Oil Spill Response Using In Situ Burning: e-Learning for Responder Safety and Effectiveness

Period of Performance: 04/01/2017 - 03/31/2018


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

D and E Technical, Inc.
Champaign, IL 61821
Principal Investigator


Project Summary / Abstract Oil spill response is an intermittent and relatively infrequent activity for spills of any significant size. However, it is also fraught with hazards to workers who need to be aware of threats to their health and safety and know how to conduct spill response safely. This innovative training will be implemented by E-learning applications, to be later supplemented by hands-on practice that is specific to the job tasks of oil spill responders using in situ burning response techniques. Federal law, implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) rule at 29 CFR 1910.120, places certain requirements and restrictions on workers at oil spills. Unlike, other, more general HAZWOPER training this particular effort will focus on the relevant job tasks of oil spill responders using in situ burning response techniques, provide practical training, and be economical to administer. The HAZWOPER requirements that apply to oil spill response are specified in OSHA Publication 3172. Other guidance developed under the auspices of the Joint Industry Oil Spill Response Task Force and the American Petroleum Institute (API), Oil Spill Emergency Preparedness and Response subcommittee, includes draft guidelines for the selection and training of in situ burning personnel (proposed API Technical Report 1253). It is a challenge to have sufficient numbers of workers trained to respond to rare events like oil spills. Innovative means are needed to allow workers to be trained and deployed very quickly in the event of a sizable oil spill. The intent of Phase I of this project is to develop a training syllabus from these guidance documents to address the learning of those competencies that are unique to oil spill response using in situ burning. Typically, HAZWOPER training is more effective when verbal presentations are combined with hands on practice to refine and reinforce the presented skills. Phase I of this project will include researching, developing and evaluating the effectiveness of various combinations of ways of conducting the verbal (lecture) portion of the proposed course using E-teaching means. The means are expected to include a mix of written material, audio recordings, still photographs, sketches, video clips, quizzes, automated feedback, interactive forums, virtual hands-on scenarios, instructor feedback, and tests. Evaluation is expected to be by questionnaire, interview, quiz/test answer analysis and variation of the means of presenting the material to test groups of students. Phase II of the project is anticipated to be the combination of the E-learning effort developed in Phase I with hands-on training leading to a certification of proficiency for trained individuals.