Oiled Sea Otter Rehabilitation Course

General Code of Safe Work Practices

General Fire Safety

The fire department is acquainted with our facility, its location and specific hazards.

Fire doors and shutters should be unobstructed and protected against obstructions.

Portable fire extinguishers are provided in adequate number and type and are located throughout the facility. Fire extinguishers are mounted in readily accessible locations. Fire extinguishers are recharged regularly and the date of last inspection noted on their tags

Compressed Gas and Cylinders

Compressed gas cylinders must be equipped with means for connecting a valve protector device, or with a collar or recess to protect the valve.

Cylinders must be legibly marked to identify clearly the gas contained.

Compressed gas cylinders should be stored only in areas which are protected from external heat sources such as flame impingement, intense radiant heat, or high temperature lines. Cylinders must not be located or stored in areas where they will be damaged by passing or falling objects, or subject to tampering by unauthorized persons.

Cylinders must be stored or transported in a manner to prevent them from creating a hazard by tipping, falling or rolling. All cylinders containing liquefied fuel gas must be stored or transported in a position so that the safety relief device is always in direct contact with the vapor space in the cylinder. Valve protectors must always be placed on cylinders when the cylinders are not in use or connected for use. All valves must be closed off before a cylinder is moved, when the cylinder is empty, and at the completion of each job.

Environmental Controls

All wildlife responders must be aware of the hazards involved when working with chemicals and the remedies that need to be used when an accident does occur.

First aid and caution signs will be conspicuously posted so as to alert individuals on a constant basis.

Charts identifying the chemicals utilized in the workplace, their symptoms and effects must also be posted.

The responders must know what the acceptable level of exposure to a chemical is and what safety systems must be in place when working with a chemical.

Staff should ensure that facilities are adequately ventilated in the presence of oiled animals or when using chemicals.

Hazardous Substances Communication

When hazardous substances are used in the workplace, a hazard communication program dealing with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), labeling and worker training will be in operation. MSDS materials will be readily available for each hazardous substance used.

The program will include an explanation of what an MSDS is and how to use and obtain one; MSDS contents for each hazardous substance or class of substances; explanation of the “Right to Know”; identification of where workers can see the employer’s written hazard communication program and where hazardous substances are present in their work area; the health hazards of substances in the work area, how to detect their presence, and specific protective measures to be used.

Material Handling

In the handling of materials, workers must know the following:

There must be safe clearance for equipment through aisles and doorways.

Aisle ways must be designated, permanently marked, and kept clear to allow unhindered passage.

Vehicles must be shut off and brakes must be set prior to loading or unloading.

Containers of combustibles or flammables, when stacked while being moved, must be separated by dunnage sufficient to provide stability.

Material Safety Data Sheets will be available to workers handling hazardous substances.

Infection Control

Technicians normally will handle cultures which contain animal specimens as blood or body fluids that carry infectious bacteria. The practices of a laboratory will include proper ventilation, emergency equipment, necessary protective clothing, refrigeration, hand-washing sinks, bio-hazard tags, labels, needle containers, detergents/disinfectants and a manual on emergency procedures in case of an accident. The training of the technician will include universal precautions, how to manage and handle a needle stick exposure, and how to dispose of these materials when finished with testing or evaluation.

The workplace must be equipped with the proper equipment to meet the safety precautions universally recognized by the state licensing agency. A general practice of cleaning and disinfecting the equipment and environment must be observed.

Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is your personal bodyguard to safety. PPE is designed to minimize exposure to oil, dirt, feces and urine; to prevent injury; and to prevent the transmission of diseases between husbandry staff and the sea otters. Some you can wear by personal choice, others you must wear. Your supervisor will inform you of what is required. Types of personal protective equipment that maybe worn are outlined below:

1. Work Clothing- The animal care staff should wear clean coveralls over their regular clothes to prevent contamination with animal food, feces and urine. Coveralls also will limit the introduction of domestic animal diseases into the rehabilitation center. Clean coveralls will be issued to each staff member at the beginning of a shift and laundered in the center after each use; they should not be taken home by the staff. Lockers will be provided for storing personal clothing and street shoes before work begins.

2. Rubber boots- The animal care staff should wear slip-resistant rubber boots that will keep their feet dry and protect them from injury. The boots should be kept in the rehabilitation center and the soles cleaned with a liquid disinfectant at the end of each shift. Maintaining clean footwear is essential for preventing the introduction of domestic animal diseases into the rehabilitation center.

3. Water-resistant Clothing- Water-resistant clothing (rain jackets and trousers) should be worn when cleaning oiled sea otters, moving animals between pens and pools, and during inclement weather. The rain gear will keep coveralls dry and prevent contamination with oil, feces and urine.

4. Gloves- Rubber gloves should be worn when cleaning oiled sea otters, assisting with medical procedures, preparing or handling sea otter food and whenever hands need protection from contact with oil, dirt, and feces. Wearing rubber gloves is especially important in preventing infection if a person has open sores or cuts on his or her hands. Heavy leather gloves should be worn when handling sea otters to protect hands from scratches and bites. Even though gloves are worn when working, hands should be washed at the end of each shift and before eating. Also, avoid touching anyone with gloved hands in case the gloves are contaminated.

5. Safety Glasses- Safety glasses should be worn whenever working with hazardous chemicals such as formalin and bleach. They will also protect eyes from detergent and oily water when washing oiled sea otters. Persons wearing contact lenses should also wear safety glasses, especially in the sea otter cleaning and drying rooms.

6. Hearing protection- Heariang protection may be required in high noise level areas such as around heavy equipment, aircraft, and internal combustion engines. These areas will be identified. Hearing protection minimizes harmful noise exposure, but also creates a need for greater visual attention.

7. Hard hats are required where there is a potential of being struck from above or striking something overhead, such as when working around and under piers and docks.

8. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) – PFDs must meet government standards and be labelled accordingly. PFD’s must be worn whenever there’s a risk of falling into water and in accordance to operating procedures.

Decontamination- Personnel involved in oiled wildlife response may have petroleum hydrocarbons, feces, urine and animal pathogens on their protective equipment which pose health risks to thmeselves and the animals. Decontamination, which includes cleaning, removing, and disposing of protective clothing, must be undertaken using standard operating procedures provided by the supervisor.

These contaminants must be removed after each shift. Assess your personal protective clothing to ensure that it is fully functional for the next shift. All unusable equipment or clothing must be returned to the response organization for replacement and inventory purposes.

Wear your personal protective equipment. Take good care of it, and it will take good care of you!

Work Environment, General

Work sites must be clean and orderly.

Work surfaces must be kept dry or appropriate means taken to assure the surfaces are slip-resistant.

Spills must be cleaned up immediately.

All combustible scrap, debris and waste must be stored safely and removed promptly.

Waste containers must be covered. Oily rags are combustible and should be discarded in sealable containers only.

All oil and gas fired devices should be equipped with flame failure controls that will prevent flow of fuel if pilots or main burners are not working. Ask your supervisor where these controls are located.

Make sure all pits and floor openings are either covered or otherwise guarded.


All aisles and passageways must be kept clear. Also, aisles and passageways should be clearly marked.

Wet surfaces must be covered with non-slip material and all holes properly covered or marked with warning guards.

All spills must be cleaned up immediately, and a caution sign placed on all wet or drying surfaces.

In cases of passageways used by forklifts, trucks or other machinery, use a separate aisle for walking, if available. If no separately marked aisle is available, use extreme caution. Remember, walking in a passageway used by machinery is like walking in the middle of a street used by cars: You may have the right of way, but the heavier vehicle can’t always see you and can’t always stop in time. The key to moving around in such circumstances is to stop, look and listen and then to move when there is no danger. Make eye contact with the drivers of moving vehicles so that you know that they know you are there.

Equipment must be properly stored so that sharp edges do not protrude into walkways. Changes in elevations must be clearly marked. If there is a low ceiling, a warning sign must be posted. If the walkway or stairway is more than thirty inches above the floor or ground, it must have a guardrail.

If a worker is aware of any breach of these standards, please inform your supervisor.


Drive safely. If vehicles are used during the work day, seat belts and shoulder harnesses are to be worn at all times.

Vehicles must be locked when unattended to avoid criminal misconduct.

Do not exceed the speed limit.

Vehicles must be parked in legal spaces and must not obstruct traffic.

Defensive driving must be practiced by all responders.

Combustible Materials

All combustible scrap, debris and waste materials (oily rags, etc.) must be stored in covered receptacles and removed from the work site promptly.

Proper storage to minimize the risk of fire, including spontaneous combustion must be practiced.

Only approved containers and tanks are to be used for the storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.

Liquefied petroleum gas must be stored, handled, and used in accordance with safe practices and standards.

Liquefied petroleum storage tanks should be guarded to prevent damage from vehicles.

All solvent wastes and flammable liquids should be kept in fire-resistant, covered containers until they are removed from the work site.

Fire extinguishers are selected for the types of materials and placed in areas where they are to be used. These fire extinguishers are classified as follows:
Class A – Ordinary combustible materials fires.
Class B – Flammable liquid, gas or grease fires.
Class C – Energized-electrical equipment fires.

Appropriate fire extinguishers must be mounted within 75 ft. of outside areas containing flammable liquids, and within 10 ft. of any inside storage area for such materials.

All extinguishers must be serviced, maintained and tagged at intervals not to exceed one year.

Extinguishers should be placed free from obstructions or blockage. All extinguishers must be fully charged and in their designated places unless in use.

“NO SMOKING” rules will be enforced in the rehabilitation center.

First Aid Kits

A first aid kit for routine cuts and abrasions will be located in every room in the rehabilitation center. If someone is injured, their supervisor should be notified immediately.