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Keeping Workers Safet during Hurricane Sandy Cleanup and Recovery

OSHA field staff is working diligently to provide assistance and support to those involved in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery.

If you need to contact OSHA for an emergency situation, please call the toll-free hotline
1-800-321-OSHA. For non-urgent matters, you can call the OSHA hotline or send an email.

OSHA urges workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup and recovery activities to be aware of the hazards they might encounter and the necessary steps they should take to protect themselves. OSHA has created a fact sheet* for keeping workers safe during Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery. It provides details on possible hazards and protective measures.

Common hazards include 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, being struck by traffic or heavy equipment, and encountering contaminated water during flood cleanup.

Protective measures involve evaluating the work area for all hazards; assuming all power lines are live; following safe practices when doing tree work; using fall protection and proper ladder safety when working at heights; task specific exposure monitoring; and utilizing proper precautions for traffic work zones.

Although hazard avoidance is preferred, some situations may expose workers to hazards which can only be mitigated by personal protective equipment (PPE). OSHA's Hurricane Sandy Cleanup PPE Matrix* assists employers in determining the appropriate PPE for specific tasks.

For additional information on US Department of Labor recovery efforts in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, see DOL's Hurricane Recovery Assistance page.

Most Common Hazards

Flood Cleanup Hazards

  • Flood Cleanup
    • Fact Sheet [PDF*]
  • Molds and Fungi

Electrical Hazards

  • Downed Electrical Wires
    • Fact Sheet [PDF*]
  • Electrical Safety
  • Working Safely with Electricity

Tree Trimming and Debris Removal


Portable Generators

  • Portable Generator Safety
  • Grounding Portable Generators
    • Fact Sheet [PDF*]
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Work Zone Traffic Safety

Construction Hazards

  • Asbestos Hazards
  • Confined Spaces
  • Construction Hazards
    • QuickCard [PDF*]
  • Construction Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

En español

Solis with Cleanup and Recovery Workers

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (second from left) met with cleanup and recovery workers Nov. 29, 2012, during her tour of storm-damaged areas of Staten Island, N.Y. View more photos.

Press Releases and Other New Items

Preventing Falls in Construction

* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

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