Flood Preparedness and Response
Floods can be serious catastrophes and they are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Floods can be caused by a variety of factors, including a sudden accumulation of rain, rising rivers, tidal surges, ice jams and dam failures.
OSHA and NOAA are working together on a public education effort aimed at improving the way people prepare for and respond to severe weather. This page is designed to help businesses and their workers prepare for floods, and to provide information about hazards that workers may face during and after a flood event.
Workers who have to respond to flooded areas face the greatest risks from floods, but all workers can help protect themselves by preparing evacuation plans and learning about the hazards commonly associated with floods.
The Preparedness page provides information on making an evacuation plan, emergency supply kits, and flood watches and warnings. This planning information can help you ensure that you are ready to evacuate in an orderly manner before rising waters impact your business or residence, or your evacuation routes.
The Response/Recovery page provides useful details on the hazards to avoid when flooding has occurred. This includes areas to avoid when using a vehicle, and safety and health hazards such as downed electrical lines, mold and wild animals.
Employer Responsibilities and Workers' Rights
Each employer is responsible for the safety and health of its workers and for providing a safe and healthful workplace for its workers. Employers are required to protect workers from the anticipated hazards associated with the flood response and recovery operations that workers are likely to conduct.
OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers. The OSHA at a Glance publication provides information on the strategies and programs OSHA uses to promote worker safety and health. For additional information on Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Employers Page, Workers Page and Publications.
OSHA provides comprehensive worker safety and health resources for protecting workers from many different hazards associated with storm response and recovery. See the Worker Safety and Health Resources for Hurricanes and Flood Cleanup and Recovery for an up-to-date listing of these OSHA web pages, Fact Sheets and QuickCards™, along with interagency and OSHA alliance partner publications.
Cleaning Up, Staying Safe. U.S. Department of Labor Blog Post (September 6, 2017). Hurricane Harvey brought catastrophic flooding to Texas and Louisiana last week, but it also brought heroic reactions from first responders and volunteers. As the flood waters recede, thousands of Americans are beginning the difficult work of cleanup and recovery.
Hurricane Recovery. U.S. Department of Labor, (2017). Learn about resources to keep workers safe during recovery operations and how the Department of Labor is assisting affected communities.