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U.S. Department of Labor Provides Support in Areas Hardest Hit by Hurricane Ian

Nov. 2, 2022
OSHA offers assistance to keep workers safe in the wake of a hurricane and flood.

 In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has initiated efforts to provide on-site technical assistance and outreach in the areas of Florida hardest hit by the storm to protect workers involved in the recovery and response and to prevent any further injury or loss of life.

The agency had ceased programmed and planned enforcement inspections in counties identified in the hurricane's path, and – once the storm had passed – deployed safety and health professionals to help employers and workers engaged in recovery operations to eliminate serious hazards.

While this work continues in heavily impacted areas, OSHA retains the right to perform enforcement inspections related to fatalities, catastrophic incidents, employee complaints, incidents involving life-altering injuries and employers who expose employees repeatedly to serious hazards during cleanup and recovery.

OSHA has suspended programmed and planned inspections to provide outreach and technical assistance in the following Florida counties: Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia. Employers and employees working in these areas should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit the agency's website to contact an area office representative and request on-site assistance.

OSHA maintains a comprehensive webpage with safety tips to help employers and workers prepare and respond to a hurricane, including an alert on keeping workers safe during flood cleanup.

OSHA provides free on-site consultation services to help employers identify and correct hazardous conditions at their worksites, as well as improve occupational safety and health management systems. To schedule an on-site consultation visit, please contact the University of South Florida On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

For more information, visit the Web site.

Tips to Keep Workers Safe During Flood Cleanup
Workers responding to the cleanup from floods may be exposed to serious hazards including electrical, fallen trees and debris, mold, and carbon monoxide. OSHA reminds employers that worker safety is a priority, and the agency has resources available to protect workers from hazards associated with flood response operations.

  •  Generators – Use gas and diesel-powered generators outdoors to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide – a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas.
  • Electrical – Make sure non-trained electrical utility workers keep a safe distance from downed or damaged power lines. 
  • Downed Trees – Wear protective gloves, and foot, eye, hearing, head, and fall protection when using chainsaws and chippers to clear downed trees.
  • Chemical/Biological Hazards – Wash hands with soap and clean water, and wear protective clothing, goggles, gloves, and boots to avoid contamination

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