DALLAS, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges response crews and residents in areas affected by Hurricane Zeta to be aware of hazards created by flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees and storm debris.
Recovery efforts after the storm may involve hazards related to restoring electricity and communications, removing debris, repairing water damage, repairing or replacing roofs and trimming trees. Only individuals with proper training, equipment and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities.
Protective measures after a weather disaster should include:
- Evaluating the work area for hazards;
- Assessing the stability of structures and walking surfaces;
- Ensuring fall protection when working on elevated surfaces;
- Assuming all power lines are live;
- Keeping portable generators outside;
- Operating chainsaws, ladders and other equipment properly; and
- Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, hard hats and hearing, foot and eye protection.
“Workers involved in storm cleanup must be aware of their surroundings and look for possible safety and health hazards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin, in Dallas, Texas. “Employers should implement safe work practices, use appropriate personal protective equipment and ensure workers are properly trained to minimize the risk of injuries and fatalities during storm cleanup operations.”
OSHA maintains a comprehensive webpage on hurricane preparedness and response with safety tips to help employers and workers, including an alert on keeping workers safe during flood cleanup. Individuals involved in response and recovery efforts may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.