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Region 2 News Release
10-365-NEW/BOS 2010-126
Wed., March 24, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
E-mail: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA urges recovery workers and public to safeguard themselves against hazards during flood and storm cleanup

NEW YORK -- As residents of the northeast U.S. recover from flooding and associated damage from the recent multi-day nor'easter storm that swamped the region, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities to be aware of the hazards they can encounter and the necessary steps they should take to protect themselves.

"Recovery work should not put you in the recovery room," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "Flood recovery work encompasses a wide range of safety and health hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment."

Cleanup work can involve restoring electricity, communications, water and sewer services; demolition work; removal of floodwater from structures; entry into flooded areas; cleaning up debris; tree-trimming; structural repair; roadway and bridge repair; use of cranes, aerial lifts and other heavy equipment; hazardous waste operations and emergency response activities; and repair of dams and levees.

Inherent hazards may include illness from exposure to contaminated water or food; exposure or heat stress; downed electrical wires; carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from portable generators; fall and struck-by hazards from tree-trimming or working at heights; being caught in unprotected excavations or confined spaces; burns; lacerations; musculoskeletal injuries; being struck by traffic