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For Immediate Release
April 30, 2002

Contact Information:
Kevin Weeks, 503-947-7428

Carl Halgren
OSHA Region X,  503-326-2251


OSHA and Oregon OSHA enter partnership for Umatilla Army Depot worker safety

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OR-OSHA) and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced the creation of a partnership to jointly oversee worker safety of civilian contract employers whose job it is to destroy nerve agents stored at the Umatilla Army Depot near Hermiston.

The Umatilla Army Depot has contracted with Washington Demilitarization Company for construction, operation and eventual demolition of a chemical weapons incinerator at the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. In Oregon, employers working on military reservations, and federal agencies, are under the authority of federal OSHA, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The majority of non-federal public and private sector employers in Oregon comply with regulatory authority granted to OR-OSHA, a division within the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services. 

“Jurisdiction issues are very complex in terms of who is responsible for protecting workers at Umatilla,” says Peter De Luca, administrator of Oregon OSHA. “ We regard this partnership as a chance to enhance the safety of all workers at the Umatilla Depot and strengthen what is already a very positive working relationship with OSHA.”

Under the terms of the agreement, federal OSHA will exercise jurisdiction over private sector employees, contractors and subcontractors working at the Disposal Facility, which is located on the U.S. Army reservation. Federal safety and health standards will be applied, and any citations for violations observed will be issued by federal OSHA. OR-OSHA personnel will accompany federal inspectors during on-site inspections and investigations. Non-military federal employees of the Umatilla Depot not working on the incinerator project will be under federal OSHA jurisdiction, while state, county or local emergency response personnel will be under OR-OSHA’s authority. OR-OSHA will also provide workplace safety and health consultation services to employers at the Disposal Facility. Neither Oregon OSHA or federal OSHA have jurisdiction over active duty military personnel.