OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
National News Release: USDL 05-1724-NAT
September 13, 2005
Contact: Pamela Groover or Al Belsky
Phone: (202) 693-4676 693-1999
Agency Focused on Safety in Cleanup and Recovery Operations
WASHINGTON -- As part of the U.S. Department of Labor's response to Hurricane Katrina, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has deployed safety and health professionals to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to provide technical assistance to recovery workers in their ongoing cleanup efforts along the Gulf Coast of the United States.
"The Department of Labor has already dispatched teams of OSHA professionals to the devastated regions to help ensure that the restoration of power and telecommunications facilities and infrastructures are done in a safe way. And they will continue to be in the region for as long as it takes to ensure the health and safety of workers involved in the rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
OSHA has been contacting major power companies in the affected areas to provide safety briefings to employees at power restoration staging areas. Public service announcements have also been released to inform workers about hazards related to restoration and cleanup. In addition, OSHA has identified home supply and construction stores in the affected areas in order to distribute safety and health fact sheets and materials to these locations. The agency continues to contact Alliance and other cooperative program partners to identify opportunities for training, outreach and assistance.
"OSHA teams on the ground are also focusing on safety and health issues for workers involved in debris removal and a variety of construction projects as well as utility workers performing power and telecommunications restoration," said Jonathan L. Snare, deputy assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "We are augmenting our regional headquarters in Dallas and Atlanta with more safety and health experts who will provide technical assistance to assure the safety of the thousands of workers who will be onsite throughout the Gulf Coast over the coming months."
Snare also has announced the first implementation of OSHA's National Emergency Management Plan that provides a structured management plan and organization for the agency's response activities during the crisis. The action came as a result of Hurricane Katrina's response and recovery being designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an Incident of National Significance under the National Response Plan.
The safety and health information is available on the U.S. Department of Labor's Web site (www.dol.gov) via the "Hurricane Recovery Assistance" link, and on OSHA's Web site (www.osha.gov) via the hurricane recovery page. Information on such hazards as flooding, falls, electrical dangers, molds, working with chainsaws, and other important issues is available. In addition, there is information on heat stress and the physical and mental stresses involved in working under long and arduous conditions. Finally, links to other government resources are provided.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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