OSHA Promotes Hurricane Relief Safety

OSHA is reminding hurricane relief workers and employers about the agency's various publications that promote safe and healthful work practices following a storm.

Information on safety standards for dealing with hazards such as electrocution, falling tree branches and contaminated water is available on the OSHA Web site.

“In the aftermath of a destructive storm, hazards related to cleanup and recovery efforts can result in injury or death,” OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. said. “Our publications offer the best advice for employers and employees on protecting themselves from hazards as they work to restore storm-ravaged communities.”

Among the publications OSHA has designed for hurricane relief workers and employers:

  • QuickCards are concise, easy-to-read laminated cards offering information on dozens of different employee hazards or hazardous situations. Examples such as “Decontamination”, “Tree Trimming and Removal” and “Electrical Safety” promote safe work practices during response or recovery situations. Many of OSHA’s QuickCards are available in Spanish and some are available in Vietnamese.
  • Fact sheets offer a comprehensive overview of safety precautions for various hazards and help explain OSHA’s regulations applicable to them. OSHA has several fact sheets dealing with hazards faced by employees involved in hurricane response and recovery, including “Cleanup Hazards,” “Flood Cleanup” and “Fungi.”
  • Safety and health information bulletins (SHIBs) inform employers and employees of occupational safety and health issues concerning hazard recognition, evaluation and control in the workplace and at emergency response sites. SHIBs include “Respiratory Protection” and “Workplace Precautions Against West Nile Virus.”
  • OSHA’s New Hurricane eMatrix is a tool that incorporates occupational hazards, information, observations, recommendations and data that OSHA gathered and distributed during its response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The eMatrix offers users access to general recommendations, provides sampling and monitoring data and outlines employer and employee responsibilities for conducting response and recovery operations after a disaster. It also features 29 operation-specific activity sheets designed to help employers reduce the risk of hazard exposure during various cleanup tasks.

To view OSHA's Hurricane Recovery Web page, click here.

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