OSHA Offers Safety Guidance to Flood Recovery Workers in Florida

OSHA Offers Safety Guidance to Flood Recovery Workers in Florida

Flood recovery presents hazards such as power loss, water accumulation and saturation of building materials and electrical components.

The U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA have issued a strong reminder to emergency responders, recovery workers and residents in flood-affected areas of Florida to prioritize safety amid cleanup efforts following intense rainfall. OSHA emphasizes the importance of training, following safe work practices and using PPE during debris removal to minimize these risks.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds everyone that recovery work must never come at the expense of someone’s safety and well-being,” OSHA Southeast Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta said in a statement. “Flood recovery work presents numerous safety and health hazards — amid power loss, and water accumulation and saturation of building materials and electrical components — all of which can be minimized by being knowledgeable, following safe work practices and using personal protective equipment for debris removal.”

OSHA specifically highlights the danger posed by standing water, particularly in areas where there may be hidden openings or depressions that could lead to serious injury or drowning. Recovery tasks such as restoring utilities, removing floodwater, performing demolition, clearing debris and handling hazardous waste expose workers to risks such as extreme heat, contaminated materials, carbon monoxide, electrocution, and fall hazards.

To mitigate these risks, OSHA recommends evaluating work areas for potential hazards, ensuring workers are adequately trained, and verifying that hazards are effectively controlled before commencing any recovery work. The agency's online resources provide guidance on keeping workers safe during flood cleanup, including quick cards and fact sheets.

More information on OSHA’s flood preparedness and response guidance, visit the webpage.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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