Region 8 News Release: 13-1904-DAL
Sept. 13, 2013
Contact: Juan J. Rodriguez
US Labor Department's OSHA urges workers and public
in flood impacted areas to exercise diligence against hazards
DENVER – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges members of the public and recovery workers engaged in flood cleanup activities to protect themselves against hazards related to significant ongoing and dangerous flood conditions along the Front Range.
Workers and residents taking defensive action to protect structures or evacuate severely impacted areas may encounter numerous hazards, including: downed electrical wires, unstable trees, struck-by structures or debris, being caught in unprotected excavations or confined spaces, carbon monoxide, burns from portable generators, lacerations, musculoskeletal injuries, and drowning from being caught in rapidly rising streams and moving water.
Recovery and cleanup efforts can include: restoring electricity, communications, water and sewer services; demolition activities; removal of floodwater from structures; tree trimming; structural, roadway, bridge, dam and levee repair; use of cranes, aerial lifts and other heavy equipment; and hazardous waste operations. Only workers with proper training, equipment and experience should conduct these activities.
Protective measures should involve: evaluating the work area for all hazards; monitoring task-specific hazard exposure; employing engineering or work practice controls to mitigate hazards; using personal protective equipment; exercising caution and assuming that all power lines are live; following proper hygiene procedures; properly using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment; and paying attention to safety precautions for traffic work zones.
Individuals involved in recovery efforts can call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), the agency's Englewood Area Office at 303-843-4500 or Denver Area Office at 303-844-5285 to reach local representatives who can provide assistance. Fact sheets, quick cards and other educational materials on safe work practices and personal protective equipment are available in English and Spanish on the agency's flood response and recovery operations page at https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/flood/ and https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/flood/spanish/index_sp.html.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.