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HazMat Safety & Training

Worker Education and Training Program

A Network Responds

Hurricane Katrina aerial photo On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi. Within hours, an experienced national network of worker safety and health experts, trainers, and support staff began mobilizing to assist in the recovery of the Gulf coast. This network gained much of its experience during the response to the World Trade Center, Oklahoma City, and anthrax terrorist attacks. During the ensuing years, through the evaluation of the lessons they had learned, this little known network had developed mechanisms for getting needed safety and health resources into the field: teams of trainers and subject matter experts, printed training materials, on-line electronic learning tools, personal protective equipment and other training supplies, tailored training to reach underserved minority workers, and even useful 'extras' such as safety awareness “podcasts” - audio training tips available through easy download to trainers in the field.

This network is the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) and its 18 awardee organizations. The WETP supports the training and education of workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation and emergency response. WETP is a federally funded program administered by the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) ( /index.cfm) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), an institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ( Exit NIEHS Website within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ( Exit NIEHS Website.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the National Institutes of Health and the NIEHS, is a signatory to the National Response Plan (NRP). Upon the activation of the National Response Plan (NRP) NIEHS may be activated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the NRP's Worker Safety Health Annex to provide:

  • Training technical assistance such as instructional staff, curriculum development experts, subject-matter experts, and professional staff.
  • Safety training to worker target populations with respect to the nature and location of the incident and the particular hazards.
  • Assistance and support in the development and delivery of site-specific health and safety training through appropriately qualified WETP awardee instructional staff.
  • Assistance such as respirator fit-testing and distribution of personal protective equipment.

Resources Reaching the Health and Safety Community

The National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health is funded by the NIEHS WETP and is the primary national source for hazardous waste worker curricula, technical reports, and weekly news. Please check out the National Clearinghouse ( resources and our National Clearinghouse Newsbrief, our free weekly electronic newsletter focusing on the world of worker health and safety. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health
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Last Reviewed: May 07, 2007