The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges response crews and residents in areas affected by Hurricane Dorian to be aware of hazards created by flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees, and storm debris.
Recovery efforts after the storm 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;
- Keeping portable generators outside;
- Operating chainsaws, ladders, and other equipment properly; and
- Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, hard hats, and hearing, foot, and eye protection.
"The risk of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities during storm cleanup can be minimized 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).