OSHA and the EPA both have a role to play in workplace emergency response. When required by OSHA standards, employers must have a written emergency action plan that documents procedures to protect workers. EPA’s mission is to protect the environment, but its role in emergency response also supports workplace protection.
EPA responds to oil spills, chemical, biological and radiological releases as well as large-scale national emergencies. The agency also provides additional assistance when the capabilities of state and local first responders have been exhausted, or when additional support is required. Accordingly, EPA protects both human health and the environment.
Examples of incidents to which the EPA has responded include the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (1989) and the Floreffe, Pennsylvania Oil Spill (1988). More recently, EPA assessed on-going water releases from the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado (2015) and treated mine water after pressurized water began leaking above a mine tunnel.