In-situ burning (ISB) of spilled petroleum has been conducted since the late 1950s. Most burns were performed from ground level on upland areas, inland waters, or test basins and the frequency of use has been relatively low. Response to the Deepwater Horizon incident reminded the spill response community of this strategy by illustrating the utility of ISB for spills offshore. Over 400 individual burns were conducted during the summer of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon response resulted in an unprecedented and extensive use of offshore ISB, and media coverage repeatedly demonstrated successful ISB operations. Ensuring responder and community safety and health is a critical aspect for conducting controlled burns of petroleum during an oil spill response. ISB presents unique issues associated with conducting controlled burns whether on land, near shore or offshore requiring relevant guidance for Safety Officers and industrial hygienists (IH). Response personnel conducting ISB must be trained specifically for burn operations. Health concerns related to conducting and monitoring the burns must be evaluated. With the large number of controlled burns conducted in the Gulf of Mexico throughout the Deepwater Horizon response, extensive experience has been obtained which can be used to update guidance and standards documents for conducting safe burn operations.

This poster, targeted for the global response community, regulators and industry, covers the health and safety concerns that need to be addressed before, during and after ISB operations by Safety Officers and industrial hygienists. Specifically, the poster will be in two parts, highlighting the research to date. Part one will be a summary of the literature research and an evaluation of safety baseline information for ISB. The second part will demonstrate how to use the information from the first part and develop an ISB site safety plan by conducting a job hazard analysis and risk assessment. The end result will be a better understanding of potential ISB hazards, their associated risks, and the range of control methods available to the response community to mitigate those risks. The goal is ultimately to develop for Safety Officers and industrial hygienists a comprehensive consensus guidance document that aids in their ability to make sound risk based decisions during an emergency.

This content is only available as a PDF.