SIOUX FALLS, SD – After severe weather, such as the windstorm that roared across South Dakota on May 12, workers and others involved in storm cleanup may face hazards related to falls, downed power lines and sharp debris as they conduct recovery and cleanup operations.

Employers and workers should also be aware of heat illness and hazards from equipment used during response/recovery operations, such as chain saws.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds workers and employers to pause and evaluate hazards, safety procedures and the need for appropriate personal protective equipment during response and recovery operations,” said OSHA Area Director Sheila Stanley in Sioux Falls. “Hazards can be minimized with safe work practices, training and proper planning.”

Only workers provided with the proper training, equipment and experience should conduct cleanup activities.  Protective measures should always include:

Evaluating work areas for hazards.
Using engineering or work practice controls to minimize hazards.
Wearing proper clothing and use personal protective equipment.
Assuming all power lines are live.
Using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment properly.
Following safety precautions in traffic work zones.
Using fall protection when working at heights over 6 feet.
Proper use of portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment such as front-end loaders and skid steers.

OSHA’s Response and Recovery page has additional information to assist in planning cleanup work safely.

Learn more about OSHA.

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