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OSHA News Brief

August 31, 2023

US Department of Labor urges workers, public in Carolinas, Georgia, Florida to be aware of hazards in recovery efforts after Hurricane Idalia

Who:  U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Response crews and residents in areas affected by Hurricane Idalia

What:  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges response and recovery crews, as well as residents in areas affected by Hurricane Idalia to be aware of hazards caused by flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees and storm debris.  

Storm recovery efforts may involve hazards related to restoring electricity and communications, removing debris, repairing water damage, repairing or replacing roofs and trimming trees. Only individuals with proper training, equipment and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities.

Protective measures after a weather disaster should include the following:

  • Evaluating the work area for hazards.
  • Assessing the stability of structures and walking surfaces.
  • Ensuring fall protection when working from elevated surfaces.
  • Assuming all power lines are live.
  • Operating chainsaws, portable generators, ladders and other equipment properly.
  • Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, hard hats, hearing, foot and eye protection.

Background:  OSHA offers a comprehensive website with safety tips to help employers and workers, including an alert on keeping workers safe during flood cleanup. Individuals involved in response and recovery efforts may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).   

Quote:  “The risk of injuries and fatalities during storm cleanup can be minimized with knowledge, safe work practices, and appropriate personal protective equipment,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “Our safety professionals are available to assist anyone with questions on how to reduce exposure to hazards in the wake of this catastrophic storm.”


Media Contacts:

Eric R. Lucero, 678-237-0630,
Erika B. Ruthman, 678-237-0630,

Release Number:  23-1937-ATL