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PDFWAC 296-307-70480


The following definitions are specific to this section:
Annually. Any twelve-month cycle.
Buddy system. A system of organizing employees (who enter or stand by danger areas) into work groups, so each employee can be observed by at least one other member of the group. The purpose of this system is to provide rapid assistance to employees in an emergency.
Clean-up operation(s). An operation where hazardous substances are removed, contained, incinerated, neutralized, stabilized, cleared up or, in any other manner, processed or handled with the goal of making the site safer for people or the environment.
Danger area. Areas where conditions pose a serious danger to employees, such as areas where:
(a) Immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) conditions could exist;
(b) High levels of exposure to toxic substances could exist;
(c) There is a potential for exceeding the lower explosive limit (LEL), also known as the lower flammability limit (LFL), of a substance.
Decontamination. Removing hazardous substances from employees and their equipment so potential adverse health effects will not occur.
Emergency response. An organized response to an anticipated release of a hazardous substance that is, or could become, an uncontrolled release.
Emergency response plan. A written plan that requires coordination between emergency response participants, and contains procedures, criteria, and other information that will be applied to emergency response operations. Each employer's plan should be compatible with local and state plans.
Engineering controls. Methods of controlling employee exposures by modifying the source or reducing the quantity of contaminants.
Hazardous materials team (HAZMAT team). A group of employees who are expected to perform responses to releases, or possible releases, of hazardous substances for the purpose of control and stabilization. As a result of their duties, HAZMAT team members may have close contact with hazardous substances.
A HAZMAT team may be a separate component of a fire brigade or fire department.
Hazardous substance. Any of the following substances that could adversely affect an exposed employee's health or safety:
(a) Substances defined under section 101(14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) or "Superfund" Act (visit:
(b) Biological or other disease-causing agents released that could reasonably be expected to cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutation, physiological malfunctions (including malfunctions in reproduction) or physical deformations in a person or their offspring when the person:
(i) Is directly exposed to the agent in the environment;
(ii) Directly ingests, inhales, or assimilates the agent from the environment;
(iii) Indirectly ingests the agent through a food chain;
(c) Substances listed by the United States Department of Transportation as hazardous materials under Title 49 (Transportation) in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), Part 172, section 101 and appendices (visit: and search for "List of C.F.R. subjects");
(d) Hazardous wastes as defined in this section.
Hazardous waste. A substance designated by chapter 173-303 WAC, Dangerous waste regulations, department of ecology, as a dangerous waste or an extremely hazardous waste and any waste fitting the definition of "health hazard" in this section.
For department of ecology regulations, visit:
Health hazard. A chemical, a mixture of chemicals, or a pathogen for which there is statistically significant evidence, based on at least one study conducted according to established scientific principles, that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees.
The term "health hazard" includes stress due to temperature extremes and chemicals that are:
(a) Carcinogens;
(b) Toxic or highly toxic agents;
(c) Reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, or neurotoxins;
(d) Agents acting on the hematopoietic system agents that damage lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes. (Detailed definitions of these chemical terms can be found in the Safety and health core rules, WAC 296-307-550, chemical hazard communication.)
Immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH). Any atmospheric condition that would:
(a) Cause an immediate threat to life;
(b) Cause permanent or delayed adverse health effects;
(c) Interfere with an employee's ability to escape.
Incident command system (ICS). An organized approach to control and manage operations at an emergency response incident.
Incidental release. A release that can be safely controlled at the time of the release and does not have the potential to become an uncontrolled release.
Example of a situation that results in an incidental release:
A tanker truck is receiving a load of hazardous liquid when a leak occurs. The driver knows the only hazard from the liquid is minor skin irritation. The employer has trained the driver on procedures and provided equipment to use for a release of this quantity. The driver puts on skin protection and stops the leak. A spill kit is used to contain, absorb, and pick up the spilled material for disposal.
Limited action. Action necessary to:
(a) Secure an operation during emergency responses;
(b) Prevent an incident from increasing in severity.
Examples include shutting down processes and closing emergency valves.
Lines of authority. A preestablished ranking of individuals, qualified to assume a commanding role during an emergency response, noted in an emergency response plan and implemented during a response. This is most important when responders from multiple employers could participate in an emergency response.
Lower explosive limit (LEL). See lower flammable limit (LFL).
Lower flammable limit (LFL). The lowest concentration of a material that will propagate a flame. The LFL is usually expressed as a percent (by volume) of the material in air (or other oxidant).
Must. Must means mandatory.
Permissible exposure limit (PEL). Means the established time-weighted-average (TWA) concentration or ceiling concentration of a contaminant that must not be exceeded.
The exposure, inhalation, or dermal permissible limit specified in chapter 296-307 WAC, Part Y-6, Respiratory hazards.
Personal protective equipment (PPE). Protective items designed to be worn by the user to protect them against airborne, skin contact and other hazards. This includes items such as respiratory protection, protective suits, gloves, eye protection, etc.
Postemergency response. The stage of the emergency response where the immediate threat from the release has been stabilized or eliminated, and cleanup of the site has started.
Published exposure level. Exposure limits published in "National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommendations for Occupational Safety and Health" (DHHS publication #92-100, 1992).
If an exposure limit is not published by NIOSH, then "published exposure level" means the exposure limits published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) in "TLVs and BEIs-Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents" (1999 edition).
Additional exposure levels published by recognized organizations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association are not required to be observed by this rule; however, they may be a useful resource when a hazardous substance is not covered by NIOSH and ACGIH publications.
Release. A spill, leak, or other type of hazardous substance discharge.
Uncontrolled release. A release where significant safety and health risks could be created. Releases of hazardous substances that are either incidental or could not create a safety or health hazard (i.e., fire, explosion or chemical exposure) are not considered to be uncontrolled releases.
(a) Examples of conditions that could create a significant safety and health risk:
(i) Large-quantity releases;
(ii) Small releases that could be highly toxic;
(iii) Airborne exposures that could exceed a WISHA permissible exposure limit or a published exposure limit and employees are not adequately trained or equipped to control the release.
(b) Example of an uncontrolled release:
A forklift driver knocks over a container of a solvent-based liquid, releasing the contents onto the warehouse floor. The driver has been trained to recognize the vapor is flammable and moderately toxic when inhaled. The driver has not been trained or provided appropriate equipment to address this type of spill. In this situation, it is not safe for the driver to attempt a response. The driver needs to notify someone of the release so an emergency response can be initiated.
(a) A fixed facility;
(b) A temporary location (such as a traffic corridor);
(c) Locations where employees respond to emergencies.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.010, 49.17.040, 49.17.050, and 49.17.060. WSR 20-21-091, § 296-307-70480, filed 10/20/20, effective 11/20/20; WSR 05-01-166, § 296-307-70480, filed 12/21/04, effective 4/2/05.]
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