OSHA Quick Card
Hand Hygiene
in Hurricane-Affected Areas

Floodwater can be contaminated with microorganisms, sewage, industrial waste, chemicals, and other substances that can cause illness or death.

Wear Protective Gloves
  • Wear protective gloves when: working in contaminated floodwaters, handling contaminated objects, or handling human or animal remains.
  • Gloves should be heavy, cut-resistant, made of waterproof material (nitrile or similar washable material).
Wash Hands with Soap and Clean (or disinfected) Water
  • After cleanup or decontamination work; before preparing or eating food; and after toilet use.
Wound Care
  • Wash wounds with soap and clean (or disinfected) water or a hand sanitizer immediately.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if wound becomes red, swollen, or oozes pus.
Disinfecting Water for Hand Washing
  • Contaminated water can be bleach-disinfected by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Let bleach-water mixture stand for 30 minutes.
  • Label containers (e.g., “bleach disinfected water – DO NOT DRINK”).
Disinfecting Water for Tool/Surface Decontamination
  • It is preferrable to use soap and clean water when available.
  • If only contaminated water is available, prepare solution of 1/4 cup household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Prepare fresh solutions daily, preferably just before use.
  • Immerse objects in the solution for 10 minutes.
  • Label containers (e.g., “bleach disinfected water – DO NOT DRINK”).
  • Warning: Bleach can damage firefighters’ turnout gear; consult manufacturer.

For more complete information:
OSHA Occupational
Safety and Health
U.S. Department of Labor
www.osha.gov (800) 321-OSHA

OSHA 3267-09N-05