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eTools Home :Hurricane eMatrix

Credits

 
Waste/Debris Removal and Reduction
Vehicle Removal and Salvage

List of Activity Sheets

    Photo courtesy of OSHA.  This picture shows actual disaster site work conditions and may not illustrate proper safety and health procedures.
Activity Description
  • This activity sheet is for individuals (salvors, insurance adjusters) needing to access, inspect, and transport abandoned vehicles and those that supervise them.
  • For some operations or situations (e.g., work zone safety, heavy equipment use) other activity sheets also apply; see related activity sheets below.
  • As a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), over 100,000 vehicles were abandoned and required removal; this operation will likely be an important part of response/recovery—though likely at a lesser scale—during any similar natural disaster.  These vehicles will need to be disposed of, salvaged, or repaired.
  • Individuals working with such vehicles will need to address concerns relevant to vehicles impacted by contaminated waters, sand, and silt in addition to normal removal and salvage operations.
  • Response and recovery workers conducting this operation may be employed by Federal, State, local, and private employers. Review How to Use This Matrix in the introduction for a discussion of how this information may apply to different workers.

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About the Activity Sheet

This activity sheet does not provide an in-depth analysis of OSHA standards and regulations and cannot address all hazards. It does not increase or diminish any OSHA requirement or employer obligation under those requirements. It is intended as a guide and quick reference for employers and response and recovery workers. The Matrix captures major activities involved in hurricane response and recovery, highlights many of the hazards associated with them, and recommends beneficial work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other exposure control methods. Employers must evaluate the specific hazards associated with the job/operation at the site where the work is being performed.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.

The Hazard Exposure and Risk Assessment Matrix for Hurricane Response and Recovery Work provides a general overview of particular topics related to current OSHA standards. It does not alter or determine compliance responsibilities in OSHA standards or the

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, or the equivalent State Plan standards and requirements. Because interpretations and enforcement policy may change over time, you should consult current OSHA/State Plan administrative interpretations and decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the courts for additional guidance on OSHA compliance requirements. Employers should modify their procedures as appropriate when additional, relevant information becomes available.

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General Recommendations

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices.

See general recommendations document.

Personal Protective Equipment.

The general PPE is recommended for all response/recovery tasks/operations; only the additional PPE that may be needed for a specific hazard is noted below.

General PPE includes:

  • Hard hat for overhead impact or electrical hazards
  • Eye protection with side shields
  • Gloves chosen for job hazards expected (e.g., heavy-duty leather work gloves for handling debris with sharp edges and/or chemical protective gloves appropriate for chemicals potentially contacted)
  • ANSI-approved protective footwear
  • Respiratory protection as necessary—N, R, or P95, filtering facepieces may be used for nuisance dusts (e.g., dried mud, dirt and silt) and mold (except mold remediation). Filters with a charcoal layer may be used for odors

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Recommendations Specific to Hazards Associated with Vehicle Removal and Salvage


GENERAL HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATION (TOW TRUCKS AND CRANES)

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

    Photo courtesy of OSHA.  This picture shows actual disaster site work conditions and may not illustrate proper safety and health procedures.
  • Ensure winch and towing/lifting cable can safely handle the load
  • Inspect the cable for damage or wear
  • Center tow on any ramps or platforms used; keep unnecessary people away from vehicles being moved
  • Secure the tow before moving the hauling vehicle
  • Do not place any body part under a load unless the load is positively supported with cribbing, shore towers, jack stands, or some other positive means
  • See Heavy Equipment and Powered Industrial Truck Use activity sheet
  • See Crane Use activity sheet

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

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WORK ZONE SAFETY

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

  • ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 compliant high visibility safety apparel and headwear

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LEAKING FUELS, OILS, AND BATTERY ACID

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

    Photo courtesy of OSHA.  This picture shows actual disaster site work conditions and may not illustrate proper safety and health procedures.
  • For large spills, use atmospheric-monitoring equipment such as colorimetric tubes to evaluate exposures to gasoline vapors and liquid, including the benzene contained in gasoline
  • Ensure that leaking fuels, oils, and acids are contained, absorbed, and discarded; containment should be designed to reduce worker exposure
  • Ensure that spark- and heat-producing equipment is kept away from flammable liquids and vapors

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

  • Long gloves and face shields appropriate for chemicals (in gasoline, diesel fuel, lubricating oils, and acids) and activities (fuel tank draining) anticipated

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CONTACT WITH DOWNED LINES AND LIVE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT AND OTHER UTILITIES (E.G., GAS, WATER)

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

  • Assume that electrical lines are energized until proven otherwise.  Lines and other conductors may become reenergized without warning as utilities are evaluated and restored after a disaster
  • Inspect the work area for downed conductors and do not go near, drive over, or otherwise come in contact with them
  • Downed electrical conductors can energize other objects, including fences, water pipes, bushes, trees, and telephone/CATV/fiber optic cables
  • Unless deenergized and visibly grounded, maintain proper distance from overhead electrical power lines (at least 10 feet) and/or provide insulating barriers
  • Do not approach any gas leaks; if a gas leak is detected, secure spark-producing devices (e.g., engines, tools, electronic, and communications equipment) and evacuate the area until the leak is secured
  • Contact utility company to assist in locating, marking, and shutting off/purging utility lines that may pose a hazard or may be impacted; ensure that lines have been purged as needed before beginning work

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EXPOSURE TO CONTAMINATED WATER AND/OR FLOODWATERS

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

    Photo courtesy of FEMA.  This picture shows actual disaster site work conditions and may not illustrate proper safety and health procedures.
  • When a vehicle containing floodwaters is being moved, reduce the exposure to splash or aerosolized liquid hazards by limiting the number of people in the area and having those in the area stay upwind of water discharge areas
  • Ensure that good hygiene, especially hand washing, is practiced before eating, drinking, and smoking.  If clean water is not available, use an alternative such as hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes
  • Ensure that cuts and bruises are protected from contact with contaminated water
  • Clean areas of the body that come in contact with contaminated water with soap and water, hand sanitizer, or sanitizing wipes

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

  • Goggles if routinely working near splashing floodwater
  • N, R, or P95 respirators may be necessary for exposure to contaminated water that may become aerosolized
  • Watertight boots with steel toe and insoles
  • Waterproof gloves for contact with contaminated water

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POWER AND HAND TOOL USE

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) or double insulated power tools, or implement an assured equipment grounding program
  • Inspect power tool condition (including any cords) and verify operation of safety features before use
  • Do not use equipment that is defective, such as equipment with inoperable safety switches, missing guards, frayed/cut cords etc.
  • Ground power tools properly
  • Avoid standing in wet areas when using portable power tools

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

  • Hearing protection—see Noise hazard
  • Hand protection for cut- and abrasion-control and vibration dampening
  • Eye protection appropriate to the impact hazard

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WELDING, CUTTING, AND BURNING

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

  • Remove flammable and combustible materials from the area
  • Do not perform "hot work" such as welding, cutting, or burning in areas where flammable, combustible, corrosive, or toxic substances are being used, stored, or may otherwise be present
  • Maintain a fire watch during all hot work until material has cooled
  • Ensure fire extinguishers and extinguishing agents are available in the immediate area
  • Provide natural, exhaust, or forced ventilation to control exposure to the metal fumes and other contaminants being generated (e.g., generator exhaust)
  • Ensure that pipes and other vessels are purged of hazardous materials
  • Identify materials that will be welded, cut, or burned and that may contain lead, such as painted surfaces and pipes. Test materials and provide exposure controls identified in 29 CFR 1926.62 as necessary; see the lead hazard in the general recommendations document

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

  • Gloves and protective clothing for the activity being performed 
  • At a minimum, filtered lenses and face-protection as appropriate for the activity being performed
  • Respiratory protection based on anticipated exposure to metal fumes, including lead

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SLIPS, TRIPS, AND FALLS ON WORKING SURFACES

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

  • Do not attempt to attach a tow cable where a vehicle is likely to shift or the operator can slip or fall because of flowing water
  • See general recommendations document

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DISCOVERY OF HUMAN OR ANIMAL REMAINS

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

  • If found, contact public health/mortuary personnel for removal

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NOISE

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

  • Place generators, compressors, and other noisy equipment at a distance or behind a barrier when possible

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

  • Hearing protection when working around potential noise sources and when noise levels exceed 90 dBA.  A useful "rule of thumb"—if you cannot hold a conversation in a normal speaking voice with a person who is standing at arms length (approximately 3 feet), the noise level may exceed 90 dBA

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DISCOVERY OF UNKNOWN CHEMICALS

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

    Photo courtesy of FEMA.  This picture shows actual disaster site work conditions and may not illustrate proper safety and health procedures.
  • If hazardous chemical containers are found or leaking materials are detected:
    • Do not use spark-producing devices (e.g., engines, tools, electronic, and communications equipment) in the immediate area
    • Take self-protective measures (i.e., move to a safe distance upwind) and contact hazardous material response personnel for evaluation/removal before continuing work in the area

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

  • Evaluate the need to revise protective clothing, respirator, and glove selection

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OTHER POTENTIAL HAZARDS

Select any of the following potential hazards that can be associated with this activity in order to access relevant recommendations in the general recommendations document:

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Additional Medical Needs
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Additional Training Needs

  • Follow general site- and task-specific training guidelines as outlined in the general recommendations document
  • If personnel are likely to witness or discover a hazardous substance release such as a large spill of fuel, oil, or other chemical from a vehicle, they must be trained under the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6) or 29 CFR 1926.65(q)(6). If workers will only be required to initiate an emergency response sequence and then take no further action, they must receive training equivalent to the "first responder awareness level." Personnel who are expected to take additional action must receive additional training under HAZWOPER(q)(6).

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Related Activity Sheets

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Other Resources and References

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Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

*These files are provided for downloading.
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