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OSHA urges caution to avoid hazards during tornado, storm cleanup

Workers may face significant hazards during cleanup activities

Posted June 13, 2019

OSHA urges employers, workers, and the public to be aware of the hazards that may exist while conducting cleanup work following the recent tornados in the Midwest.

As steps are taken to recover from a storm, workers may face significant hazards including the potential for additional storms, downed electric lines, and sharp debris. Employees should also be aware of hazards from heat stress and from equipment used during response/recovery operations, such as portable generators.

Only workers provided with the proper training, equipment, and experience should conduct cleanup activities. Protective measures should always include:

  • Evaluating work areas for hazards;
  • Employing engineering or work practice controls to minimize hazards;
  • Wearing proper clothing and using personal protective equipment;
  • Assuming all power lines are live;
  • Using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles, and other equipment properly;
  • Following safety precautions in traffic work zones; and
  • Using fall protection when working at heights over 4 feet.

Personal Protective Equipment: Employee EssentialsJ. J. Keller's Personal Protective Equipment: Employee Essentials training program provides employees with the PPE information they need to know to protect themselves and stay safe on the job.


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