ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds first responders, those involved in rescue and recovery efforts, and residents in areas affected by Hurricane Ian to be vigilant and protect themselves from the many hazards that flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees and storm debris may create.
Storm recovery efforts 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.
Operating chainsaws, portable generators, ladders, and other equipment properly.
Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, hard hats, hearing, foot and eye protection.
“During storm cleanup, the risk of injuries, illnesses and fatalities can be reduced with knowledge, safe work practices and appropriate personal protective equipment,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta.
OSHA maintains a comprehensive website 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 America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.