OSHA Warns Hurricane Recovery Workers about Hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is urging workers and members of the public engaged in Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery efforts in New York, New Jersey, and New England to be aware of the hazards they might encounter and the steps they should take to protect themselves.
Cleanup work can involve:
- Restoring electricity, communications, and water and sewer services
- Demolition activities
- Removal of floodwater from structures
- Entry into flooded areas
- Cleaning up debris
- Tree trimming
- Structural, roadway, bridge, dam and levee repair
- Use of cranes, aerial lifts and other heavy equipment
- Hazardous waste operations; and emergency response activities
Inherent hazards may include:
- Downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from portable generators
- Fall and “struck-by” hazards from tree trimming or working at heights
- Being caught in unprotected excavations or confined spaces
- Burns, lacerations, musculoskeletal injuries
- Being struck by traffic or heavy equipment
- Drowning from being caught in moving water or while removing water from flooded structures
Protective measures include:
- Evaluating the work area for all hazards
- Assuming all power lines are live
- Using the right personal protective equipment (hard hats, shoes, reflective vests, safety glasses)
- Conducting exposure monitoring where there are chemical hazards
- Following safe tree cutting procedures to prevent trees from falling on workers
- Using fall protection and proper ladder safety when working at heights
For more information about protecting workers during Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, visit this comprehensive website offering fact sheets, concise “quick cards,” frequently asked questions, safety and health guides, and additional information in English and Spanish.
For additional information on grants, cleanup efforts and recovery resources, visit the Labor Department’s continuously updated Hurricane Recovery Assistance web page . Also, a checklist of activities to be undertaken before, during, and after a hurricane is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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