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Region 1 News Release: 11-1269-BOS/BOS 2011-298
Aug. 29, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA urges recovery workers and public
to guard against hazards during Tropical Storm Irene cleanup

BOSTON – As residents of New England recover from the impact of Tropical Storm Irene, 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 might encounter and the necessary steps they should take to protect themselves.

"Recovery work should not put you in the recovery room," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Storm recovery work involves a wide range of safety and health hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. OSHA wants to make certain that no casualties result from cleanup operations."

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

Inherent hazards may include illness from exposure to contaminated water or food, exposure to the elements and 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 or heavy equipment, and