 words maximum.
Align the hazards, associated injuries/health
effects, and controls using an (a), (b), (c) subparagraph identifier in each block.
If a particular job task/activity exceeds the
space allowed, continue to the next block,
but continue to use the subsequent subparagraph identifier.
On controls, specify types of controls, but
not a particular manufacturer, make, or
model. If the response personnel are already
using the types of controls being recommended, it can be annotated as as currently
used after the control descriptor.
Remember, this SSHP is read by the workers
and their supervisors. Avoid technical jargon
and other information not required for their
knowledge. Time is essential.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

SSHP Site Map

Blocks 18:
Blocks 9
and 10:

Follow the instructions indicated in block 9.
Emphasis is simplicity for the response personnel to know where the work zones, the significant hazards, the perimeter security, refuge
locations, decon line, and evacuation routes
ought to be. Additional pages and diagrams
may be required if the site is very large and/or
many hazards are identified in just one portion
of the site.

SSHP Emergency Response Plan

Blocks 116: Fairly self-explanatory. Key areas to clarify:
If the response personnel, division, or group supervisor
already have established an emergency response plan
for their site, incorporate their plan into this form.
Clear any alarm, emergency notification procedures, decontamination, and site security measures with the operations section and planning section. Clarify who will
do those actions, when, where, how, and whether they
know that they are performing those functions. Avoid

working this plan in a vacuum. Do not make up signals and alarms or assume that assets are available onsite to do emergency decontamination or site security if
they are not actually present.

1. U.S. Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (COMDTPUB P3120.17A). Washington,
DC: U.S. Coast Guard, 2006.

Response Worker Acknowledgement Form

All blocks should be completed by the unit leader, and then,
handed through the division/group supervisor to the SOFR.
These forms shall be kept for record and for the documentation unit. The signed records should be attached to the SSHP
so that auditors of the incident response know what information was read and acknowledged.


American Industrial Hygiene Association

Site Safety & Health Plan

Annex ICS Compatible Site

Safety and Health Plan Table of Forms

Site Safety & Health Plan for Incident






Graphically depict site operations

Emergency Response Plan


Identify key emergency response actions during

incident response operations

Worker Acknowledgement Form


Required worker acknowledgement that they have

read the SSHP and its attachments

* Required only if function or equipment is used during a response

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)




1. Incident Name

2. Date/Time Prepared

3. Operational Period

5. Division/Group:

6. Location and Size of Site

7. Site Accessibility
Land Water Air

8. For Emergencies Contact: 9. Attachments: Attach

MSDS for each Chemical

10. Job Task/Activity


Potential Injury and

Health Effects

Exposure Routes

4. Safety Officer
(include method of contact)

Controls: Engineering,
Administrative, PPE



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11. Prepared By:

12. Date/Time Briefed:

*HAZARD LIST: Physical/Safety, Toxic, Explosion/Fire,

Oxygen Deficiency, Ionizing Radiation, Biological, Biomed- Page
ical, Electrical, Heat Stress, Cold Stress, Ergonomic, Noise,
Cancer, Dermatitis, Drowning, Fatigue, Vehicle, Diving

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)



1. Incident Name

2. Date/Time Prepared

3. Operational Period

5. Division/Group:

6. Location and Size of Site

7. Site Accessibility
Land Water Air

8. For Emergencies Contact: 9. Include:

- Work Zones
- Locations of Hazards
- Security Perimeter
- Places of Refuge
- Decontamination Line
- Evacuation Routes


4. Safety Officer
(include method of contact)

American Industrial Hygiene Association

10. Sketch of Site:

11. Prepared By:

12. Date/Time Briefed:

HAZARD LIST: Physical/Safety, Toxic, Explosion/Fire,

Oxygen Deficiency, Ionizing Radiation, Biological, Biomed- Page
ical, Electrical, Heat Stress, Cold Stress, Ergonomic, Noise,
Cancer, Dermatitis, Drowning, Fatigue, Vehicle, Diving

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)



1. Incident Name

2. Date/Time Prepared

3. Operational Period

4. Safety Officer
(include method of contact)

5. Division/Group:

6. Location and Size of Site

7. For Emergencies Contact:

8. Attachments:

9. Emergency Alarm (sound and


10. Backup Alarm (sound and


11. Emergency Hand Signals

12. Emergency Personal Protective

Equipment Required:


American Industrial Hygiene Association

13. Emergency Notification


17. Prepared By:

14. Places of Refuge (also see site


18. Date/Time Briefed:

15. Emergency Decon and

Evacuation Steps

16. Site Security Measures

HAZARD LIST: Physical/Safety, Toxic, Explosion/Fire,

Oxygen Deficiency, Ionizing Radiation, Biological, Biomed- Page
ical, Electrical, Heat Stress, Cold Stress, Ergonomic, Noise,
Cancer, Dermatitis, Drowning, Fatigue, Vehicle, Diving

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)



4. Type of Briefing

1. Incident Name

2. Site Location:

3. Attachments:

5. Presented By:

6. Date

7. Time




Safety Plan/Emergency
Response Plan
Start Shift
End of Shift
Specify Other:
8. Worker Name (Print)

* By signing this document, I am stating that I have read and fully understand the plan and/or information provided to me.



American Industrial Hygiene Association


1. Incident Name

2. Date/Time Prepared

3. Operational Period

4. Attachments: MSDSs

5. Branch/Group:

6. Supervisor

7. Entry Team Org:

8. Backup Team:

9. Decon Team Org:

10. Physical Hazards & Protection (Specific Job/Task, Associated Hazards, and Types of Controls to Implement)
11. SITE DIAGRAM/MAP: Include Work Zones, Location of Hazards, Security Perimeter, Decontamination Line Set-Up, Evac Routes, Muster Points,
Directional North, Wind Direction

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


12. Decontamination Process

Checklist Requirement:

c. Support Zone Area Shower

13. Potential Emergencies:
Fire Explosion
Other: ____________________

a Hotline Area
Instrument Drop-Off
Contaminated Trash Drop-Off
Clothing Change-Out

b. Contamination Reduction Zone Area

Primary Garment Wash/Rinse
Facepiece Removal/Drop
Primary Garment Removal
Boot Drop
Secondary Garment Removal
Inner Glove Removal

Other: _______________________________________________________

14. Evacuation Alarms:

Horm _____# Blasts
Radio Code/Freq____________
Other: ____________________

15. Emergency Evacuation Procedures/Safe Distance (Show in

Block 11 the Evacuation and Muster Site):

16. Communications: Radio Primary Freq: ______; Secondary Freq:______; Primary Phone#:_____________ Secondary hone#:________________
17. Site Security: Organization Name



18. Medical Plan: Organization Name




Safety Officer Review/Date/Time:


Date/Time Briefed to Entry/Back-up/Decon Teams:


American Industrial Hygiene Association


1. Incident Name

4. Type of Briefing

2. Site Location:

3. Attachments:

5. Presented By:

6. Date

7. Time




8. Worker Name (Print)

* By signing this document, I am stating that I have read and fully understand the plan and/or information provided to me.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)




Chapter 6
Air Monitoring Planning and Execution

The guidelines in this chapter provide an overarching field
guide to what can be a very complex or very simple operational task, depending upon the size and complexity of an
incident response.
The SOFR should work with the assigned environmental
unit, under the planning section, in developing, conducting,
and assessing air monitoring plans, and data analysis. An environmental unit would normally be managed, at the federal
level, by either the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) or the Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS). The SOFR should not be developing or conducting its
own air monitoring work independent of the environmental
unit. This will only cause miscommunication, and may result
in partial assessment of the overall responders respiratory
exposure. Although the SOFR should obtain and retain
copies of all air monitoring plans and results, particularly
those results taken from responders, the central repository of
all air monitoring results should be the environmental unit.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Reasons for Conducting Air Monitoring

1) Determine immediate safe breathing environment for
conducting response and/or recovery operations;
2) Determine that appropriate controls are effective in
maintaining safe levels based on either recommended or
regulatory compliance standards;
3) Establish baseline air monitoring early in a response or
recovery operation to determine if environmental or occupational air exposure levels increase significantly;
4) Validate that the appropriate respiratory protection levels are adequate and are still adequate as response and
recovery operations continue; and
5) Determine if an immediate fire and/or explosive atmosphere is present.

Other Signs Indicative of a Need for Air

1) Reported nausea, vomiting, dizziness, breathing difficulty, or shortness of breath from victims, bystanders,

adjacent facility operations, or responders;

Odors detected and unexplained in origin;
2) Visual presence of a gas or vapor release;
Visual presence of a liquid release;
3) Visual presence of particulate matter in the air of unknown origin; and
4) Extensive fire and smoke at an incident.

Immediate Air Monitoring

Initial air monitoring is often conducted when an arriving
local hazardous material response unit arrives on-scene.
Many of these units carry personal gas detectors, which typically measure the following:
1. Oxygen levels
2. Explosivity
3. Carbon monoxide and/or hydrogen sulfide
Qualitative air monitoring detection for organic vapors
or gases may also be conducted using a photoionization detector (PID) or organic vapor analyzer (OVA). Infrared spectrophotometers (IR) are also quite accessible, and can
identify many organic compounds and their levels in the air.
Ideally, continuous air monitoring should be conducted
using both personally carried gas meters, like the 3-in-1 or

4-in-1, with alarm capabilities. Environmental area monitoring does provide augmented support for air monitoring, but
depending upon the location of such monitors in relation to
the response workers, alert of increasing or dangerous levels
may or may not occur.
Initial entry teams using real-time gas and vapor monitoring equipment with PID, OVA, or IR to monitor levels at
single or multiple point sources are extremely valuable not
only for helping to identify the hazardous substances, but
also to ascertain the levels.
Levels of Concern(1)
1. Oxygen levels 19.5% are oxygen-deficient while levels
22.0% are a fire and explosion risk;
2. Explosivity levels measured 1% indicate explosive atmospheres of a highly volatile and potentially explosive
gas or vapor. Levels 10% are dangerous.
3. Carbon Monoxide:
NIOSH REL: TWA 35 ppm (40 mg/m3); Ceiling 200 ppm
(229 mg/m3)
OSHA PEL: TWA 50 ppm (55 mg/m3)
4. Hydrogen Sulfide:
NIOSH REL: Ceiling 10 ppm (15 mg/m3) [10-minute]
OSHA PEL: Ceiling 20 ppm; 50 ppm [10-minute maximum peak]
American Industrial Hygiene Association

Air Monitoring Log Information

Developing an Air Monitoring Plan

Figures 6.1 and 6.2 provide an air monitoring log and a sample, respectively, on how to summarize any air monitoring
The SOFRs should ensure that hazardous materials
units, assigned technical specialists or the ASOFs performing
air monitoring provide the following information in writing:

An air monitoring plan should be created if continuous air
monitoring on-scene needs to continue during additional operational periods.
The air monitoring plan should be developed using either the initial air monitoring equipment used by the arriving hazardous materials response teams and/or additional
sampling or collection media often used by industrial hygienists.
All air monitoring being conducted and recorded as
part of an incident response needs to be included in the plan
and the air monitoring results must be recorded accurately.
The air monitoring plan needs to be simple to develop,
yet comprehensively identify the types of monitoring occurring on-site. The more extensive sampling and collection
media protocols used by industrial hygienists or environmental specialists should be written in a formal report.

1. Reading levels detected in the appropriate units (parts

per million, or %);
2. If using IR, a 3-in-1 gas detector, or a 4-in-1 gas detector,
what particular hazardous substance was detected;
3. If alarm of the detector occurred, indicate this information appropriately;
4. Specific location where the detection and/or alarm occurred; and
5. Any signs/symptoms exhibited by the response teams.
Air monitoring logs should be posted on the situation
display board, and if the readings are significantly high to
indicate hazardous conditions, a message should be sent to
all division/group supervisors, the IC/UC, and command
and general staffs.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Components of the Plan

Figure 6.3 shows an AIHA form to write out the plan. The
blocks are self-explanatory in nature.



5a. Site Location/Task

Being Performed

1. Incident Name

5b. Hazard Monitored

or Detected

6. Reviewed/Approved by Safety Officer


2. Date/Time Prepared

5c. Levels Measured

(Specify Unit or

7. Date/Time:

3. Operational Period

5d. Instrument Used

(Make/Model/Serial #) or
Sampling Method Used

4. Safety Officer/Contact Info

5e. Personal or Area


List each contaminant monitored or detected.

5f. Person(s) Who

Conducted Monitoring



Figure 6.1 Air Monitoring Log.


American Industrial Hygiene Association


5a. Site Location/Task

Being Performed

1. Incident Name

5b. Hazard Monitored

or Detected

Destroyed finance
building at 23 Oak St/

Hydrogen Sulfide
Carbon Monoxide

Truck Spill at 23 Oak

St/Fuel Clean-up

2. Date/Time Prepared

5c. Levels Measured

(Specify Unit or

3. Operational Period

5d. Instrument Used

(Make/Model/Serial #) or
Sampling Method Used

4. Safety Officer/Contact Info

5e. Personal or Area


5f. Person(s) Who

Conducted Monitoring

20.3% Oxygen
0.3% LEL
1.5 ppm
1.0 ppm

MultiRAE Plus (SN#2362)

Personal worn by
demolition supervisor

Mr. IH Technician


0.25 ppm 8-hour TWA

Charcoal tubes IAW NIOSH

Method 3700; Pump ran for
30 minutes

Personal air sampling

pump worn by entry team

Mr. IH


2.5 ppm 8-hour TWA

Charcoal tubes IAW NIOSH

Method 3700; Pump ran for
30 minutes

Personal air sampling

pump worn by entry team

Mr. IH Consultant

7. Date/Time:

List each contaminant monitored or detected.

6. Reviewed/Approved by Safety Officer




Figure 6.2 Sample Air Monitoring Log.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


A very simple example of an air monitoring plan is exhibited in Figure 6.4. Note that multiple hazards to be monitored in the same site location or even same job/task
should be listed separately. This helps differentiate the results in the air monitoring results, which is explained later
in this chapter.

General Pre-Operational Checklist for Air

Monitoring Equipment
1. Compliance with manufacturer calibration/maintenance requirements
a. Check the date of the manufacturers next calibration
and maintenance date, or the last date that the manufacturer performed its required calibration and
2. Conduct the required field calibration checks
3. Check the alarms and their settings per manufacturers
4. Check that the battery charge is good;
5. Integrity of unit is clean and sound (e.g., no significant
detents or deformations);
6. Probe, if any, is clear and connected securely to the unit.

Decontamination Contingency Plan

1. Like other equipment requiring decontamination, special care and attention should be focused on any air
monitoring equipment.
2. Air sampling media requiring laboratory analysis
should be sealed from further contamination.
a. The container that the media will be stored at the site
should be decontaminated;
b. Coordination with the laboratory regarding the potential contamination of the media needs to occur and
arranged for.

Air Monitoring Standards

There are generally two types of worker exposure recommended guidelines: emergency response guidelines and general industry guidelines. General industry guidelines may be
used in either the response or recovery portion of an operation if they are more conservative than the emergency response guidelines, and/or have occupational exposure
levels for the specific agent, where none exists in the emergency response guidelines.
Emergency Response Guideline Levels
There are generally three types of recommended guidelines
American Industrial Hygiene Association


5a. Site Location

1. Incident Name

5b. Job/Task to be

6. Reviewed/Approved by Safety Officer


2. Date/Time Prepared

5c. Hazard to be

7. Date/Time:

3. Operational Period

5d. Method & Duration

of Detection/Sampling

4. Safety Officer/Contact Info

5e. Personal or Area


List each hazard separately even if site location and/or job/task is the same..

5f. Person(s)



Figure 6.3 Air Monitoring Plan Form.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)



5a. Site Location

1. Incident Name

5b. Job/Task to be

2. Date/Time Prepared

5c. Hazard to be

3. Operational Period

5d. Method & Duration

of Detection/Sampling

4. Safety Officer/Contact Info

5e. Personal or Area


5f. Person(s)

Tanker Leak

Clean-up Operation

Explosion Levels

MSA 3-in-1 Gas Detector

Model ABC; Entire
Operation; 3 detectors for
team of 5.

Personal 3 each

Craig Ethylene
Unit Supervisor

Tanker Leak

Clean-up Operation

Benzene Levels

Charcoal tubes on personal

air pump using NIOSH
Method 3700; 30 minutes
only; 3 workers to be

Personal 3 each

Dorothy Tenax, CIH

Tech Specialist - IH

Contamination Reduction

Decontamination Team

Benzene Levels

Charcoal tubes on air sampling pumps for area monitor using NIOSH Method
3700; 30 minutes;

Dorothy Tenax, CIH
1 positioned at entry point Tech Specialist - IH
(hot side); 1 positioned at
exit point (cold side)

7. Date/Time:
23 Oct 2xxx

List each hazard separately even if site location and/or job/task is the same..

6. Reviewed/Approved by Safety Officer

Name/Signature: Joe Safety
Joe Safety, Safety Officer



Figure 6.4 Sample Air Monitoring Plan Form.


American Industrial Hygiene Association

that were developed for very short-duration exposures often

encountered in an incident response.
American Industrial Hygiene Emergency Response Planning
Guideline (ERPG) Levels(2):
ERPGs are designed as a tool to assist environmental and
health and safety professionals in the development of emergency response strategies for protecting workers and the
general public against the harmful effects of specific chemicals and substances. The guidelines are reviewed, updated,
and published annually. Copies are available from the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
There are three ERPG guideline levels for each specific
chemical that the guidelines address:
ERPG-1: The maximum airborne concentration below
which it is believed nearly all individuals could be exposed up to 1 hour without experiencing more than
mild, transient adverse health effects or without perceiving a clearly defined objectionable odor.
ERPG-2: The maximum airborne concentration below
which it is believed nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to 1 hour without experiencing or developing irreversible or other serious health effects or
symptoms that could impair an individuals ability to
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

take protective action.

ERPG-3: The maximum airborne concentration below
which it is believed nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to 1 hour without experiencing or developing life-threatening health effects.
Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs)(3):
AEGLs represent threshold exposure limits for the general
public and are applicable to emergency exposure periods ranging from 10 minutes to 8 hours. AEGL-2 and AEGL-3, with
AEGL-1 values as appropriate, will be developed for each of
five exposure periods (10 and 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, and
8 hours) and will be distinguished by varying degrees of severity of toxic effects. It is believed that the recommended exposure levels are applicable to the general population, including
infants and children as well as other individuals who may be
susceptible. The three AEGLs have been defined as described
below. Airborne concentrations below the AEGL-1 represent
exposure levels that can produce mild and progressively increasing but transient and nondisabling odor, taste, and sensory irritation or certain asymptomatic, nonsensory effects.
With increasing airborne concentrations above each AEGL,
there is a progressive increase in the likelihood of occurrence
and the severity of effects described for each corresponding

AEGL. Although the AEGL values represent threshold levels

for the general public, including susceptible subpopulations,
such as infants, children, the elderly, persons with asthma, and
those with other illnesses, it is recognized that individuals,
subject to unique or idiosyncratic responses, could experience
the effects described at concentrations below the corresponding AEGL. AEGLs are available on the USEPA website at For
each AEGL level, there are five exposure (time-weighted average) periods: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 4 hours, and
8 hours).
AEGL-1 is the airborne concentration (expressed as
parts per million or milligrams per cubic meter (ppm or
mg/m3)) of a substance, above which it is predicted that
the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience notable discomfort, irritation, or
certain asymptomatic nonsensory effects. However, the
effects are not disabling and are transient and reversible
upon cessation of exposure. (Five exposure (timeweighted average) periods: 10 minutes, 30 minutes,
60 minutes, 4 hours, and 8 hours.)
AEGL-2 is the airborne concentration (expressed as
ppm or mg/m3) of a substance, above which it is
predicted that the general population, including

susceptible individuals, could experience irreversible or

other serious, long-lasting adverse health effects or an
impaired ability to escape. (Five exposure (timeweighted average) periods: 10 minutes, 30 minutes,
60 minutes, 4 hours, and 8 hours.)
AEGL-3 is the airborne concentration (expressed as
ppm or mg/m3) of a substance, above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible
individuals, could experience life-threatening health effects or death. (Five exposure (time-weighted average)
periods: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 4 hours,
and 8 hours.)
Protective Action Criteria (PACs), formerly known as Temporary
Emergency Exposure Limits (TEELs)(4):
These are recommended emergency exposure limits for use
by both responders and the general public. Established and
maintained by the Department of Energy, they serve as temporary emergency exposure limits UNTIL ERPG or AEGL
numbers are finalized and adopted either by AIHA or the
National Advisory Committee on AEGLs, respectively. They
are available from the Department of Energy, Office of
Health, Safety and Security at
American Industrial Hygiene Association

There are four levels:

PAC-0 (or formerly TEEL-0): This is the threshold concentration below which most people will experience no
adverse health effects.
PAC-1 (or formerly TEEL-1): Same as ERPG-1 definition,
except the recommended averaging times.
PAC-2 (or formerly TEEL-2): Same as ERPG-2 definition,
except the recommended averaging times.
PAC-3 (or formerly TEEL-3): Same as ERPG-3 definition,
except the recommended averaging times.
Worker Exposure Guidelines
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist
(ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values(5):
These are recommended guidelines which reflect short-term
and general worker routine (8-hour) exposure limits. They
are not for use for the general public. They are available
Threshold Limit Value Ceiling (TLV-C): This is a
concentration exposure to the worker that should not be
exceeded during any part of the working exposure.
Continuous real-time monitoring is required to provide
this assessment.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Threshold Limit Value Short-Term Exposure Limit

(TLV-STEL): This is a 15-minute time-weighted average
(TWA) exposure that should not be exceeded at any time
during a work-day, even if the 8-hour TWA is within the
TLV-TWA (as described below). Exposures above the TLVTWA up to the TLV-STEL should be less than 15 minutes,
should occur not more than four times per day, and there
should be at least 60 minutes between successive exposures
in this range. Other forms of averaging period other than 15
minutes may be used when observed biological effects
among workers are seen and it warrants such a variation.
Threshold Limit Value Time-Weighted Average
(TLV-TWA): The TWA concentration for a conventional
8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek, to which it is
believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed, day after day, for a working lifetime without
adverse effect.
NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs):
These are recommended guideline levels established by the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The
definitions for ceiling and STELs are the same as those set
forth by ACGIH. For the 8-hour RELs, the same definition as
a TLV-TWA is essentially used.

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs):

These are regulatory levels that are citable by OSHA for
worker exposures. The definitions for ceiling and STELs are
the same as those set forth by ACGIH. For the 8-hour PELs,
the same definition as a TLV-TWA is essentially used.

Decision Criteria and General Rules on

Exposure Limits to Use
With three emergency response exposure limits, and three
general industry exposure limits to choose from, identifying
which exposure limits to use can be daunting, and confusing. Although every incident response will vary, this publication will attempt to provide general criteria for deciding
which exposure limits to use, and general rules to adhere to
once the limits are established.
Decision Criteria to Follow:
1. Identify the hazardous chemicals or substances being
dealt with at the incident.
2. Read and understanding the toxicological properties associated with these substances. (e.g., Are any cancercausing or cause immediate health effects?)
3. Determine if exposure limits are established for the
chemicals or substances involved at the incident.

4. If two or more exposure limits are available, review the

exposure limit definitions, as described above. If two or
more substances are present, properly estimate the exposure using various IH techniques as referenced in
other documents.
5. From the definitions of the exposure limits available,
choose the most conservative of the limits to follow.
6. Reassess, through additional air monitoring, the exposure limits decided upon.
General Rules Once an Exposure Limit is Established:
1. Communicate the appropriate exposure limits to the incident/unified command, command staff, general staff,
and division/group supervisors.
2. Maintain the technical source document used in the
selection rationale for the exposure limit. Note that the
selection criteria used for determining over-exposure
may be called into question at a later time.
3. Conduct or update air monitoring that can detect
and/or sample to the established exposure limit.
4. Document the environmental temperature, humidity and
other variables when conducting air monitoring. Environmental conditions NOT at normal temperature and pressure
(i.e., 1 atmosphere/25 degrees Celsius) may affect results.
American Industrial Hygiene Association

5. Recommendations for engineering controls, safe work

practice, and PPE should be based on results compared
to the appropriate exposure limit.

Actions when Air Monitoring Results are

As soon as possible, after receiving and receiving the results,
the SOFR should provide the IC/UC, all incident command
staff, affected general staff, division, and/or group supervisors with the exposure levels and recommended control
methods, including engineering controls, PPE, administrative controls, training information, and/or additional air
monitoring requirements.
Air monitoring results should similarly be included in
the earliest update to the site safety plan.

Communicating Air Monitoring Results

Response Worker Notification
Names of the response workers or members of the public
that were personally monitored shall not be released to the
incident command/staff, or to the public. Personal exposure
records should be treated as privacy records, and communicated directly to the individual.
Copies, if possible, should be submitted to the individIncident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

uals medical record or sent to the local/state health department, as appropriate.

Public Notification
Unless directed by the IC/UC, SOFR or staff, work with the
assigned public information officer (PIO) or in larger incidents, the joint information center (JIC) in releasing air monitoring results.
Press releases conveying the air monitoring results
should be written at a level easily understood by non-technical audiences. Nuances to the air monitoring or sampling
methodology should be avoided, but included in a more
technical background document for a quick and easy

Glossary of Terms and Key Air Sampling

A glossary of terms that safety officers may need to help explain air monitoring results is found in Annex A.
Annex B lists a few important air sampling concepts to
serve as reminders and as a quick field reference if required
calculations are required at an incident.


1. Hawley, C.: Hazardous Materials Air Monitoring and Detection Devices. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Thomson
Learning, 2002.
2. American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA):
2008 Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPG) and
Workplace Environmental Exposure Levels (WEEL) Handbook. Fairfax, VA: AIHA, 2008.
3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Acute
Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs). Washington, DC:
EPA,2007. Available at
aegl/. Accessed April 3, 2008.
4. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Health,
Safety, and Security: Protective Action Criteria (PAC) with
AEGLs, ERPGs, & TEELs: Rev. 23 for Chemicals of Concern.
Washington, DC: DOE, 2007. Available at
Accessed April 3, 2008.
5. American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH): Threshold Limit Values for Chemical
Substances and Physical Agents & Biological Exposure Indices. Cincinnati, OH: ACGIH, 2007


American Industrial Hygiene Association


Annex A
Glossary of Terms Related to Air Monitoring

Absorption(1) Removal of a gaseous constituent from a

gas stream by penetration of the gas molecules into a
liquid or solid matrix.
Accuracy(2) The degree of agreement between a measured
value and the accepted reference value. If using Reference 2 below, accuracy is calculated from the absolute
mean bias of the method plus the overall precision at
the 95% confidence level.
Adsorption(1) Removal of gaseous constituents from an
air stream by a solid matrix in which the gas molecules
are deposited on the surface of the adsobrent.
Bias(2) The difference between the average measured mass
or concentration and the reference mass or concentration expressed as a fraction of reference mass or concentration.
Bioaerosol(2) Suspension of microorganisms in air.
Breakthrough(2) Elution of substance being sampled from
the exit end of a sorbent bed during the process of air
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Calibration Graph(2) Plot of analytical response vs known

mass or concentration of analyte.
Combustible Liquid A liquid with a flash point at or
above 100F.
Combustible Metal The alkalki metals, alkaline earth
metals, and transitional metals, such as titanium or zinc
that burn in air are detonated by Class D fires.
Compressed Gas A gas within a container having an absolute pressure exceeding 40 psi at 70F.
Field Blank(2) A sampler handled exactly the same as the
field samples, except no air is drawn through it. Used
to estimate contamination in preparation for sampling,
shipment and storage prior to measurement, but no actually subtracted from sample readings.
Flammable Gas Any product that is a gas at 68F or less
and a pressure of 14.7 psi and is ignitable at 14.7 psi
when the mixture of 13% or less, or the vapors of this
material possessing a flammable range of at least 12 percent regardless of LEL.

Flammable Liquid A liquid with a flash point below

Flammable Range The numerical span between the lower
and upper explosive limits of a gas or vapor in which, if
an ignition source is present, the right combination of
flammable gas to air ratio exists for fire.
Flash point The minimum temperature at which the
vapor of a liquid or solid ignites when in contact with
an ignition source.
Ignition Temperature The minimum temperature at
which a material will ignite and sustain combustion
without a continuing outside source of ignition.
Interference Equivalent(2) Mass or concentration of interfering substance which gives the same measurement
reading as unit mass or concentration of substance
being measured.
Limit of Detection(2) Smallest amount of analyte which
can be distinguished from the background. A good estimate for unbiased analyses, with media blanks not distinguishable from background, is three times the
standard error of calibration graph for low concentrations, divided by the slope (instrument reading per unit
mass or per unit concentration of analyte).

Limit of Quantification(2) Mass of analyte equal to 10

times the standard error of the calibration graph divided
by the slope; approximately the mass of analyte for
which relative standard deviation equals 0.10.
Measurement Range(2) Range of substance, in mass per
sample, from the LOQ to an upper limit characteristic of
the analytic method. In other words, the limit of linearity or the mass at which precision of the method starts to
become worse than a relative standard deviation of 0.1.
Media Blank(2) An unexposed sampler, not taken to the
field or shipped, used for background correction of
sample readings or for recovery studies.
Precision(2) The repeatability or reproducibility of individual measurements expressed as the standard deviation
or relative standard deviation (formerly known as coefficient of variation).
Respirable Dust(2) Dust deposited in the non-ciliated portions of the lungs. Percent deposition is a function of a
particles aerodynamic diameter. Specific size ranges
and definitions do vary depending upon the literature
Sensitivity(2) Change in measurement signal per unit
change in analyte mass (e.g., slope of the calibration
American Industrial Hygiene Association

Standard Temperature and Pressure (STP) A temperature

of 32F (0C or 273 Kelvin) and a pressure of 1 atmosphere (760 mmHg or 760 torr)
Vapor The diffused state of matter that is released from a
liquid substance that when combined with air forms an
ignitable mixture.
Vapor Density The weight of a vapor or gas as compared
to an equal volume of air.
Vapor Pressure (VP) The pressure exerted by a vapor; in
particular, the pressure a gas exerts against the sides of
an enclosed container.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

1. Martinez, T.B.: Industrial Hygiene Desk Reference Guide.
Fairfax, VA: AIHA, 2007.
2. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)/National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): NIOSH
Manual of Analytical Methods. Washington, DC: NIOSH,
3. Bevelacqua, A.S.: Hazardous Materials Chemistry. Clifton
Park, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning, 2005.



Annex B
Basic Air Sampling Concept Reference Guide

Minimum Sampling Volume(1)

Analytical Sensitivity (micrograms(g))
Sampling Volume (Liters) =
OEL (mg/m3) x F (%)

Desired occupational exposure limit

Estimated fraction of the OEL that may be
present in the work environment

Calculating Time-Weighted Averages (TWAs)(1)

(Ci Ti)

Ci =
Ti =
Tf =

Final concentration measured

Sampling time interval for the particular
measured concentration
Total Time (e.g., 8-hour PEL is 8; 15-minute STEL
is 15; etc.)

Calculating Threshold Limit Values for Liquid

TLV Mixture =
Fi =
TLVi =

Weight fraction of each component (decimal

percent of a solution)
Measured final concentration (mg/m3)

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


Required Sampling Time (minutes)(2)

Minimum Sampling Volume (Liters)
Time (minutes) =
Sampling Rate (Liters/Minute)

1. Bevelacqua, A.S.: Hazardous Materials Chemistry. Clifton
Park, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning, 2005.
2. Martinez, T.B.: Industrial Hygiene Desk Reference Guide.
Fairfax, VA: AIHA, 2007.


American Industrial Hygiene Association

Decontamination should only be done by trained personnel
equipped with the appropriate equipment. Every incident
response will be unique, requiring or not requiring decontamination and/or adjustment to current standing operating
Although there are a myriad of considerations to developing specific decontamination procedures, this guidance attempts to provide an all-hazards approach for an SOFR to
assess and evaluate the appropriateness and adequacy of a
decontamination operation. It does not discuss in detail
mass decontamination, building decontamination, forensics
decontamination, and others. Specific decontamination procedures are required for any specific incident response.

Basic Terminology
Contamination: The physical contact of a hazardous substance to humans, or to equipment.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Chapter 7
Decontamination Guidelines
Secondary or Cross-Contamination: The physical transfer of hazardous materials from an individual or object to another individual or object.

Exposure Factors to Consider When Evaluating

the Level of Contamination
1. Physical state of the chemicals: gas, vapor, solid or liquid, or a combination of any of the states mentioned.
2. Temperature: Both environmental temperature and the
temperature of the hazardous substance involved. Typically, an increase in temperature may increase the permeation of the hazardous substance through PPE.
3. Concentration: Exact concentration of a hazardous substance is not important at the time of discovery. Instead, understand that chemicals will tend to migrate from an area of
high concentration to an area of low concentration. General
qualitative assessment of the levels should be attained
early, but immediate ceasing of the release is more important than determining the exact exposure concentrations.

3. Identity of the substance: Although the specific CAS may

not likely be determined, unless a transporters manifest
or other documentation indeed identifies the released
substance, efforts by either the responsible party or a
local hazardous materials response unit should be focused on identifying the substance as soon as possible.

Emergency Decontamination Procedures

Emergency decontamination procedures should be planned
for at a minimum, either early in a response phase or in subsequent response and recovery operations. As long as the
presence of a hazardous substance still remains, even though
emergency-type response operations have ceased, emergency decontamination procedures should still be planned
for and ready for employment. Depending upon the size and
scope of a response and recovery operation, at any particular
time, a fully manned decontamination set-up or a very simple unmanned set-up may be required. The big concept is
keeping it simple.
In an emergency, the primary concern is to prevent the
loss of life or severe injury to site personnel.(1) If immediate
medical treatment is required to save a life, decontamination
should be delayed until the victim is stabilized. If decontamination can be performed without interfering with essential

life-saving techniques or first aid, or if a worker has been

contaminated with an extremely toxic or corrosive material
that could cause severe injury or loss of life, decontamination must be performed immediately.(1) In emergency decontamination planning, provisions must be made for protecting
medical personnel.
Physical Removal
This is the fastest method of decontamination, whereby contaminants are physically removed from protective or street
clothing or the skin. Typically, this method is more appropriate when dealing with liquid or aerosols, or particulates.
Water is the most commonly used decontaminant.
When applied, small hose lines of approximately inch
or 1 inch diameter, with a maximum 30 pounds per square
inch (lbs/in2) at the nozzle should be used. A 30 degree fog
patter (30 degrees up and down from center line of the nozzle) is recommended (see Figure 7.1). This will prevent injuries and hose line management easier to deal with. Use of
longer hose lines using a stream of water is dangerous
causing victims and response personnel to fall backwards.
If large numbers of victims require immediate emergency decontamination, larger hose lines can be used and
set-up in a fashion that will not cause injury.
American Industrial Hygiene Association

Figure 7.1 30 Degree Pattern.

If large numbers of victims require immediate emergency
decontamination, larger hose lines can be used and set-up in a
fashion to not cause injury. Physical methods involving high
pressure and/or heat should be used with caution because
they can spread contamination and cause burns.(1) Types of
physical removal methods include the following(1):
Loose contaminant removal using water or a liquid rinse.
Note that preventing the electrostatically attached contaminants onto equipment or clothing can be minimized
with the use of anti-static sprays or wash additives.
Adhering contaminants, such as glues, resins, cement,
and mud can be removed with scraping, brushing, and
wiping. If more intensive physical removal methods are
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Figure 7.2 Example Emergency Decontamination

Set-up With Water for Large Personnel Requirements.
required, one can use solidifying, freezing with dry ice
or ice water, adsorption or absorption using powdered
lime or kitty litter, or melting.
Clothing Removal
1. Considerations clothing removal includes the following:
a. Slower process for decontamination
b. There are levels of clothing removal
i. Shoes and/or outer garments, trousers, or
ii. Complete clothing removal;
c. Process of clothing removal may contaminate other
body areas that were protected by the clothing


Depending on the weather conditions and privacy

issues, supplemental cover should be planned for
(e.g., blankets, patient gowns, etc.)
e. Non-ambulatory (i.e., litter-bound victims) will not
be able to remove their own clothing
2. Clothing removal may be more appropriate when dealing with gas or vapor type releases. In these cases, considerations for simply removing outer garments versus
all of the clothing should be reviewed.

Verification of Decontamination Effectiveness

A safety officer should verify the method used to determine
that decontamination was effective. This method is obviously affected by the type and state of the hazardous contaminant involved.

Decontamination Solutions
Decontamination solutions will very seldom be employed,
unless in an industrial facility or for use on equipment. The
range of the solutions run from hot, soapy water solutions to
neutralizing agents.

Visual Observation
By using natural light, artificial light, or ultraviolet light, this
method can be used to detect remaining dirt, stains, discolorations, or clothing fabric alterations indicative of contaminant residue.
If the decontamination solutions pose harmful characteristics, visual observations could also be used to verify that
no remaining decontaminant exists on personnel, clothing,
and equipment.

Chemical Removal
After physical removal of gross contamination, employ a
wash/rinse process using the appropriate cleaning solutions.
Categories of decontamination solutions run parallel to the
types of physical removal methods. There are solidifying solutions, surfactants, rinsing solutions, solutions that can dissolve the contaminant, disinfection solutions, and
neutralization solutions.

Wipe Sampling
Various methods can be used to either identify residue contaminants by colorimetric changes on the wiping media or
analysis in a laboratory.
If the response or recovery operation could be hampered by the delay, methods requiring laboratory analysis
are the least desirable. On-site field monitoring methods
could be used, but the SOFR should still verify the validity


American Industrial Hygiene Association

of the instrumentation for accuracy, and acceptability of false

positive or negative errors.
Cleaning Solution Analysis
Analysis of the decontamination solution, probably in the
last station, to verify effective decontamination can be precarious. Use of this method requires greater attention to detail in the decontamination procedures and set-up to
prevent any cross-contamination from earlier decontamination stations or from decontamination personnel manning
the hotline.
Depending upon the contaminant, either laboratory or
on-site direct reading instrumentation may be used.
Permeation Testing
Testing the protective clothing just decontaminated will normally require laboratory testing. Also, this method can be
destructive testing so the issue of availability of additional
protective clothing may decide if this method is viable for response and recovery operations.
This type of testing is certainly valuable for determining
the effectiveness of particular decontamination methods or
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Decontamination Plan
As part of a site safety and health plan, a decontamination
plan should be developed before any personnel or equipment enters areas where potential exposures to hazardous
substances exist. When reviewing a decontamination plan,
the following items should be described:
1. The decontamination stations layout and number;
2. Decontamination equipment required;
3. Disposal method for clothing and equipment not fully
4. Procedures to remove clothing and equipment while
minimizing or preventing contact with hazardous substances;
5. Control points to prevent contamination of clean areas;
6. Personal protective equipment level of the decontamination personnel (Level A, B, C), understanding that the
rule of thumb for decontamination personnel is to either
be at the equivalent OSHA PPE level as the entry team
or one level below;
7. If the decontamination plan is to be used for the next
operational period, determine if the current plan requires updating based on changes in the weather, the
presence or absence of hazardous substances, or other

8. Decontamination method for the decontamination personnel and equipment after the operation is completed;
9. Change-out procedures for breathing bottles, entry team
personnel, or equipment for the entry team;
10. Contingency to perform rapid emergency decontamination for entry team personnel in a non-ambulatory (litter
required) or ambulatory manner; and
11. Medical aid support available (note: SOFR should review the medical plan to ensure that it covers the entry
and decontamination teams).

Health and Safety Issues Related to

Decontamination Procedures(1)
SOFRs should be aware of the safety and health risks associated with decontamination. Figure 7.3 is a decision aid that
can be used for reference.

Figure 7.3 General Deliberate Decontamination Layout.(1) From National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health (NIOSH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Occupational Safety and Health Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Site
Activities. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1985.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

Decontamination Methods
While reviewing the site set-up and the decontamination
plan, consider the following factors:
1. Use of incompatible decontaminants with the hazardous
substance being removed from personnel and equipment;
2. Incompatible clothing and equipment being decontaminated with either the decontaminant or the hazardous
substance(s) involved in the response. (Note: clothing
and equipment compatibility should have been identified during the risk analysis); and
3. Vapor, liquid, flammability, and explosion issues associated with the hazardous substances involved in the response. Note that the same hazards encountered with
an entry team will be faced in the decontamination line.
Decontamination Line Set-Up
Regardless of the chemical, biological, or radiological agent
involved in an incident response, an SOFR could use the
conservative approach used in deliberate entries at a hazardous waste site. Tailoring back the set-up could always be
performed as deemed appropriate by the SOFR after a thorough risk analysis.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Refer to Figures 7.4 and 7.5 on maximum and minimum

decontamination level set-ups. Factors to consider in the location and size of a decontamination line should be based on
the following:
1. Potential for wastes to penetrate, degrade, or permeate
building materials nearby, tools, vehicles, structures, or
clothing and equipment;
2. Amount and location of the hazardous substances involved;
3. Movement by vehicles, equipment and personnel into
and adjacent to the decontamination line and the affected incident site;
4. Types of PPE or other controls to prevent exposures
(e.g., airline respirators from a cascade-type system may
require a longer CRZ and support zone than the use of
self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA); and
5. Collection of decontaminants and waste products (as
the quantity of decontaminants and wastes increases,
larger support and contamination reduction zones are
required to accommodate the collection systems).
Protection Levels for Decontamination Personnel
Decontamination personnel should initially be wearing the
same protection level for skin and respiratory protection as

Figure 7.4 and 7.5 From National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Occupational Safety and Health Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Site Activities. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, 1985.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

the entry team. If the hazards, process, and risks are controlled sufficiently, the decontamination personnel may go
one level below the protection level of the entry team. For
example, if the entry team is in OSHA Level A, the decontamination team could be in Level A initially, then downgraded to Level B.
During the hazard risk analysis, the first one or two
personnel to encounter the entry team as they enter the decontamination line will have the most exposure to the hazardous substances involved in the incident.
The level of protection required will vary with the type
of decontamination equipment used. The cleaning solutions
used and the wastes produced could produce elevated levels
of vapors.(1)

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Occupational Safety
and Health Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Site Activities. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, 1985.


Respiratory protection equipment and usage will most likely be
dictated by the types of respiratory hazards identified or suspected at an incident. Regardless of the type and use of the respiratory protection, the safety officer must establish a consistent
respiratory protection level applicable to all organizations or individuals working in and/or around an incident site.
This chapter intends to highlight important respiratory
protection information that a safety officer or staff may need
when determining and implementing the appropriate respiratory protection levels. Department of Defense (DOD) personnel may be exempt under their current regulations in
complying with general industry respiratory protection requirements. DOD personnel, however, should still practice
proper wear and maintenance of their assigned respirators.

Selection of Respiratory Protection(1)

When selecting respiratory protective devices, important
criteria include:
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Chapter 8
Respiratory Protection
General use conditions, including determination of contaminant(s);
Physical, chemical, and toxicological properties of the
Type of exposure standards to be used (see previous
Expected concentration of each respiratory hazard;
Immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) concentrations;
Oxygen concentration or expected oxygen concentration;
Eye irritation potential; and
Environmental factors, such as presence of oil aerosols.
Available direct-reading data or air sampling results
should be used to determine exposure levels found in the
incident site. A combination of air sampling and exposure
modeling is often used to make reasonable estimates of

Requirements for All Respirator Usage

The following requirements and restrictions must be considered to ensure that the respirator selected will provide adequate protection under the conditions of intended use:
1. At an incident, response personnel will not always be
exposed to a single, unvarying concentration of a particular hazardous substance. Instead, most situations, particularly large complex incident response operations,
will involve exposures to different hazardous substances. Therefore, of those hazardous substances found
to be present, generally the SOFR or staff should use the
highest anticipated concentration to compute the required protection factor for each respirator wearer.
2. Qualitative or quantitative fit tests must be provided to
each respiratory wearer to ensure that the tight-fitting
face-piece respirator fits.(2) NIOSH endorses the OSHA
standard 29 CFR1910.134 for fit testing except for irritant smoke (see the Appendix, page 27). Employees
must pass a fit test with the exact model and size that
they will wear in the workplace. This is critical because
often, in very large incidents, local or donated respiratory protection devices may be provided. Unless the response personnel have exhausted their current supply

of respirator cartridges or devices, SOFR staff must enforce the need to fit-test using the approved respirator
model and size made available to the response operation.
3. Respirators with tight-fitting face-pieces, including pressure-demand respirators, should not be used when facial scars or deformities interfere with the face seal.
4. The usage limitations of air-purifying elements, particularly gas and vapor cartridges or canisters, should not
be exceeded (see NIOSH Certified Equipment List for
general limitations at
5. Respirators must be certified by NIOSH.(2) A list of
tested and approved respirators can be found at The only exception is the use of Department
of Defense Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR)
respirators for use by authorized military or authorized
DOD civilian personnel. Military personnel assigned
with commercial NIOSH-approved respirators on-site
shall be fit-tested on the particular model and size.
6. The safety officer determines the appropriate respiratory protection level. The responding organizations and
American Industrial Hygiene Association

agencies are responsible for maintaining a written respiratory protection program, which covers the selection,
training, cleaning, storage, maintenance and inspection
of those devices. The safety officer and staff will be responsible for conducting spot checks in the field for
compliance with the determined respiratory protection
level, compliance with fit-testing, and that the respirator
devices are in good working order.
7. In large incident responses, there will often be large contingents of recovery personnel performing demolition,
clean-up, or material handling, which may require respiratory protection. If respiratory protection is mandated and many of these personnel have not been
previously qualified medically, been issued respiratory
protection devices by their current employer, or even fittested, the safety officer may need to direct on-site training, fit-testing, and medical qualification by an
occupational medical physician. This can be very time
intensive, and should be planned and coordinated effectively.

Assigned Protection Factors

Refer to Table 8.1 on the next page.(2)
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Respirator Cartridge Change-Out Schedules

Based on the hazardous substances present and their levels,
the SOFR should indicate the appropriate change-out schedule for filters and cartridges when personnel are using airpurifying respirators. This can require a calculator when
used primarily for organic vapors and gases. Information on
determining a change-out schedule should be obtained from
the manufacturer. If this information is not available, OSHA
does permit the use of mathematical modeling using the information below from
The Gerry O. Wood Mathematical Model(4)
tb =

Co Cx
v o

tb =
We =
rb =
Co =
Cx =

breakthrough time (min)

equilibrium adsorption capacity (g/g carbon)
weight of carbon adsorbent
bulk density of the packed bed (g/cm)
volumetric flow rate (cm/min)
inlet concentration (g/cm)
exit concentration (g/cm)

Table 8.1 Assigned Protection Factorse

Respirator Typea,b

Quarter Mask

Half Mask

Full Face



Air Purifying

10 c





25/1,000 d


Continuous Flow
Pressure Demand/ other (+) pressure



25/1,000 d


Pressure Demand/ other (+) pressure






May use respirators assigned for higher concentrations in lower concentrations or when required use is independent of concentration.
These APFs are only effective when employer has a continuing, effective respirator program per 1910.134.
This APF category includes filtering facepieces and elastomeric facepieces.
Must have manufacturer test evidence to support an APF of 1,000 or else these respirators receive an APF of 25.
These APFs do not apply to escape-only respirators. Escape respirators must conform to 1910.134(d)(2)(ii) or OSHAs substance specific standards, if
used with those substances.


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Factors that May Reduce Cartridge Service

Exertion Level of Responders:
More frequent the inhalation rates that responders exert will
result in more contaminant quantities entering through the
respirator cartridge. This amount of adsorption into the cartridge or canister respirator will result in a decreased service
life. Fifty to sixty liters per minute is the upper end of a
moderate work rate most often used in many respirator cartridge studies. Breathing levels at approximately 100 liters
per minute or higher, which would involve heavy work activity, may require inputting a correction factor in determining service life.
Cartridge Design
Respirator cartridges that have more activated charcoal will
likely have a longer service life than others will less activated charcoal. This is reason that service lives are dependent on the particular make/model/type of respirators. One
change-out schedule for all responders at an incident where
a variety of air purifying respirators are used may not be appropriate unless the SOFR or staff determine the most conservative schedule applicable to all.
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Environmental Conditions
Increasing ambient temperatures can decrease the attractive
forces characteristic in the activated charcoal, while increasing humidity levels will increase the moisture absorbency in
the cartridge material. Both of these factors may decrease
the service life of the cartridges. Using the formula above, as
well as respirator manufacturer information, these corrections for environmental conditions should already be factored in the calculations.
Multiple Contaminants:
Respirator service life calculations are typically based on one
contaminant. In an emergency response situation, multiple
contaminants are likely to be present. From a conservative
standpoint, the SOFR should recommend the respirator device based on the most conservative estimate and most current information. In terms of determining the service life of
the cartridges, however, the SOFR should be aware of the
possibility that contaminants with less absorption characteristics on activated charcoal may be displaced by contaminants that have a higher absorption on the cartridge
material. Therefore, using the contaminants with the least
absorption characteristic could be used as the basis for determining service life.

Medical Qualification
Employees need to be medically cleared to wear respirators
before commencing use. Generally, all respirators place a
physiological burden on the employee. Negative pressure
respirators restrict breathing, some respirators can cause
claustrophobia, and self-contained breathing apparatuses are
heavy. Each of these conditions may adversely affect the
health of some employees who wear respirators. A physician
or other licensed health care professional operating within

the scope of his/her practice needs to medically evaluate

employees to determine under what conditions they can
safely wear respirators.
Table 8.2 is the mandatory OSHA Medical Questionnaire. Personnel required to wear respiratory protection onsite shall be medically cleared using this questionnaire. A
licensed healthcare provider needs to review, and if required,
do additional medical evaluation.

Table 8.2 Appendix C to Sec. 1910.134: OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Mandatory)
To the employer: Answers to questions in Section 1, and to question 9 in Section 2 of Part A, do not require a medical examination.
To the employee:
Can you read (circle one): Yes/No
Your employer must allow you to answer this questionnaire during normal working hours, or at a time and place that is convenient to you. To maintain your
confidentiality, your employer or supervisor must not look at or review your answers, and your employer must tell you how to deliver or send this questionnaire to the health care professional who will review it.
Part A. Section 1. (Mandatory) The following information must be provided by every employee who has been selected to use any type of respirator
(please print).
1. Todays date:_______________________________________________________
2. Your name:__________________________________________________________

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3. Your age (to nearest year):_________________________________________

4. Sex (circle one): Male/Female
5. Your height: __________ ft. __________ in.
6. Your weight: __________ lbs.
7. Your job title:_____________________________________________________
8. A phone number where you can be reached by the health care professional who reviews this questionnaire (include the Area Code): ______________
9. The best time to phone you at this number: ________________
10. Has your employer told you how to contact the health care professional who will review this questionnaire (circle one): Yes/No
11. Check the type of respirator you will use (you can check more than one category):
a. ______ N, R, or P disposable respirator (filter-mask, non- cartridge type only).
b. ______ Other type (for example, half- or full-facepiece type, powered-air purifying, supplied-air, self-contained breathing apparatus).
12. Have you worn a respirator (circle one): Yes/No
If yes, what type(s):_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Part A. Section 2. (Mandatory) Questions 1 through 9 below must be answered by every employee who has been selected to use any type of
respirator (please circle yes or no).
1. Do you currently smoke tobacco, or have you smoked tobacco in the last month: Yes/No
2. Have you ever had any of the following conditions?
a. Seizures (fits): Yes/No
b. Diabetes (sugar disease): Yes/No
c. Allergic reactions that interfere with your breathing: Yes/No
d. Claustrophobia (fear of closed-in places): Yes/No
e. Trouble smelling odors: Yes/No
3. Have you ever had any of the following pulmonary or lung problems?
a. Asbestosis: Yes/No
b. Asthma: Yes/No
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


c. Chronic bronchitis: Yes/No

d. Emphysema: Yes/No
e. Pneumonia: Yes/No
f. Tuberculosis: Yes/No
g. Silicosis: Yes/No
h. Pneumothorax (collapsed lung): Yes/No
i. Lung cancer: Yes/No
j. Broken ribs: Yes/No
k. Any chest injuries or surgeries: Yes/No
l. Any other lung problem that youve been told about: Yes/No
4. Do you currently have any of the following symptoms of pulmonary or lung illness?
a. Shortness of breath: Yes/No
b. Shortness of breath when walking fast on level ground or walking up a slight hill or incline: Yes/No
c. Shortness of breath when walking with other people at an ordinary pace on level ground: Yes/No
d. Have to stop for breath when walking at your own pace on level ground: Yes/No
e. Shortness of breath when washing or dressing yourself: Yes/No
f. Shortness of breath that interferes with your job: Yes/No
g. Coughing that produces phlegm (thick sputum): Yes/No
h. Coughing that wakes you early in the morning: Yes/No
i. Coughing that occurs mostly when you are lying down: Yes/No
j. Coughing up blood in the last month: Yes/No
k. Wheezing: Yes/No
l. Wheezing that interferes with your job: Yes/No
m. Chest pain when you breathe deeply: Yes/No
n. Any other symptoms that you think may be related to lung problems: Yes/No

American Industrial Hygiene Association

5. Have you ever had any of the following cardiovascular or heart problems?
a. Heart attack: Yes/No
b. Stroke: Yes/No
c. Angina: Yes/No
d. Heart failure: Yes/No
e. Swelling in your legs or feet (not caused by walking): Yes/No
f. Heart arrhythmia (heart beating irregularly): Yes/No
g. High blood pressure: Yes/No
h. Any other heart problem that youve been told about: Yes/No
6. Have you ever had any of the following cardiovascular or heart symptoms?
a. Frequent pain or tightness in your chest: Yes/No
b. Pain or tightness in your chest during physical activity: Yes/No
c. Pain or tightness in your chest that interferes with your job: Yes/No
d. In the past two years, have you noticed your heart skipping or missing a beat: Yes/No
e. Heartburn or indigestion that is not related to eating: Yes/ No
f. Any other symptoms that you think may be related to heart or circulation problems: Yes/No
7. Do you currently take medication for any of the following problems?
a. Breathing or lung problems: Yes/No
b. Heart trouble: Yes/No
c. Blood pressure: Yes/No
d. Seizures (fits): Yes/No
8. If youve used a respirator, have you ever had any of the following problems? (If youve never used a respirator, check the following space and go to
question 9:)
a. Eye irritation: Yes/No
b. Skin allergies or rashes: Yes/No
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)


c. Anxiety: Yes/No
d. General weakness or fatigue: Yes/No
e. Any other problem that interferes with your use of a respirator: Yes/No
9. Would you like to talk to the health care professional who will review this questionnaire about your answers to this questionnaire: Yes/No
Questions 10 to 15 below must be answered by every employee who has been selected to use either a full-facepiece respirator or a self-contained
breathing apparatus (SCBA). For employees who have been selected to use other types of respirators, answering these questions is voluntary.
10. Have you ever lost vision in either eye (temporarily or permanently): Yes/No
11. Do you currently have any of the following vision problems?
a. Wear contact lenses: Yes/No
b. Wear glasses: Yes/No
c. Color blind: Yes/No
d. Any other eye or vision problem: Yes/No
12. Have you ever had an injury to your ears, including a broken ear drum: Yes/No
13. Do you currently have any of the following hearing problems?
a. Difficulty hearing: Yes/No
b. Wear a hearing aid: Yes/No
c. Any other hearing or ear problem: Yes/No
14. Have you ever had a back injury: Yes/No
15. Do you currently have any of the following musculoskeletal problems?
a. Weakness in any of your arms, hands, legs, or feet: Yes/No
b. Back pain: Yes/No
c. Difficulty fully moving your arms and legs: Yes/No
d. Pain or stiffness when you lean forward or backward at the waist: Yes/No
e. Difficulty fully moving your head up or down: Yes/No
f. Difficulty fully moving your head side to side: Yes/No

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g. Difficulty bending at your knees: Yes/No

h. Difficulty squatting to the ground: Yes/No
i. Climbing a flight of stairs or a ladder carrying more than 25 lbs: Yes/No
j. Any other muscle or skeletal problem that interferes with using a respirator: Yes/No
Part B Any of the following questions, and other questions not listed, may be added to the questionnaire at the discretion of the health care professional who will review the questionnaire.
1. In your present job, are you working at high altitudes (over 5,000 feet) or in a place that has lower than normal amounts of oxygen: Yes/No
If yes, do you have feelings of dizziness, shortness of breath, pounding in your chest, or other symptoms when youre working under these conditions:
2. At work or at home, have you ever been exposed to hazardous solvents, hazardous airborne chemicals (e.g., gases, fumes, or dust), or have you come
into skin contact with hazardous chemicals: Yes/No
If yes, name the chemicals if you know them:___________________________________________________________________________________
3. Have you ever worked with any of the materials, or under any of the conditions, listed below:
a. Asbestos: Yes/No
b. Silica (e.g., in sandblasting): Yes/No
c. Tungsten/cobalt (e.g., grinding or welding this material): Yes/No
d. Beryllium: Yes/No
e. Aluminum: Yes/No
f. Coal (for example, mining): Yes/No
g. Iron: Yes/No
h. Tin: Yes/No
i. Dusty environments: Yes/No
j. Any other hazardous exposures: Yes/No
If yes, describe these exposures:____________________________________________________________________________________________
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List any second jobs or side businesses you have:_______________________________________________________________________________

List your previous occupations:______________________________________________________________________________________________
List your current and previous hobbies:________________________________________________________________________________________
Have you been in the military services? Yes/No
If yes, were you exposed to biological or chemical agents (either in training or combat): Yes/No
8. Have you ever worked on a HAZMAT team? Yes/No
9. Other than medications for breathing and lung problems, heart trouble, blood pressure, and seizures mentioned earlier in this questionnaire, are you
taking any other medications for any reason (including over-the-counter medications): Yes/No
If yes, name the medications if you know them:_________________________________________________________________________________
10. Will you be using any of the following items with your respirator(s)?
a. HEPA Filters: Yes/No
b. Canisters (for example, gas masks): Yes/No
c. Cartridges: Yes/No
11. How often are you expected to use the respirator(s) (circle yes or no for all answers that apply to you)?:
a. Escape only (no rescue): Yes/No
b. Emergency rescue only: Yes/No
c. Less than 5 hours per week: Yes/No
d. Less than 2 hours per day: Yes/No
e. 2 to 4 hours per day: Yes/No
f. Over 4 hours per day: Yes/No
12. During the period you are using the respirator(s), is your work effort:
a. Light (less than 200 kcal per hour): Yes/No
If yes, how long does this period last during the average shift:____________hrs.____________mins.
Examples of a light work effort are sitting while writing, typing, drafting, or performing light assembly work; or standing while operating a drill press
(13 lbs.) or controlling machines.

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b. Moderate (200 to 350 kcal per hour): Yes/No

If yes, how long does this period last during the average shift:____________hrs.____________mins.
Examples of moderate work effort are sitting while nailing or filing; driving a truck or bus in urban traffic; standing while drilling, nailing, performing
assembly work, or transferring a moderate load (about 35 lbs.) at trunk level; walking on a level surface about 2 mph or down a 5-degree grade about
3 mph; or pushing a wheelbarrow with a heavy load (about 100 lbs.) on a level surface.
c. Heavy (above 350 kcal per hour): Yes/No
If yes, how long does this period last during the average shift:____________hrs.____________mins.
Examples of heavy work are lifting a heavy load (about 50 lbs.) from the floor to your waist or shoulder; working on a loading dock; shoveling;
standing while bricklaying or chipping castings; walking up an 8-degree grade about 2 mph; climbing stairs with a heavy load (about 50 lbs.).
13. Will you be wearing protective clothing and/or equipment (other than the respirator) when youre using your respirator: Yes/No
If yes, describe this protective clothing and/or equipment:_________________________________________________________________________
14. Will you be working under hot conditions (temperature exceeding 77 deg. F): Yes/No
15. Will you be working under humid conditions: Yes/No
16. Describe the work youll be doing while youre using your respirator(s):________________________________________________________________
17. Describe any special or hazardous conditions you might encounter when youre using your respirator(s) (for example, confined spaces, life-threatening
18. Provide the following information, if you know it, for each toxic substance that youll be exposed to when youre using your respirator(s):
Name of the first toxic substance:___________________________________________
Estimated maximum exposure level per shift:__________________________________
Duration of exposure per shift:______________________________________________
Name of the second toxic substance:________________________________________
Estimated maximum exposure level per shift:__________________________________
Duration of exposure per shift:______________________________________________
Name of the third toxic substance:___________________________________________
Estimated maximum exposure level per shift:__________________________________
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Duration of exposure per shift:______________________________________________

The name of any other toxic substances that youll be exposed to
while using your respirator:
19. Describe any special responsibilities youll have while using your respirator(s) that may affect the safety and well-being of others (for example, rescue,

Safety officers should make sure this form is filled out

and, where appropriate, check that proper follow-up medical evaluations have been completed. This task should be
delegated to the ASOF. The medical unit or a separate contracted medical company may be required to perform occupational medical evaluations. All respirator users must have
medical clearance to wear the respirators they are assigned.

Fit-Testing Protocols General Requirements(5)

The employer shall conduct fit testing using the following
procedures. The requirements below apply to all OSHA-accepted fit test methods, both QLFT and QNFT. Specific QLFT

or QNFT protocols are listed in the OSHA regulation.

1. The test subject shall be allowed to pick the most acceptable respirator from a sufficient number of respirator
models and sizes so that the respirator is acceptable to,
and correctly fits, the user.
2. Prior to the selection process, the test subject shall be
shown how to put on a respirator, how it should be positioned on the face, how to set strap tension, and how
to determine an acceptable fit. A mirror shall be available to assist the subject in evaluating the fit and positioning of the respirator. This instruction may not
constitute the subjects formal training on respirator use,
because it is only a review.
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3. The test subject shall be informed that he/she is being

asked to select the respirator that provides the most acceptable fit. Each respirator represents a different size
and shape, and if fitted and used properly, will provide
adequate protection.
4. The test subject shall be instructed to hold each chosen
face piece up to the face and eliminate those that obviously do not give an acceptable fit.
5. The more acceptable face pieces are noted in case the
one selected proves unacceptable; the most comfortable
mask is donned and worn for at least five minutes to assess comfort. Assistance in assessing comfort can be
given by discussing the points in the following item. If
the test subject is not familiar with using a particular
respirator, the test subject shall be directed to don the
mask several times and to adjust the straps each time to
become adept at setting proper tension on the straps.
6. Assessment of comfort shall include a review of the following points with the test subject and allowing the test
subject adequate time to determine the comfort of the
a. Position of the mask on the nose
b. Room for eye protection for half and quarter mask
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

c. Room to talk
d. Position of mask on face and cheeks
7. The following criteria shall be used to help determine
the adequacy of the respirator fit:
a. Chin properly placed
b. Adequate strap tension, not overly tightened
c. Fit across nose bridge
d. Respirator of proper size to span distance from
nose to chin
e. Tendency of respirator to slip
f. Self-observation in mirror to evaluate fit and
respirator position
8. The test subject shall conduct a user seal check, either
the negative and positive pressure seal checks described
in Appendix B-1 of this section or those recommended
by the respirator manufacturer that provides equivalent
protection to the procedures in Appendix B-1. Before
conducting the negative and positive pressure checks,
the subject shall be told to seat the mask on the face by
moving the head from side-to-side and up and down
slowly while taking in a few slow deep breaths. Another
face piece shall be selected and retested if the test subject fails the user seal check tests.

9. The test shall not be conducted if there is any hair

growth between the skin and the facepiece sealing surface, such as stubble beard growth, beard, mustache, or
sideburns that cross the respirator sealing surface. Any
type of apparel that interferes with a satisfactory fit shall
be altered or removed.
10. Test subjects that exhibit difficulty in breathing during
the tests shall be referred to a physician or other licensed health care professional, as appropriate, to determine whether they can wear a respirator while
performing their duties.
11. If the employee finds the fit of the respirator unacceptable, the test subject shall be given the opportunity to
select a different respirator and to be retested.
12. Exercise regimen: Prior to the commencement of the fit
test, the test subject shall be given a description of the fit
test and the test subjects responsibilities during the test
procedure. The description of the process shall include a
description of the test exercises that the subject will be
performing. The respirator to be tested shall be worn for
at least 5 minutes before the start of the fit test.
13. The fit test shall be performed while the test subject is
wearing any applicable safety equipment that may be
worn during actual respirator use which could interfere

with respirator fit.

14. Test Exercises:
a. Employers must perform the following test exercises
for all fit testing methods prescribed in this appendix,
except for the CNP quantitative fit testing protocol
and the CNP REDON quantitative fit testing protocol.
For these two protocols, employers must ensure that
the test subjects (i.e., employees) perform the exercise
procedure specified in Part I.C.4(b) of this appendix
for the CNP quantitative fit testing protocol, or the exercise procedure described in Part I.C.5(b) of this appendix for the CNP REDON quantitative fit-testing
protocol. For the remaining fit testing methods, employers must ensure that employees perform the test
exercises in the appropriate test environment in the
following manner:
i. Normal breathing. In a normal standing position,
without talking, the subject shall breathe normally.
ii. Deep breathing. In a normal standing position,
the subject shall breathe slowly and deeply, taking caution so as not to hyperventilate.
iii. Turning head side to side. Standing in place, the
subject shall slowly turn the head from side to
American Industrial Hygiene Association



side between the extreme positions on each side.

The head shall be held at each extreme momentarily so the subject can inhale at each side.
Moving head up and down. Standing in place,
the subject shall slowly move the head up and
down. The subject shall be instructed to inhale in
the up position (i.e., when looking toward the
Talking. The subject shall talk out loud slowly
and loud enough so as to be heard clearly by the
test conductor. The subject can read from a prepared text such as the Rainbow Passage, count
backward from 100, or recite a memorized poem
or song.
Rainbow Passage
When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air,
they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The
rainbow is a division of white light into many
beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long
round arch, with its path high above, and its two
ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one
end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a
man looks for something beyond reach, his

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the

end of the rainbow.
vi. Grimace. The test subject shall grimace by smiling or frowning. (This applies only to QNFT testing; it is not performed for QLFT)
vii. Bending over. The test subject shall bend at the
waist as if to touch their toes. Jogging in place
shall be substituted for this exercise in those test
environments, such as shroud type QNFT or
QLFT units, that do not permit bending over at
the waist.
viii. Normal breathing. Same as exercise i.
b. Each test exercise shall be performed for one minute,
except for the grimace exercise, which shall be performed for 15 seconds. The test subject shall be questioned by the test conductor regarding the comfort of
the respirator upon completion of the protocol. If it
has become unacceptable, another model of respirator
shall be tried. The respirator shall not be adjusted
once the fit test exercises begin. Any adjustment voids
the test, and the fit test must be repeated


1. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH): NIOSH Respirator Selection Logic. Washington,
DC: NIOSH, 2004.
2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA): OSHAs Respiratory Protection Standard 29 CFR
1910.134. Washington, DC: OSHA. Available at
respirators/presentation/slide33.html. Accessed
April 7, 2008.
3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA): Respiratory Protection Advisor Factors that can
Reduce Cartridge Service Life. Washington, DC: OSHA.
Available at
respiratory/factors/factors.html. Accessed April 7, 2008.
4. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA): Appendix A to 1910.134: Fit Testing Procedures
(Mandatory). Washington, DC: OSHA, 2004.
5. Wood, G.O.: Estimating Service Lives of Organic Vapor
Cartridges, Am. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J. 55(1):1115 (1994).


American Industrial Hygiene Association


Chapter 9
Personal Protective Equipment

This chapter provides a general overview of PPE often encountered in incident response or recovery operations, and
to cover basic selection and use. Like respiratory protection,
the responsibility to maintain and use this equipment resides
with the responding organization or agency, but the safety
officer needs to clearly identify and articulate the minimum
required PPE levels for the specific jobs/tasks at hand.
Specialized PPE like fall arrest, water safety, or chemical
protective clothing is very extensive and often is done by
trained professionals with the appropriate training, equipment, and written plans. Safety officers should coordinate
with these organizations to ensure that they have the proper
training, plans and proper equipment.

Head Protection
Class A
These are helmets intended to protect personnel from impact
force of falling objects and from electrical shock during conIncident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

tact with exposed low-voltage conductors;

Class B
These are helmets intended to protect like Class A, but in addition, protect against contact with exposed high-voltage
Class C
These are helmets designed to protect only from impact force
of falling objects with no electrical protection from exposed

Eye and Face Protection(2)

Areas where chemical exposures (from aerosols or splash)
and flying debris (from welding and cutting) require either
or both eye and face protection.
Eye and face protection devices used at an incident shall
be in compliance with ANSI Z87.1-1989. Types to consider
include the following:

Safety Spectacles
Safety spectacles are intended to shield the wearers eyes
from impact hazards such as flying fragments, objects, large
chips, and particles. Workers are required to use eye safety
spectacles with side shields when there is a hazard from flying objects. Non-side shield spectacles are not acceptable eye
protection for impact hazards. [1910.133(a)(2), 1915.153(a)(2)]
The frames of safety spectacles are constructed of metal
and/or plastic and can be fitted with either corrective or
plano impact-resistant lenses. Side shields may be incorporated into the frames of safety spectacles when needed.
Safety/Chemical Goggles
Safety goggle frames must be properly fitted to the workers
face to form a protective seal around the eyes. Poorly fitted
goggles will not offer the necessary protection.
Eye cup goggles must cover the eye sockets completely,
and are available with direct or indirect ventilation. They
may be rigid or flexible.
Cover safety goggles may be worn over corrective spectacles without disturbing the adjustment of the spectacles. They
can be available in direct, indirect, or non-ventilated types.
They may also be rigid or flexible. The non-ventilated goggles
should be used against chemical splash or chemical aerosols.

Face Shields
Face shields are intended to protect the entire face or portions of it from impact hazards such as flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles. When worn alone, face
shields do not protect employees from impact hazards. Use
face shields in combination with safety spectacles or goggles,
even in the absence of dust or potential splashes, for additional protection beyond that offered by spectacles or goggles alone.
Face shield windows are made with different transparent materials and in varying degrees or levels of thickness.
These levels should correspond with specific tasks. Windows
are available in both removable and lift-front designs:
Removable windows allow the replacement of damaged
windows. Lift-front windows may be raised, as needed, or
left in the lowered position. They do protect against light impact, may include a glass insert, and are available in clear or
filtered. Wire-screen windows may include a plastic/glass
insert, and they do protect against some moderate impact.
However, they are not recommended for use involving
chemical or liquid hazards.
Headgear should support the window shield and secures the device to the head. Adjustable headgear would include straps that allow the user to manipulate the size of the
American Industrial Hygiene Association

headgear to ensure a proper fit, and allows face shields to be

shared between employees
Hard hat with face shield may have a window shield
mounted under the visor of the hat, and can include face
shields that may be plastic, wire-screen, lift-front, or removable.

Hearing Protection(3)
Expandable foam plugs
These plugs are made of a formable material designed to expand and conform to the shape of each persons ear canal.
Roll the expandable plugs into a thin, crease-free cylinder.
Pre-molded, reusable plugs
Pre-molded plugs are made from silicone, plastic, or rubber
and are manufactured as either one-size-fits-most or are
available in several sizes. Many pre-molded plugs are available in sizes for small, medium, or large ear canals. A critical
tip about pre-molded plugs is that a person may need a different size plug for each ear. The plugs should seal the ear
canal without being uncomfortable.
Earmuffs come in many models designed to fit most people.
They work to block out noise by completely covering the
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

outer ear. Muffs can be low profile, with small ear cups, or
large, to hold extra materials for use in extreme noise. Some
muffs also include electronic components to help users communicate or to block impulsive noises.
Evaluating Noise Reduction Rating in the Field(4)
To estimate field noise reduction ratings versus using a manufacturers NRR, NIOSH recommends the following de-rating values:
All other

Subtract 25% from manufacturers labeled NRR

Subtract 50% from the manufacturers labeled
Subtract 70% from the manufacturers labeled

Using noise survey data, in dBC rating, the known effective A-weighted noise level is calculated the following:
dBA = dBC derated NRR
Using the noise survey data, in dBA rating, the known
effective A-weighted noise level is calculated the following:
dBA = dBA (derated NRR 7)

Selection and Use of Protective Clothing

Factors in Choosing Protective Clothing(5)
Determining if a job/task can be done without protective clothing
Determine the type of exposure requiring the need for
protective clothing
Against burns or flames
Against chemicals
Against sharp or jagged edges
Against cold or radiant heat sources
Determine duration of required wear
If to protect against chemical exposures, determine the
following factors:
Type of chemical(s) involved
Exposure potential from either
Immersion (continuous or intermittent)
Spray (pressurized or nonpressurized)
Splash (continuous or intermittent)
Surface contact (continuous or intermittent)
Mist (continuous or intermittent)
For chemical protective clothing, physical resistance
factors need to be considered, such as:
Resistance to heat and cold effects

Tear strength
Tensile strength
Cut resistance
Abrasion resistance
Puncture resistance

As outlined by EPA and NIOSH PPE Selection Schemes

for Hazardous Material or Hazardous Waste Recovery
Operations, there are four levels of protection(5)
Level A:
SCBA or Airline with escape SCBA and totally encapsulating CPC, double layer gloves, chemically resistant boots and any other safety equipment.
Level B:
Same respirator level as Level A, but use a
hooded chemical resistant suit, gloves (double layer),
chemically resistant boots, plus other safety equipment.
Level C:
Full-face or half-face air purifying respirator and use Level B protective clothing.
Level D:
No respiratory protection and assigned
routine work uniforms.
Chemical Protective Clothing Considerations(5)
Higher temperatures usually decrease the breakthrough
times allowing for chemicals to easily pas or permeate
though protective barriers.
American Industrial Hygiene Association

Thicker material is more protective at the expense of finger and hand dexterity and tactility.
Once compromised, the CPC will continue to absorb the
Once torn, cut, or damaged, the CPC will not be as effective against chemical adsorption.
There is universally protective clothing against all
Verify with manufacturers instructions if there are required storage requirements or shelf-life issues.
AIHAs Chemical Protective Clothing is a recommended
reference resource for a safety officer to have.

3. Stephenson, C.M.: Choose the Hearing Protection thats

Right For You. Washington, DC: NIOSH. Available at
chooseprotection.html. Accessed April 7, 2008.
4. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):
Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Noise
Exposure, Revised Criteria. Washington, DC: NIOSH,
5. Forsberg, K. and S.Z. Mansdorf: Quick Selection Guide to
Chemical Protective Clothing, Fifth Edition. New York:
Wiley, 2007

1. Krieger, G.R. and J.F. Montgomery (Eds.): Accident
Prevention Manual: Engineering Technology, 11th Edition.
Itasca, IL: National Safety Council, 1997.
2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA): Safety and Health Topics: Eye and Face Protection.
Washington, DC: OSHA. Available at
html. Accessed April 7, 2008.

Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)



Incident Response and Preparedness (IRP)

Working Group

American Industrial Hygiene Association

Joselito Ignacio, CIH, CSP, REHS, MPH Chair
Robert Adams, CIH, CSP Vice-Chair
Ellen Clas, MS, CIH, CSP AIHA Board Coordinator
Tony Intrepido
Glenn Millner, PhD
Pat Brady
James S. Johnson, PhD, CIH
Ruth McCully
Michael Zustra, CIH, CPEA
Bruce Fraser, M.A.Sc., P.Eng
Heather McArthur, CIH, MSPH
Meredith Austin, CIH, MS
Frank Carroll, CIH, MS
Steven Danielcyzk, CIH
Margaret Buckalew, MPH
Adam Riss
Nicole Knapp
Cory Davis
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

This publication is dedicated to the men and women of

the Safety, Industrial Hygiene, and Environmental
Health Profession who have and continue to serve our
first responders and recovery personnel.
This publication was developed for them.


Appendix I
Cold Injury Prevention Quick Reference

Cold air temperatures combined with high air velocity
(e.g., wind or in uncovered moving), and moisture (e.g.,
perspiration or physical water contact).
Hypothermia: Core body temperature drops below
98.6F, and the person begins to shiver or stomp their
feet to stay warm, begins losing physical coordination,
exhibits slurred speech, or hands begin to fumble.
Frostbite: Skin actually freezes, and typically, occurs
when air temperatures are 30F and below.
Trench Foot: Caused by feet immersed or remains constantly wet, with water at temperatures above freezing
for long periods.

Refer to Figure I.1 for the wind chill temperatures chart.

Engineering controls:
Radiant heaters and warming shelters
Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook (ISHMH)

Shield from drafts or winds

Insulating materials on equipment
Safe work practices:
Stay hydrated before and during work
Avoid alcoholic drinks
Take breaks in warming shelters
Use buddy method of watching each other
Get plenty of rest (ideally 7 hours sleep before
continuing work)
Personal protective equipment:
3 Layers of clothing
Outer layer break the wind and yet allow for
Middle layer down or wool to absorb sweat and
provide insulation
Inner layer cotton or synthetic weave to allow
Insulated boots

Change out of wet clothing as soon as possible

Avoid wearing any tight fitting clothing
Training requirements:

Recognition, signs, and symptoms of cold injuries

Appropriate engineering controls to be used on-site
Establish work/rest cycle
Buddy system

Safe Work Practices

1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA): OSHA Emergency Preparedness and Response:
Safety and Health Guides Cold Stress. Washington, DC:
OSHA, 2005.

Figure I.1 Wind Chill

Chart. From U.S. Army:
Technical Bulletin: Prevention
and Management of
Cold-Weather Injuries (TB Med
508). Washington, DC: U.S.
Army, 2005. Available at
Accessed April 20, 2008.

American Industrial Hygiene Association