DOL Urges Storm Recovery Workers To Be Aware of Hazards During Cleanup

ATLANTA — North Carolina residents – emergency workers, employers and the public – recovering from the impact of Hurricane Joaquin should be aware of the hazards they may encounter and take necessary steps to stay safe, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges.

Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta said in a statement, “recovery work should not put you in the hospital emergency room”.  A range of safety and health hazards exist following storms. You may minimize these dangers with knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. OSHA wants to make certain that all working men and women, including volunteers, return home at the end of the workday.”

Storm and hurricane cleanup work may involve hazards related to restoring electricity, communications, and water and sewer services. Other hazards pertain to demolition activities; debris cleanup; tree trimming; and structural, roadway and bridge repair; hazardous waste operations; and emergency response activities. OSHA maintains a comprehensive website to keep disaster site workers safe during tornado and storm cleanup and recovery operations.

In addition, areas affected by flooding have unique cleanup challenges, including dam and levee repair, removal of floodwater from structures, and repairing downed electrical wires in standing water.

Workers and residents taking defensive action to protect structures or evacuate severely impacted areas may encounter hazards, such as rapidly rising streams and moving water.

OSHA has many resources on flood preparedness and response detailing how to stay safe during floods and subsequent cleanup.