OSHA Recommends Caution Cleaning Buildings in Earthquake Zones

December 4, 2018

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that ripped across southern Alaska Friday morning cracked roads and shook buildings. Facility managers left cleaning the mess need to protect themselves from harm left by the after effects.

Potential building hazards from earthquakes include water system breaks, exposed electrical wiring, structural instability, and falling objects, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Follow these tips from OSHA to protect yourself and your workers when cleaning a building shook or collapsed by an earthquake:

  • In the case of a building collapse, only trained personnel should be involved in cleanup operations.
  • When entering buildings that remain standing, be aware of possible structural, electrical, or gas-leak hazards. If such hazards are identified, report them to the proper local authorities and/or utility.
  • Do not touch downed overhead lines or objects in contact with downed power lines.
  • Wear proper protective clothing when walking on or near debris, such as broken glass, including boots and gloves.
  • Watch for exposure of hazardous materials, such as silica and asbestos.

Here’s 10 other tips for managing your facility after a natural disaster. 


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