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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2006 Dec;3(12):671-83.

Developing a health and safety plan for hazardous field work in remote areas.

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Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA.


Developing health and safety plans (HASPs) is a common feature of occupational safety and health for many workplaces. Formal HASPs are a requirement for hazardous waste work, requiring the anticipation and identification of hazards and embodying the training, equipping, and evaluation of workers. Aside from OSHA, there are relatively few manuals or examples and virtually no papers that provide practical guidance in what a HASP should cover or how to create and implement one. Moreover, existing guidance refers to spatially circumscribed worksites. This article details development of a HASP to cover field researchers and ship personnel conducting scientific research in a remote area of the world (Amchitka Island in the western Aleutians), hundreds of kilometers from the nearest emergency room. It required characterizing the kinds of work to be performed and anticipating the hazards that could be encountered. It illustrates the meshing of a general HASP with a ship safety plan, a dive safety plan, and specialized topics, including stop-work authority, rock climbing, firearms, vehicle safety, and communication strategy. Remote area operations are a growing challenge facing the profession. An expedition of this sort requires extensive planning and experienced safety personnel and cannot rely on luck to ensure the safe return of participants.

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