Tropical Storm Henri Brings Flooding and Damage to the Northeast

Tropical Storm Henri Brings Flooding and Damage to the Northeast

U.S. Department of Labor urges workers and employers to practice all safety precautions.

Response crews and residents in the Northeast are urged to recognize the hazards created by flooding, power loss, fallen trees, structural damage and storm debris hit by Tropical Storm Henri. Workers responding to the storm may face hazards related to restoring electricity and communications, repairing water damage, removing debris, repairing or replacing roofs and trimming trees. Only individuals with proper training, equipment and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities.

According to a press release, those involved in response and recovery should:

  • Evaluate the work area for hazards.
  • Assess the stability of structures and walking surfaces.
  • Ensure fall protection when working on elevated surfaces.
  • Assume all power lines are live.
  • Keep portable generators outside.
  • Never attach a generator directly to the electrical system of a structure unless a qualified electrician has installed a transfer switch for the generator.
  • Operate chainsaws, ladders and other equipment properly.
  • Use PPE, such as gloves, hard hats and hearing, foot and eye safeguards.

“When Mother Nature hits us hard, workers entering disaster areas to help clean up and restore services must be prepared to do their jobs safely,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Jeffrey Erskine in Boston. “Employers must follow safe work practices, provide training on worksite hazards and ensure the use of appropriate personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of injuries.”

To ensure safety for hurricane preparedness and response with the correct safety tips to help employers and workers, OSHA created a comprehensive webpage. The page includes an alert on keeping workers safe during food cleanup.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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