March 8, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As residents recover from the damage caused by the recent tornadoes and severe storms in Missouri and Kansas, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges recovery workers, employers and the public to use caution during cleanup and recovery efforts. The agency urges all to be aware of hazards they may encounter, and steps needed to stay safe and healthy.
OSHA resource officers are available in hard-hit areas to communicate with emergency responders in local communities, provide advice and distribute literature to assist in a safe clean-up of damage caused by recent storms in Oak Grove, Smithville, Carrollton and Mercer County, Missouri as well as Olathe, Kansas.
“Recovery work should not put you in the recovery room,” said Karena Lorek, OSHA’s area director in Kansas City. “Our main concern is the safety and health of the workers and volunteers conducting cleanup activities. Everyone should use personal protective equipment and implement safe work practices to protect themselves from hazards such as electrocution, struck-by, caught-in and other hazards. By utilizing protective measures employees and volunteers provide valuable assistance to those in need and return home safe and healthy to their families at the end of the day.”
Protective measures should involve:
Evaluating work areas for all hazards.
Monitoring task-specific hazard exposure.
Using engineering or work practice controls to mitigate hazards.
Having and using personal protective equipment.
Assuming all power lines are live.
Following proper hygiene procedures.
Using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment correctly.
Creating traffic work zones.
OSHA maintains a comprehensive website on keeping disaster site workers safe during cleanup and recovery operations. It contains fact sheets, concise “quick cards,” frequently asked questions, safety and health guides and information, public service announcements in English and Spanish, and links to information from other sources.
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 assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Kansas City Area Office at 816-483-9531.