There is a need for many people to participate in the cleanup efforts following an oil spill. Opportunities for employment may exist with the companies that own and operate the damaged or malfunctioning equipment that resulted in the spill, as well as with hazardous materials (hazmat) clean-up contractors, local and state emergency response agencies, nonprofit environmental protection groups, and other related organizations.
Where to Look for Oil Spill Recovery Employment
Local Post-Spill Employment Resources
Oil spill cleanup jobs will be localized to the areas that have been directly impacted by the incident. In the event of a spill, employment hotlines are likely to be set up by the entities that need to hire workers. Work opportunities related to the cleanup will likely be publicized through the local news media outlets via print articles and broadcast coverage, as well as online, as soon as details become available for release to the public.
Resources for finding out about employment opportunities in an affected area include:
- Emergency management agency (EMA) offices - Visit FEMA.gov for a list of emergency management offices for every state. The state offices can provide contact information for city and county agencies directly involved in cleanup efforts. In turn, these local entities will likely have information about what companies are involved in the cleanup and may be hiring.
- CareerOneStop locations - Oil spill cleanup and recovery jobs are likely to be publicized via the local CareerOneStop locations in and around affected areas. Visit or contact your local center after a spill to see if they have information about employment opportunities.
- Temporary employment agencies - Cleanup contractors often hire laborers through local employment agencies. You'll need to reach out to local agencies to find out which ones may have work available after a spill. Visit the American Staffing Association for a searchable directory of member agencies. You can also find employment agencies listed with the local Chamber of Commerce.
- Environmental protection groups - Nonprofits dedicated to protecting the environment may have information about cleanup related jobs if their areas are impacted by a spill. Waterkeeper Alliance and National Resource Defense Council are good resources for finding these kinds of groups. When you locate groups in your area, check their websites or call to find out if cleanup work information is available.
Keep in mind that positions will become available immediately after a spill occurs, and hiring will take place quickly. Acting promptly to apply for available cleanup work in the aftermath of a spill is essential if you want to have an opportunity to work as part of the recovery.
Companies that specialize in cleaning up hazardous waste are often called in to clean up after a spill. These companies often hire workers in affected areas, but may also have people on staff who are deployed to different areas as their services are needed.
If you are interested in traveling for this kind of work, you may want to apply for employment with one or more of these organizations. Dedicated positions likely require significant experience in disaster recovery and/or the oil industry, though in a crisis situation laborer opportunities may be available. Check their employment listings frequently, as job openings can come up at any time.
Three examples of U.S.-based cleanup contractors with expertise specific to oil spill recovery are:
- American Pollution Control Corp. (AMPOL): AMPOL is a Louisiana-based company offering a full spectrum of oil spill recovery services throughout the U.S., including offshore, along the shoreline and inland cleanup. The company also offers a variety of additional hazmat response and environmental services. Job openings are posted on the company's employment page when available.
- Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC): MSRC is a Virginia-based firm specializing in oil spill and emergency response services, with the company asserting that it is "the largest dedicated oil spill and emergency response organization in the United States." Learn about job openings in various locations throughout the U.S. on the company's careers page.
- OMI Environmental Solutions: OMI Environmental Solutions, formerly known as Oil Mop, LLC, has more than four decades of experience in oil spill recovery and other aspects of hazmat recovery and disposal. The company has offices in Louisiana and Texas, but can respond to spills and other disasters throughout the U.S. Visit the firm's employment opportunities page to find out about available positions.
These are just a few examples of the many companies offering cleanup services following oil spills. To find additional potential employers offering these types of services, see CleanupOil.com and Environmental-Expert.com.
Tip: To find out the specific contractors working on spills that occur in your area or places where you'd like to work, follow media coverage in the aftermath of a spill. Chances are that the news media will give the names of each company playing a role in the local recovery.
Individuals who have the skills necessary to help with oil spill cleanup have an opportunity to perform very important work. When you choose to pursue this type of work, you will help a community bounce back from the devastating impacts of an environmental disaster. The role you play can help mitigate damage to natural resources as well as to the economy of the area that has been affected.