In a recent press release, OSHA urges emergency crews in the areas affected by Hurricane Florence to be aware of hazards from flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees, and storm debris. The release also provides helpful reminders and resources for affected employers and their workers.
“Workers involved in storm recovery can face a range of safety and health hazards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer. “Risks can be minimized with knowledge, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment.”
Recovery efforts after the storm may involve hazards related to restoring electricity and communications, debris removal, repairing damage from water intrusion, roof repair, and tree trimming. Only individuals with proper training, equipment, and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities.
Protective 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; and
- 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).
North and South Carolina have OSHA-approved State Plans that cover private, state, and local government workplaces. North Carolina’s Department of Labor can be contacted at 1-919-707-7876. South Carolina’s Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, can be reached at 803-896-7665 or https://www.scemd.org/prepare/types-of-disasters/hurricanes/.