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Region 5 News Release: 12-431-CHI
March 6, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:            312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA urges recovery workers, public
to guard against hazards during tornado recovery efforts
Federal agency is providing compliance assistance on the ground

CHICAGO – As residents recover from recent storms that have devastated the Midwest and South, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is on-site and providing compliance assistance to workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities regarding hazards they may encounter, as well as steps they should take to protect themselves.

"The safety and health of these cleanup crews is our chief concern, and we are on the ground in affected areas providing compliance assistance," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Chicago. "Storm recovery efforts expose workers to a wide range of hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment."

Hazards involved in cleanup work may include illness from exposure to contaminated water or food, downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from portable generators, fall and struck-by hazards from tree-trimming or working at heights, being caught in unprotected excavations or confined spaces, burns, lacerations, musculoskeletal injuries, exposure to hazardous materials, and being struck by traffic or heavy equipment.

Workers and employers involved in recovery efforts can call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to reach representatives in their areas who can provide on-site assistance. Fact sheets, quick cards and other educational materials on safe work practices and personal protective equipment are available on the agency's Tornado Recovery Web page at http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/tornado/index.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.

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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.


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