Alaska On-Site Consultation and Training Safety Officers Support Cleanup Efforts after 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake
Company: Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH)
On Friday, November 30, 2018, a 7.0 earthquake struck Alaska, just north of Anchorage. Initial obvious damage occurred on roads, buildings, and homes. The extent of the damage to infrastructure was not immediately known. Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH), Consultation and Training Section safety officers were dispatched to preform safety assessments in the community once primary roads and the AKOSH office were cleared to be used safely.
To assess damage cleanup activities in order to ensure that these activities were performed safely, safety consultants were organized by zip code and assigned to reach out to the community. In all but a few areas, the overall damage was surprisingly minimal. The AKOSH consultants noted that the cleanup and
repair operations were either completed or the work was being done with effective control of hazard exposure to the workers involved.
The use of the Consultation and Training Section safety officers for this duty allowed AKOSH to keep their Enforcement section focused on performing time-sensitive tasks, rather than having to divert their resources to examination of earthquake cleanup activities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), On-Site Consultation Program, offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies, such as the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Section or universities, work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.