Federal and federalized employees involved in emergency response may be physically and emotionally impacted by this experience. Employees involved in response efforts should be encouraged to care for their own health by maintaining normal sleeping habits, trying to exercise, eating well-balanced meals, drinking plenty of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages, taking rest breaks when possible, and talking about their feelings as needed.
Emergency response can be both rewarding and stressful, and it is important to recognize that some emotional reactions are to be expected. Support can be provided by family, friends, and consider utilizing community or faith-based organizations. Employers (agencies and contractors) should also make information available to employees about resources for addressing emotional and physical health issues that may arise before, during, and after emergency response efforts. Educational materials and counseling are important options, and employers should encourage the use of these resources to help support their employees.
This Web page describes and provides some educational materials that can assist employees, their families and supervisors before, during and after deployment. Federal and federalized employees may also have access to additional resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). These employees should check with their employers for a complete list of support services and mental health resources.
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or worker rights.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential on-site consultation service to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Employees can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eCompliant Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to your local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by an employee are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
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