Dec. 28, 2015
US Labor Department urges tornado recovery wrokers and
public to be vigilant and aware of hazards during storm cleanup
DALLAS - Texas residents - emergency workers, employers and the public - recovering from the impact of the tornado in North Texas should be aware of the hazards they may encounter and take necessary steps to stay safe, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges.
"Recovery work should not put you in the hospital emergency room," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "A range of safety and health hazards exist following storms. You may minimize these dangers with knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. OSHA wants to make certain that all working men and women, including volunteers, return home at the end of the workday."
Cleanup work after the tornado may involve hazards related to restoring electricity, communications, and water and sewer services. Other hazards pertain to demolition activities; debris cleanup; tree trimming; and structural, roadway and bridge repair; hazardous waste operations; and emergency response activities. OSHA maintains a comprehensive website to keep disaster site workers safe during tornado and storm cleanup and recovery operations.
In addition to several teams at the affected areas, OSHA has many resources on tornado preparedness and response detailing how to stay safe in preparation of a tornado and subsequent cleanup.
Only workers provided with the proper training, equipment and experience should conduct cleanup activities.
Protective measures should include the following:
- Evaluating the work area for hazards.
- Employing engineering or work practice controls to mitigate hazards.
- Using personal protective equipment.
- Assuming all power lines are live.
- Using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment properly.
- Heeding safety precautions for traffic work zones.
Individuals involved in recovery efforts may call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit the agency's website to reach Texas representatives who can provide on-site assistance.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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Release Number: 15-2491-DAL
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