The Responsibility of Oil Spill Response: The Qualified Individual

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According to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), all facility response plans must identify a “Qualified Individual” (QI) and at least one alternate who meet the requirements outlined in 33 CFR Sec. 154.1026.

The QI is required to be an English-speaking facility representative, available on a 24-hour basis, who is familiar with the implementation of the facility response plan and trained in the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Activation of internal alarm(s) and hazard communication systems
  • Notification of all response personnel and contractors (as needed)
  • Identification of the character, exact source, amount, and extent of the release and other necessary items needed for notifications
  • The ability to act as liaison between appropriate federal, state and local authorities through notification and information sharing
  • Assessing the interaction(s) of the spilled substance with water and/or other substances stored at the facility and notify on-scene response personnel of assessment
  • Assess possible hazards to human health and the environment
  • Assess and implement prompt removal actions
  • Coordinate rescue and response actions
  • Access company funds to initiate clean-up activities
  • Direct cleanup activities until properly relieved of the responsibility or until the incident is terminated

Training and preparedness is necessary in order to an effective response in the event of an oil spill or other emergency. QI(s) should take the lead to ensure that response plans, training, and exercise programs are effective and that all required personnel are engaged in this effort.

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