Downed power lines, flooding and storm debris are only a few hazards crews can face during clean up efforts. As Hurricane Florence & Hurricane Michael damages are assessed and affected areas start clean up, workers and residents are being faced with numerous hazards caused by the storm. OSHA is warning emergency crews to take precautions and to address hazards from flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees and storm debris. “Workers involved in storm recovery can face a range of safety and health hazards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in a statement. “Risks can be minimized with knowledge, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment.”Only individuals with proper training, equipment, and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities. The agency recommends measures after a weather disaster should include the following:
Evaluating the work area for hazards;
Assessing the stability of structures and walking surfaces;
Fall protection for elevated surfaces;
Assuming all power lines are live;
Using chainsaws, portable generators, ladders, and other equipment properly;
Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, hard hats, hearing and foot protection, and eye protectors.
OSHA maintains a comprehensive website with safety tips to help employers and workers. Individuals involved in response and recovery efforts may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).