ATLANTA – After severe weather swept through much of the Southeast on March 24 and spawned at least 27 tornadoes across Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, workers involved in cleanup activities face dangers during recovery operations.

To reduce these dangers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges employers to ensure that workers have the proper training, equipment and expertise to perform cleanup activities. Workers face hazards related to falls, downed power lines, fallen trees and struck-by hazards as they conduct recovery operations. Employers and workers should also be aware of heat illness, and hazards posed from equipment used during response and recovery operations.

“The deadly storms that impacted much of the Southeast generated horrific results. OSHA urges employers and workers not to compound this tragedy by failing to be mindful in evaluating and mitigating hazards during recovery efforts,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “The use of safety procedures and appropriate personal protective equipment can prevent injuries and save lives.”

Hazards often associated with tornado recovery efforts include:

Falling objects such as tree limbs and construction materials.
Sharp objects like nails and broken glass.
Electrical hazards from downed power lines or objects in contact with power lines.
Falls from heights.
Improper use of portable generators, saws, ladders and other equipment.
OSHA’s Tornado Preparedness and Response page provides additional information to assist in planning cleanup work safely.

Learn more about OSHA.

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