On May 30, 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT's) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a new version of its Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG), which gives emergency first responders a revised resource to help them perform hazmat duties in the first 30 minutes after an accident.
More than 2 million copies of the guidebook will be distributed to firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police officers across the country. Emergency responders will be able to use the resource to identify hazmat items and their associated risks, learn how to protect themselves and others, and find procedures to quickly and safely contain the accident.
"We take the safety of this nation and its emergency responders very seriously," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Our goal is to make sure that these critical responders have the most current information possible."
This newest guidebook replaces the 2008 version and features several revisions, reorganized general information pages, and new tables, including the Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances for large spills involving six common gases that are toxic if inhaled.
Emergencies can create many different hazards for workers. When hazardous materials are involved, ensure workers are wearing appropriate safety products, which may include respiratory protection, safety glasses, protective gloves, and protective clothing.