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November 21, 2012
Recovery workers urged to take protective steps

With recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy continuing in the Northeast, OSHA urges workers and members of the public involved in these efforts to be aware of the hazards and steps they should take to protect themselves.

OSHA field staffers have been on-site to provide safety assistance, technical support, information, and training to those involved in recovery. OSHA continues to operate a toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.

Cleanup work can involve restoring electricity, communications, and water and sewer services; demolition; removal of floodwater from structures; entry into flooded areas; cleaning up debris; roadway and bridge repair; use of cranes and heavy equipment; and hazardous waste operations, among others.

OSHA points to hazards like downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from portable generators, fall hazards from tree trimming, confined spaces, burns, musculoskeletal injuries, and being struck by traffic or heavy equipment.

The agency urges those involved in cleanup to:

  • Evaluate the work area for all hazards.
  • Assume all power lines are live.
  • Use the right PPE.
  • Conduct exposure monitoring where chemical hazards are present.
  • Follow safe tree cutting procedures.
  • Use fall protection and proper ladder safety when working at heights.
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