ATLANTA, GA — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges response crews and residents in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael to be aware of hazards created by flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees, and storm debris.
"Employers and employees must be aware and trained to deal with the hazards involved in storm cleanup," said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer. "The risk of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities can be minimized with knowledge, safe work practices, and appropriate 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).