Current Section

SEAPRO Technical Manual

Section 1
Part 3 - Safety

SEAPRO Safety Information

The number one priority in any response is safety the safety of workers, property, and the environment. If requested to do so by a member company who has had a spill, the SEAPRO Safety Manager will assume the role of Safety Officer and perform the duties outlined for that position in SEAPRO Safety Checklist, including site assessment, site characterization, and the preparation of a Site Safety and Health Plan, as well as those duties described below. Specific information on SEAPRO safety policies and guidelines is presented in this section, as well as forms and guidelines for use by SEAPRO member companies in developing their own policies and plans.

Safety Officer Duties

General Duties

The Safety Officer is responsible for monitoring and assessing hazardous conditions and unsafe situations. This person is also responsible for developing the oil spill incident “Site Safety Plan” to assure personnel safety. The Safety Officer will correct unsafe acts or conditions through regular lines of authority, although the Safety Officer or his Field Safety Personnel may exercise emergency authority to stop or prevent unsafe acts when immediate action is required.

Specific Duties - Incident Objectives

  • Provide for the safety and welfare of citizens and response personnel.
  • Provide for the safety and security of responders, as well as maximize the protection of public health and welfare.
  • Identify safety and risk factors and monitor for compliance for both the public and responders.
  • Implement practices that allow for the safety and welfare of the passengers and non-essential crew.
  • Conduct an Operational Risk Assessment and ensure controls are in place to protect responders and the public.
  • Develop a site safety plan, including support facilities, and monitor for compliance.
  • Report any serious incidents, accidents, or injuries immediately to Incident Command.
  • Work closely with Logistics to ensure that appropriate communications are in place to support the response effort.

Duties outlined above are established in U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (IMH (2014)) responsibilities for the incident Safety Officer.

SEAPRO Safety Policy

SEAPRO is responsible for providing safe working conditions for its response teams. These responsibilities are covered in various safety laws as well as OSHA HAZWOPER regulations, and include a requirement for the employer to provide both safety equipment (including personal protective gear) and safety training to a certain level. SEAPRO maintains compliance and provides its response pool members with both the proper equipment and the proper level of training (HAZWOPER as well as other training).

SEAPRO Safety Equipment

SEAPRO Air Monitoring Equipment

SEAPRO has available a variety of air monitors for establishing the safety of air quality at a spill site or work zone. All air monitors are caliberated and tested on a regular basis, as well as prior to any field deployment or use.

SEAPRO has the following air monitoring equipment in active inventory:

More detailed specifications on all of SEAPRO's air monitors can be found on the SEAPRO Website. The air monitoring equipment is stored at the SEAPRO office in Ketchikan.

All Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), except Mustang Suits, is stored in special responder bags inside certain SEAPRO containers. Mustang Suits are packed separately, 6 per box. The quantities, zone location, and container numbers for the responder bags and mustang suits can be seen by clicking on their respective hyperlinks.

SEAPRO Responder Safety Guidelines

Safety and health is the prime responsibility of all individuals during spill response activities. Anyone can stop any activity at any time if he/she believes there is a safety concern. Once stopped, the person in charge (generally the team leader) must resolve the safety concern(s), and only then can the response continue. Although SEAPRO's goal is to successfully clean up an oil spill, we will never place spill cleanup over the preservation of human health and safety.

All workers at a spill site should have received spill response training, during which safety training has been stressed. All personnel at a spill must remember that everyone is a safety observer and, regardless of what their job assignment may be, safety comes first.

The Minimum Elements to review at a spill site appear below and in the Safety Checklist. Each spill responder should review the Minimum Elements Checklist and sign at the bottom acknowledging such review.

Safety Checklist - Minimum Elements

MINIMUM ELEMENTS For Worker Site Entry Before Written Safety Plan Is Complete


  • Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls (Time)
  • Personal Protective Equipment


  • Information used will be in written plan
  • Known or anticipated hazards identified
  • Contaminants found
  • Document the crew members present and information used


  • Trained to task, Hazardous Materials Technician/Specialist


  • Location, medical/decontamination procedures


  • Alerting methods/procedures
  • Buddy system
  • Personnel communications
  • Supervisors
  • Workers
  • PPE limits/requirements


  • Use attached guide
  • Post where it can be read by all personnel involved

CHECKLIST REVIEWED ______/_______/_________ BY:___________________________

Basic Safety and Health Guidelines for Responders

The Site Safety and Health Plan (SSHP) that is specific to each incident contains information to help personnel work safely. Personnel at oil spill clean up sites should familiarize themselves with the SSHP, and sign it prior to starting response activities. Basic health and safety guidelines ar as follows;

  • Safety and health takes precedence over any cleanup activities;
  • Report any unsafe conditions or equipment promptly;
  • Evaluate the risks of a task before starting work;
  • Every response poses unique hazards, know your limitations;
  • Know where the safety and first aid equipment is located;
  • Wear hearing protection in areas where the noise is above 85 dBA. If you have to shout to be heard at a close distance, the sound levels are above 85 dBA;
  • Never work alone, always use the “buddy” system;
  • Do not work in areas that you have not been trained for;
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment for the work environment and weather; and
  • When working offshore on a boat, stay in contact with someone on shore.

Additionally, SEAPRO provides training and resource materials for responders and Response Team members. The SEAPRO RESPONDER HANDBOOK provides information regarding safe work practices, site management, clean up protocols, and best practices.

The following insert provides safety considerations outlined in the SEAPRO RESPONDER HANDBOOK.

Other SEAPRO Safety Equipment

SEAPRO safety equipment (which includes decontamination supplies, the "PPE/Safety Module", and Mustang Suits) is stored in 20-ft. containers along with SEAPRO oil spill response equipment (skimmers, boom, pumps, etc.). These response containers are located in each of SEAPRO's nine zones. (See Section 1 - SEAPRO Equipment for the specific location of the containers in each zone.)


If it is determined that an Industrial Hygienist is needed, one of the consultants listed below will be contacted and requested to make arrangements through the Logistics Section to travel to the spill site. Until the arrival of the Industrial Hygienist, the SEAPRO Safety Manager or other qualified SEAPRO personnel will assist a member company in completing the Site Characterization and Site Safety and Health Plan. SEAPRO personnel will use the air monitoring equipment described above. (see SEAPRO Air Monitoring Equipment).

(1) Mr. Steven Magasis M..S., C.I.H. (2) Mr. Martin Finkel
Golder Associates, Inc.
4104 - 148th Ave. NE 200 W. 34th Ave., Suite 908
Redmond, Washington 98052 Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Office - (206) 883-0777 ext. 2259 Office - (970) 248-1024
Alt Office (206) 784-9980
Emergency Pager (206) 986-0734
Fax - (907) 248-1024

Site Assessment Diagram

The following diagram provides a step-by-step guide for completing the initial site assessment.

Site Assessment Logic Diagram
Site Assessment Logic Diagram

Site Characterization

The site of a spill must be characterized prior to preparing a Site Safety & Health Plan. To assure that the site characterization and hazard analysis is done safely and properly, the SEAPRO Safety Officer performs the following survey before actually entering the site.

Pre-entry Survey

Task Specific Risk Assessment (TSRA)

STOP! & Think

Before starting any work:
  1. Assess the hazards inherent in the task by reviewing each of the areas described below.
  2. Prepare an action plan to control all hazards prior to starting any work.
Pre-entry Survey
Begin Monitoring from:
  • Upwind of the Spill
  • Downwind of the Spill
  • Crosswind of the Spill
  • On Scene Safety Officer's Choice
Monitor for:
  1. Normally Expected Airborne Contaminants
  2. Additional Items to be listed
Begin Monitoring at _______ Miles from the Origin
Monitor at _________ (Mile/Time) Intervals
Monitoring Required for the following Contaminants:
_____ Verify Use of the Buddy System
Personal Protection Equipment Requirements
Check if Required Description Specific Description
Floatsuit (Type V)
Emergency Signaling Device
Eye Protection
Skin Protection
Safety Boots/Shoes
Hard Hat
Hearing Protection
Respiratory Protection
Emergency Instructions
Yes - There is a risk
No - There is no risk
Chemical Hazards Ergonomic Hazards Environmental Hazards
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Toxic Gases
  • All GHS/MSDS Reviewed
  • Fumes/Smoke/Dust
  • Oils/Fuels/Lubricants
  • Pinch Points
  • Awkward Body Position
  • Prolonged Twisting/Bending Motion
  • Working in Tight Quarters
  • Lift Top Heavy/Awkward lifts
  • Body parts in line of fire
  • Repetitive Motion
  • Hands not in line of sight
  • Working above head
  • Slip/Trip/Fall Potential
  • Hot/Cold Work Environment
  • Spill Potential
  • Waste Containment Required
  • Waste Disposal Required
  • Other Workers in Area Informed
  • Weather Conditions
  • MSDS/GHS Reviewed
  • Atmospheric Tests Completed
Access/Egress Hazards Electrical/Hot Work Hazards Overhead Work/Fall Hazards
  • Man Lift (fall protection required)
  • Scaffold (inspected and fall protection in place
  • Ladder(s) (inspected and tied off)
  • Slippery Surfaces, Trip Hazards
  • Hoisting (Tools and Equipment)
  • Evacuation/Extrucation routes identified
  • Confined Space Entry Required
  • Working on/near energized equipment
  • Lockout Procedure in Place
  • GFI Tested
  • Overhead/Underwater/Underground Power Lines
  • Lighting Level Adequate
  • Electrical Cords in good condition
  • Electrical Tools in good condition
  • Hot Work Permit Required
  • Fire Extinguishers in place
  • Barricades in place below crane
  • Hoisting and moving loads overhead
  • Open holes identified
  • Fall protection/hazard lanyards
  • Anchor points identified
  • Be Aware of Falling Objects
  • Foreign objects in eye(s)
Rigging Hazards Personal Limitations/Hazards Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Proper lifting bridle used
  • All Equipment SWL (Safe Working Load) rated
  • Equipment inspected
  • Proper slings (inspected/rated)
  • No work below suspended load
  • Instructions are understood
  • Trained to use tools and perform tasks
  • First time performing task?
  • Distractions (stay focused)
  • New/inexperienced worker(s)
  • Assigned to experienced worker(s)
  • Working Solo (if yes, establish communication procedures)
  • Hard Hat
  • Safety Glass/Goggles/Splash Guard
  • Gloves (rubber, nitrile, leather)
  • Safety boots
  • Coveralls (tyvec, flame resistant)
  • Hearing protection
  • Fall protection/harness/lanyard
  • PDF

Site Characterization and Hazard Analysis

Team:____________________ Date:____________________
Location: Time:
On-Scene Weather
Wind Speed: Wind Direction: Temperature: Water Temp.: Current Direction: Current Speed:
Visual Assessment
Light Sheen: Medium Sheen: Heavy Sheen:
Wildlife Impacted
Birds: Seals: Sea Lions: Sea Otters: Sea Mammals: Fish:

Site Safety and Health Plan

Plan Guidelines

Once the Pre-entry Survey and Site Characterization and Hazard Analysis are complete, the Safety Officer will prepare the Site Safety and Health Plan.

Proper hazard identification, hazard assessment, and selection of the appropriate personal protective equipment and safety and health practices must precede all other activities for spill containment and control.

Chemical exposure potential, fire and explosion risk, temperature extremes, and other physical hazards must be carefully considered in mobilizing a response effort. The development of a Site Safety & Health Plan that incorporates all these considerations is required by the Occupational Health and Safety Organization (OSHA) under 29 CFR 1910.120. Furthermore, the plan must also meet State regulations regarding occupational safety and health as described in the general safety code, occupational health and environmental control code, construction code, petroleum code, hazardous waste operations, and emergency response and hazard communications code.
In order to assist member companies in the preparation of their individual site safety plans, SEAPRO provides one of its Site Safety & Health Plan formats. This plan was developed by NIOSH, OSHA, USCG, and the EPA for responding to hazardous materials releases. While it is readily adaptable to different situations and facilities, it is important to note that this plan is not all-inclusive and should only be used as a guide.

A Site Safety & Health Plan contains various sections including:

  • site description;
  • entry objectives;
  • on-site organization and coordination (should be obtained from the Resource Unit/Planning Section);
  • on-site control;
  • hazard evaluation;
  • personal protection equipment;
  • on-site work plans;
  • communication procedures;
  • decontamination procedures;
  • site-specific safety plan (as compared to the general, overall plan);
  • environmental monitoring;
  • emergency procedures/medical plan;
  • personnel monitoring.

ICS Site Safety Plan (SSP)

The Site Safety Plan, which typically includes the Health Plan is available as an ICS form (ICS-208 & ICS-206) which is available in a variety of formats and form factors.

Additionally, SEAPRO has developed an online application that will help safety Personnel quickly prepare an initial Site Specific Safety and Health Plan. You can get started here.

Regulatory Citations

State Regulations

State of Alaska regulations regarding the contents of oil discharge and contingency plans under 18 AAC 75.425 specify that the following information be included within the Safety Regulations section of a plan:

"Based on applicable safety standards, a description of the steps necessary to develop an incident-specific safety plan for conducting a response."

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) Guidelines

ADEC Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan Application and Review Guidelines provide, in part, the following information regarding required contents of this section:

"The Safety Officer for the facility or operation must be identified by name and/or title and contact number. The duties of the Safety Officer in the event of a spill must be described.
Operations required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are to have a site-specific safety plan to guide response to a spill. This section of the plan must describe the procedures for developing and implementing an incident-specific plan to guide response in accordance with applicable federal and state standards."