OSHA is warning emergency crews to take precautions and to address hazards from flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees, and storm debris.
OSHA Regional Administrator, Kurt Petermeyer, said in a statement, that workers involved in storm recovery can face a range of safety and health hazards, adding, “Risks can be minimized with knowledge, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment.”
Only individuals with proper training, equipment, and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities.
The agency recommends that measures after a weather disaster should include the following:
- Evaluating the work area for hazards;
- Assessing the stability of structures and walking surfaces;
- Fall protection for elevated surfaces;
- Assuming all power lines are live;
- Using chainsaws, portable generators, ladders, and other equipment properly; and
- Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, hard hats, hearing and foot protection, and eye protectors
OSHA maintains a comprehensive website with safety tips to help employers and workers. Individuals involved in response and recovery efforts may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).