An environmental health advocate declared that the reported four hours of training given to Gulf clean-up workers are insufficient, and ripped into BP for "endangering the health of people."

"BP should not be running the Gulf region like a prison warden, and we've got to stop that," said Monique Harden, co-director and attorney at the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights.

Harden appeared as a guest on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann Wednesday.

BP has faced a litany of criticism for ostensibly downplaying the magnitude of the oil spill and responding inadequately to what is now considered the worst environmental disaster the United States has ever seen.

The federal government isn't much of a help, Harden claimed, as BP can legally get away with four hours of training. Many clean-up workers are not professionals but rather fishermen and shrimpers who have been put out of work as a result of the spill.

"What's happened in this situation is BP, with the approval of our government, has placed expediency over health protection," she said, alleging that the Minerals Management Services are "kowtowed, because of the lack of resources and staffing, to do an adequate job."

Harden said the "most critical part of safety training is learning how to protect your health and your body from toxic exposure," explaining that workers lack "adequate training," which "jeopardizes their health."

"We should be ensuring that respirators and protective gear are provided immediately," she suggested.

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast June 16, 2010.

Meanwhile, weeks after BP came under fire for restrict media access to the spill zone, the oil company is reportedly continuing to suppress reporters.

"Journalists covering the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have been yelled at, kicked off public beaches and islands and threatened with arrest in the nearly three weeks since the government promised improved media access," the Associated Press reported Wednesday evening.