OSHA Issues Alerts Concerning Workplace Hazards For Employees in Flood Zones, Hot Temperatures

The alerts come as parts of the U.S. experience major flooding and record hot temperatures

In its latest round of alerts, OSHA instructed employers to prevent workplace hazards common with employees who work in hot temperatures or serve in flood response teams, among others.

The agency issues alert letters periodically to point out specific industry hazards and provide resources for protecting workers. This time, OSHA focused on trench hazards, safety precautions for people working in hot weather or on flood cleanup crews, and protections for employees operating or working near forklifts.

The tipsheet for flood cleanup safety reminds employers of the potential dangers posed by damaged power lines, downed trees and chemical hazards. Several Midwestern states have experienced severe flooding since mid-March, including floods along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas.

Another tipsheet advises companies to provide water, frequent rest breaks and shade to workers performing activities in high temperatures and humid conditions. People across the globe have experienced record heat this summer, with heat waves affecting hundreds of millions of Americans in recent weeks.

In July, the Labor Department came under fire from lawmakers for not adopting stricter standards for companies whose employees are exposed to heat. Democrats have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would require OSHA to adopt and enforce policies for required breaks, heat stress training and more.

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  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2020

    May 2020

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