As residents recover from storms that created havoc across the Midwest and South last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been on the scene to provide compliance assistance to cleanup and recovery workers who face multiple hazards in their activity.
“The safety and health of these cleanup crews is our chief concern, and we are on the ground in affected areas providing compliance assistance,” said Greg Baxter, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Chicago. “Storm recovery efforts expose workers to a wide range of hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment.”
Hazards common to cleanup and recovery work can include illness from exposure to contaminated water or food, downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from generators, slip and fall hazards, being caught in unprotected excavations or confined spaces, burns, lacerations, back and neck injuries, exposure to hazardous materials, and being injured by traffic or heavy equipment.
Workers and employers participating in storm or tornado recovery efforts can call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA to speak with representatives in their areas who offer on-site assistance. Fact sheets, quick cards and other educational materials on workplace safety and personal protective equipment are available on the agency’s Tornado Recovery Web page at http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/tornado/index.html.
While tornadoes are almost unheard of in Washington State, we have our fair share of heavy storms each winter, and many Washington workers find themselves in harm’s way during the recovery efforts. If you are suffering from a work injury, need helprecovering your workers compensation benefits fromthe Department of Labor and Industries, or want to appeal a denied L&I claim, contact an Employment attorney at Emery Reddy today. Our experienced L&I Attorneys and Seattle Workers Compensation Lawyers can also help workers who have been required to complete an independent medical exam, or who have other difficulties with their L&I claim.