US Labor Department reminds storm recovery workers and public to stay safe during storm cleanup

US Labor Department reminds storm recovery workers and public to stay safe during storm cleanup

Residents of South Carolina, as well as emergency workers, employers and the public recovering from the impact of Hurricane Joaquin are urged to be vigilant of the hazards during storm cleanup.

Everyone is encouraged to take necessary precautions and be aware of the hazards which may result to serious injuries.

“Recovery work should not put you in the hospital emergency room,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta.

“A range of safety and health hazards exist following storms. You may minimize these dangers with knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. OSHA wants to make certain that all working men and women, including volunteers, return home at the end of the workday.”

Storm and hurricane cleanup may expose people to hazards related to restoring electricity, communications, and water and sewer services. Other hazards may be related to demolition activities; debris cleanup; tree trimming; and structural, roadway and bridge repair; hazardous waste operations; and emergency response activities.

Only workers who have proper training, equipment and experience should conduct cleanup activities.

OSHA offers the following protective measures to consider before commencing storm cleanup activities:

  • Employing engineering or work practice controls to mitigate hazards
  • Using personal protective equipment
  • Assuming all power lines are live
  • Using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment properly
  • Evaluating the work area for hazards
  • Heeding safety precautions for traffic work zones

For more information, the South Carolina OSHA office can be reached at 803-896-7665.