Hazardous Waste Site Security

Site security for hazardous waste sites and cleanup sites (HAZWOPER) is essential in protecting authorized personnel, workers, visitors and the local community. Listed below are some helpful tip regarding site security. Site security is necessary to:

• Prevent the exposure of unauthorized, unprotected people to site hazards.

• Avoid the increased hazards from vandals or persons seeking to abandon other wastes on the site.

• Prevent theft.

• Avoid interference with safe working procedures.

HAZWOPER site security illustration

To maintain site security during working hours:

• Maintain security in the Support Zone and at Access Control Points.

• Establish an identification system to identify authorized persons and limitations to their approved activities.

• Assign responsibility for enforcing authority for entry and exit requirements.

• Erect a fence or other physical barrier around the site.

• If the site is not fenced, post signs around the perimeter and use guards to patrol the perimeter. Guards must be fully apprised of the hazards involved and trained in emergency procedures. Has the Project Team Leader approved all visitors to the site? Make sure they have a valid purpose for entering the site. Have trained site personnel accompany visitors at all times and provide them with the appropriate protective equipment.

To maintain site security during off-duty hours:

• If possible, assign trained, in-house technicians for site surveillance. They will be familiar with the site, the nature of the work, the site's hazards, and respiratory protection techniques.

• If necessary, use security guards to patrol the site boundary. Such personnel may be less expensive than trained technicians, but will be more difficult to train in safety procedures and will be less confident in reacting to problems around hazardous substances.

• Enlist public enforcement agencies, such as the local police department, if the site presents a significant risk to local health and safety.

• Secure the equipment.

Communication Systems

Two sets of communication systems should be established: internal communication among personnel on site, and external communication between onsite and offsite personnel.

Internal communication is used to:

• Alert team members to emergencies.

• Pass along safety information, such as the amount of air time left before the next rest period, air change, heat stress check, etc.

• Communicate changes in the work to be accomplished.

• Maintain site control.

Verbal communication at a site can be impeded by onsite background noise and the use of personal protective equipment. For example, speech transmission through a respirator can be poor, and hearing can be impaired by protective hoods and respirator air flow. For effective communication, commands must be pre-arranged. In addition, audio or visual cues can help convey the message. The most important thing is that signals are agreed to in advance. Both a primary and backup system are necessary. A set of signals should be established for use only during emergencies. Effective internal communication also requires the identification of individual workers so that commands can be addressed to the right worker. The worker's name should be marked on the suit and, for longdistance identification, color coding, numbers, or symbols can be added. Flags may be used to help locate personnel in areas where visibility is poor due to obstructions such as accumulated drums, equipment, and waste piles. All communication devices used in a potentially explosive atmosphere must be intrinsically safe  and not capable of sparking, and should be checked daily to ensure that they are operating.

An external communication system between onsite and offsite personnel is necessary to:

• Coordinate emergency response.

• Report to management.

• Maintain contact with essential offsite personnel. The primary means of external communication are cell phone and radio. The necessary telephone numbers should be readily available in the Support Zone.


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