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OSHA Unveils Web-Based Tool for Hurricane Cleanup

OSHA today unveiled a Web-based resourced designed to help employers and employees involved in hurricane cleanup and recovery efforts.

"This is an important new tool to help educate employees and employers on how to address the most common and significant hazards that they may encounter during hurricane response and recovery work," OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. said. "It provides practical information to employers so they can better assess risks and choose the appropriate control measures, work practices, personal protective equipment and training to protect their employees working in hurricane-impacted areas."

Response and recovery work encompasses a wide range of specific tasks and operations that can present serious occupational safety and health hazards to employees. The tool – Hurricane eMatrix: Hazard Exposure and Risk Assessment Matrix for Hurricane Response and Recovery Work – incorporates occupational hazards information, observations, recommendations and data that OSHA gathered and distributed during its response effort to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

According to the agency, the eMatrix offers users access to general recommendations, sampling and monitoring data and employer/employee responsibilities applicable for any employers conducting response and recovery operations after a disaster.

It also features 29 individual task- and operation-specific activity sheets that help employers evaluate hazards and provides guidance on reducing employee exposures during disaster operations like debris collection, tree trimming, utility restoration, building demolition and others.

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