U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA chief encourages safe cleanup efforts

The U.S. Department of Labor is always concerned that the loss of life or serious injury to recovery workers won’t be added to tragedies caused by calamitous weather.  Quoting Ed Foulke, Head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “I encourage you to take proper precautions to avoid serious injury.  Identify the risks.  Wear personal protective equipment when working in cleanup areas.”

These words can apply to the many disasters in our country: tornadoes, floods, and fires.  Using professionally trained personnel and volunteers, recovery crews need to be informed of the special hazards they are facing before they begin their efforts, and particularly how to stay protected in areas with moving equipment and traffic.

An example of such planning includes:

  • Develop a traffic control plan, and properly train all workers involved.
  • Provide the crew with high visibility apparel and headwear that is visible day or night, and conspicuous to motorists and equipment operators.
  • Signs need to be placed well ahead of the work area to give motorists advance notice.
  • Traffic Controls such as barriers, cones, and a flag person are to be utilized.
  • Flag personnel must wear high visibility headwear and clothing.  They should stand alone while doing their duty.  Other workers should never gather around the person who is flagging traffic.
  • Crew members need to be trained not to stand between mechanical equipment and fixed objects or blind spots.

Blog4Safety says “Thank You” to the many unsung heroes who do this type of work every day as their regular job, or volunteer in times of need.
Source: OSHA