Building a Disposal Decision Support Tool
ERG built a decision support tool that gives government officials managing incident cleanup efforts the information they need to make well-informed waste disposal decisions. Developed for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) National Homeland Security Research Center, the tool provides critical information related to all aspects of solid, hazardous, and radiological waste disposal in response to an incident of national significance. Initially developed to address disposal of chemically and biologically contaminated building materials, the utility and modular design of the tool led to the development of modules for natural disaster debris, contaminated drinking water system waste, radiological dispersion device (dirty bomb) waste, and diseased animal carcasses. The decision support tool provides context-sensitive information related to waste staging, packaging, transportation, disposal options, and associated worker protections.
Developing an Emergency Responder Health and Safety Manual
To meet the challenges of a post-9/11 era, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) saw the need for a nationally consistent, mission-ready workforce. Toward that end, ERG helped EPA develop an emergency responder Health and Safety (H&S) manual that promotes a consistent approach to health and safety across the agency. The manual includes quick reference guides for EPA emergency responders, assigns clear roles and responsibilities, and equips EPA emergency responders with tools to develop effective, site-specific H&S plans. To supplement the manual, ERG also developed a half-day course for EPA personnel who implement regional H&S programs.
Designing the Enhanced Hurricane e-Matrix Web Site
An ERG-designed Web site helped protect workers during the response efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) asked ERG to develop the enhanced e-Matrix Web site, which describes key hurricane-related risks and hazards that workers might encounter, such as downed power lines and trees, high volumes of debris, and buildings with compromised structural integrity. The e-Matrix also highlights recommended work practices and personal protective equipment, and outlines key provisions of applicable standards vital to response and recovery activities. Developed in a matrix format, the Web site enables employers to conduct more detailed job hazard analyses and make better decisions about worker health and safety.
Creating a Mobile Data Collection Application
An ERG mobile software application has protected workers at several natural disaster sites, including the location of the 2007 California wildfires. ERG developed the application for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to collect data to evaluate conditions and reduce hazards during incident management operations, ensuring that threats to responder safety and health are anticipated, recognized, and controlled consistently. The system, referred to as the Occupational Safety and Health Response Annex Application (OSHRA), provides the ability to capture field data, then transmit and rapidly report worker safety and health conditions. The system is designed to gather and transmit locational, worker, hazard, and sampling data but could be configured to collect other response-related information in the future. ERG performed a requirements analysis for the system; designed and tested the application software; deployed the application to the field; and provided field support and training.