Clean up work following a storm is risky business for recovery workers in North Carolina

Those engaged in recovery and cleanup work are warned by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect themselves from injuries. In your effort to help others, safety shouldn’t take a back seat. Injured workers are the last thing a disaster site needs in the mix of pure devastation.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys in Statesville and elsewhere have the victims affected by the recent devastating storms in our thoughts and urge workers to be safe during cleanup to prevent a work-related accident.
OSHA wants to remind us of the dangers of cleanup activities after a storm and the precautions to be taken to reduce potential injuries.

“Emergency response should not put you in the hospital emergency room,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “Storm recovery work encompasses a wide range of safety and health hazards, which can be minimized by knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment.”

There are a lot of activities associated with cleanup work after such a devastating event including:
-Restoring water, sewer, electricity and communications services.
-Demo work.
-Pumping floodwater from structures.
-Entering flooded areas.
-Cleaning up debris, tree-trimming, structural, roadway, dam, levee and bridge repair.
-Use of aerial lifts, cranes and other heavy equipment.
-Hazardous waste operations.
-Emergency response activities.

Risks to workers include:
-Getting sick from contaminated water or food.
-Heat-related illness.
-Electrocution from downed electrical wires.
-Portable generator hazards like carbon monoxide exposure.
-Tree-trimming or working at heights have the potential for fall and struck-by hazards.
-Excavations or confined space hazards.
-Drowning during body removal from moving water or structures.
-Being run over by a vehicle or heavy equipment.
-Musculoskeletal injuries, burns and lacerations.

How do you protect yourself from becoming a victim at a disaster site?
-Use personal protective equipment.
-Assume all power lines are live.
-Use equipment like saws, ladders, portable generators correctly.
-Constantly monitor the work area for potential hazards.
-Follow proper hygiene practices.
-Pay attention and be aware of your surrounds at all times.

Further information about keeping disaster site recovery workers safe can be found on OSHA’s Web site.

If you are dealing with a work accident in the Carolinas, contact the experienced attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

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