In response to the recent storms which blew through Texas and the Southeast, OSHA has

released a statement to recover workers, volunteers, and the general public during the storm

cleanup process. And while this statement is specifically released to residents of Texas,

Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, the basic principles would apply to all storm

cleanup operations around the country.

“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.”

For starters, if you are in the emergency recovery industry, you should have the following

protective measures in place: evaluating the work area for hazards; 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; and heeding safety precautions for traffic work zones.

In addition, your occupational safety and health policies and procedures should be reviewed

routinely by a qualified third party occupational safety and health auditing firm to ensure all

potential hazards are accounted for and that all policies and procedures are updated with the

newest regulations and best practices.

If you have any questions about how this statement impacts your business, or about your

occupational safety and health policies and procedures, please contact us. If you have anything to

add about the importance of routine third party occupational safety and health audits, please

leave a comment.