In May 2003 a series of tornadoes struck Missouri, primarily in the Southwestern
and Central portions of the state. Areas affected included the cities of
Battlefield, Pierce City, Carl Junction, Stockton, Urbana, and Camdenton. Each
of these areas was declared a Federal Disaster Area.
Due to the perceived magnitude of the clean-up and restoration operations
following the events, and the inherent dangerous working conditions for
employees engaged in this work, OSHA wanted to assist in ensuring safe and
healthful working conditions at these sites. To that end, the St. Louis and
Kansas City Area Offices dispatched their Compliance Assistance Specialists (CASs)
to serve in an outreach capacity for these areas.
The following summarizes the CASs efforts in these cities:
Much of the work activity observed was limited to minor
residential repair, although in several areas, most notably Stockton, it
appeared that a greater scope of residential construction and repair work would
be forthcoming. From observations and interviews with government officials, it
was apparent that at the time of the visit, the sites were still undergoing
inspections for insurance and other purposes. The sites may be in need of
additional interventions, especially in the areas with the most residential
damage (Stockton and Camdenton). Potential hazards noted include falls,
asbestos, and overhead powerlines.
- Battlefield. On May 28, the CASs arrived in Battlefield. Many residential areas
with significant tornado damage were noted (see photos 1, 2, 3). Much of the
post-event activity centered on repairing these residential areas, although
limited current construction work was observed. Contact was made with
Battlefield City Hall. The CASs offered their assistance as a resource for
safety and health information and left outreach materials with the city Building
Inspector. The building inspector was encouraged to contact the Area Offices for
any further assistance.
- Pierce City. The CASs arrived at Pierce City on May 28.
The town square and many residential areas sustained damage (see photos 4, 5,
6). Contact was made with Deputy Director of Emergency Management for Lawrence
County and the Director of Safety Operations. From discussions with these
officials, it was determined that cleanup efforts will mostly include
demolition of buildings in the town square. A limited amount of residential
repair work was being conducted on the date visited. The CASs offered their
support as a resource for safety and health issues that may arise. Handout
materials on asbestos, fall protection, overhead powerlines, and many other
topics were provided.
- Carl Junction. The CASs arrived in Carl Junction on May 28
(see photo 7). The damage to this city appeared to be mostly centered on
residential areas. From visual observation, it appeared that the most of the
work would be demolition of relatively small homes. Contact was made with the
City Manager for Carl Junction. He provided contact information for FEMA
operations in Springfield and Joplin. The CASs offered their assistance as a
resource for safety and health issues.
- Stockton. The tornado-damaged areas of Stockton were
visited on May 29 (see photos 8, 9, 10). Extensive damage to residential and
business areas were noted. Although a large (one city block) debris pile was
observed, it was apparent that much work remained. Activity on this date was
limited to surveying and minor construction repair. Contact was made with the
Stockton City Hall. Outreach materials pertaining to asbestos, fall
protection, electrical safety, and other safety and health topics were
provided in a public area. The CASs also offered the support of the area
- Urbana. Visual observation and interviews with residents
on May 29 showed the damage in Urbana to be contained to a limited area. No
further contacts were made at this location.
- Camdenton. Extensive residential damage was also found
over a widespread area in Camdenton on May 29. Much of the ongoing work
appeared to be demolition activity, with limited residential repair being
conducted. Contacts were made with the Camden County Health Department and
Camdenton City Hall. Outreach materials were provided for the city Building
Inspector. The CASs offered their support and the resources of the Area
- Other Contacts. The Safety Officer (and Deputy Safety
Officer) for the FEMA Disaster Field Office in Springfield, Mo. was contacted
as well. The mission and organization of the FEMA field offices was explained,
as well as the role of the safety office. Outreach materials were provided to
the representatives of this office.
The use of the OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialists in this function seemed to
be mostly well received and appreciated by those involved with the tornado
recovery effort. Important contacts were made with those in the “front lines” of
information, please contact Michael Minicky, Compliance Assistance Specialist in
OSHA’s Area Office in St. Louis, Missouri, or
Daniel Corcoran, Compliance Assistance
Specialist in OSHA’s Area Office in Kansas City, Missouri.