OSHA Resumes Regular Enforcement in Texas and Louisiana

DALLAS, TX – On Oct. 10, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which had ceased most programmed enforcement actions following Hurricane Harvey, resumed normal enforcement throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Following Hurricane Harvey, OSHA provided compliance assistance and outreach to employers and workers in a number of counties and parishes in Texas and Louisiana. This action enabled OSHA’s staff to provide faster and more flexible responses to hazards facing workers involved in the cleanup and recovery operations. Thousands of crews and individual workers received job safety and health technical assistance.

OSHA retained the right to inspection cases involving fatalities, catastrophic accidents, employee complaints, and employers who repeatedly exposed employees to serious hazards during cleanup and recovery operations.

OSHA’s Region VI Administrator Kelly Knighton, said, “We are now able to resume regular enforcement operations in most of the impacted areas.  For those areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, we will continue to provide employers and workers with compliance assistance and outreach. We will be monitoring these areas closely, and as they transition from cleanup and recovery to normal operations so will OSHA’s enforcement.”

Hurricane Harvey took the lives of at least 88 Texans, according to preliminary numbers released by the Department of State Health Services.

The majority of deaths – 62 – were caused by wind, rain, and floods, which led to drownings or trees falling on people.

Meanwhile, 26 deaths were caused by “unsafe or unhealthy conditions” related to the loss or disruption of services such as utilities, transportation, and medical care. The state health agency found deaths caused by medical conditions, electrocution, traffic accidents, flood water-related infections, fires, and burns.