Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

OSHA warns of hurricane cleanup hazards

August 29, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC — As cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Irene begins, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is urging workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities to be aware of the hazards they might encounter and the steps they should take to protect themselves, according to a press release.

"Recovery work should not put you in the hospital," said Cindy Coe, administrator of OSHA''s Atlanta regional office.

"Hurricane recovery work involves a wide range of safety and health hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. Federal OSHA and North Carolina OSHA want to make certain that no casualties result from cleanup operations," Coe added.

Cleanup work can involve restoring electricity, communications, water and sewer services; demolition activities; removal of floodwater from structures; entry into flooded areas; cleaning up debris; tree trimming; structural, roadway, bridge and dam and levee repair; use of cranes, aerial lifts and other heavy equipment; hazardous waste operations; and emergency response activities, the release stated.

According to the release, inherent hazards may include illness from exposure to contaminated water or food, exposure or heat stress, downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from portable generators, fall and "struck-by" hazards.

Click here to read the complete release.