Emergencies can create a variety of hazards for workers in the impacted area. Preparing before an emergency incident plays a vital role in ensuring that employers and workers have the necessary equipment, know where to go, and know how to keep themselves safe when an emergency occurs. These Emergency Preparedness and Response pages provide information on how to prepare and train for emergencies and the hazards to be aware of when an emergency occurs. The pages provide information for employers and workers across industries, and for workers who will be responding to the emergency.
For information on how to get started with preparing for an emergency, visit the "Getting Started - General Preparedness and Response" section. This section provides information for general businesses and for workers who will respond to the emergency. The information in this section is designed to apply to a wide variety of emergency preparedness and response incidents. For guidance on a particular type of emergency, visit our Natural Disaster or Specific Hazards Web pages.
Getting Started - General Preparedness and Response
OSHA’s Participation in Emergency Response Operations
The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest Ebola outbreak in recorded history. While no cases have been contracted in the United States and Ebola does not currently pose a significant risk to most Americans, OSHA encourages workers and employers to be prepared and well informed should the outbreak spread beyond West Africa. OSHA’s new Ebola web page provides a comprehensive source of information for protecting workers from exposure to the Ebola virus.
Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012 near Atlantic City, NJ and affected over 20 states, from Florida to New England, with tropical storm force winds stretching far inland. The storm brought a destructive storm surge to New Jersey and New York on the evening of October 29, flooding numerous streets, tunnels and subway lines in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city. OSHA field staff worked diligently to provide technical assistance, information, and support to workers and employers involved in the Hurricane Sandy response and recovery operations.
Hurricane Irene had a substantial impact, causing widespread flooding as well as downed trees and power lines that left millions without power. These effects presented serious hazards to workers involved in the response and recovery from the storm. OSHA provided technical assistance and outreach on worker safety and health issues to those areas hardest hit by both the flooding and downed trees and power lines caused by Hurricane Irene.
In June, a combination of heavy rainfall and snow melts caused massive flooding in Minot, North Dakota. The historic floods forced thousands of residents to evacuate the area. During the response to the floods, OSHA personnel went to Minot to provide safety and health technical assistance to federal and local officials involved in the response. This assistance included helping identify the hazards that were present as well as the resources necessary to ensure that responders were protected.
A number of tornadoes touched down in the South and the Midwest this year and caused catastrophic results. One of the most notable was the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, the deadliest tornado in the country in the past 50 years. The tornado’s impact was devastating; however, the work to cleanup and rebuild the community also posed significant hazards. OSHA worked with FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the EPA to ensure that appropriate guidance was given to individuals about how to safely tear down homes and protect themselves from asbestos, debris, and other hazards during this process.
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a resulting tsunami caused significant devastation in Japan. The disasters caused cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiishi nuclear power plant to fail, which caused a crisis as workers at the plant struggled to stabilize the reactors. From the onset, officials did not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States. OSHA worked with other federal agencies to verify this and ensure that workers in the U.S. were not being exposed to harmful levels of radiation. OSHA also helped provide workers and the public with information, and worked with groups of workers, such as those who dealt with cargo at ports of entry, to ensure that their specific concerns were addressed.
On the night of April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, located 45 miles off the coast of Venice, Louisiana, exploded and caught fire, resulting in the deaths of eleven
workers. The rig sank on the morning of April 22, and oil leaking from the Macondo wellhead began reaching shore in late May. OSHA personnel deployed to all staging areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. OSHA staff was on the ground and on boats to ensure the protection of cleanup workers from health and safety hazards.
All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.
**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.
U.S. Department of Labor | Occupational Safety & Health Administration | 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210 Telephone: 800-321-OSHA (6742) | TTY www.OSHA.gov
Thank You for Visiting Our Website
You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.
The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.