U.S. Department of Labor Urges Workers to Stay Safe and be Aware of Hazards after Hurricane Ida
OSHA is responsible for the safety and health of its employees in all circumstances.
- By Shereen Hashem
- Sep 03, 2021
Flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees and storm debris are just some of the hazards created by Hurricane Ida. The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA urges response crews and residents to recognize the severity of these hazards. Response and recovery workers are taking risks by restoring electricity and communication, removing debris, repairing water damage, repairing or replacing roofs as well as cleanup activities.
According to a press release, after a weather disaster, 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.
- Stay hydrated and protect against hazardous heat exposure.
- Operate chainsaws, ladders and other equipment properly.
- Use PPE, such as gloves, hard hats, hearing, foot and eye safeguards.
"When Mother Nature hits us hard, there are people whose jobs help keep others safe. As they enter disaster areas, they need to do their jobs as safely as possible," said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. "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."
OSHA has a comprehensive webpage on hurricane preparedness and response with safety tips to help employers and workers, including an alert on keeping workers safe during flood cleanup. Those involved in response and recovery efforts may contact OSHA here. Learn more about hurricane preparedness and response.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.