NIOSH Efforts in Deepwater Horizon Response Highlighted in New Manuscript


July 18, 2011
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Spring, (202) 245-0633

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) work on the Deepwater Horizon response is highlighted in a new manuscript entitled Protecting workers in large-scale emergency responses: NIOSH experience in the Deepwater Horizon response, published in the July Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The article describes NIOSH’s activities in the Deepwater Horizon Response and its cooperative efforts with the Unified Area Command, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other federal, state and local partners who worked to protect response workers.

Experiences and lessons learned from the World Trade Center attack and other disaster responses, such as Hurricane Katrina, as well as work contributed by a NIOSH-led effort to produce the guidance document Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (, were used to develop a more systematic approach to worker safety during the Deepwater Horizon response. NIOSH rostered over 55,000 workers, conducted Health Hazard Evaluations in six work categories, analyzed injury and illness data, created guidance and educational materials to communicate worker protective measures, and conducted toxicity testing on dispersant, crude oil, and mixtures of oil and dispersant.

“Leveraging past experience and lessons learned is a critical step in improving our response to similar events in the future,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “This article helps to facilitate a dialogue between NIOSH and partners in the government, industry, labor and academia on ways to improve the overall response to both natural and man-made disasters.”

The full article is available in the July 2011 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, available at icon. To learn more about NIOSH’s work in emergency response, visit the website at

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. It was created under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More information about NIOSH can be found at

Page last reviewed: July 13, 2011