Workers responding to a flood cleanup may be exposed to serious hazards, including electrical, fallen trees and debris, mold, and carbon monoxide. OSHA reminds employers that worker safety is a priority, and the agency has resources available to protect workers from hazards associated with flood response operations.
Generators: Use gas and diesel-powered generators outdoors to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide – a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas.
Electrical: Keep a safe distance from downed or damaged power lines. Repairs must be performed by trained electrical utility workers.
Downed Trees: Wear protective gloves, and foot, eye, hearing, head, and fall protection when using chainsaws and chippers to clear downed trees.
Chemical/Biological Hazards: Wash hands with soap and clean water, and wear protective clothing, goggles, gloves, and boots to avoid contamination.
For more information on flood hazards, visit OSHA’s Flood Preparedness and Response page. Employers can also take advantage of OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program, which offers free, confidential safety and health services to small- and mid-sized businesses. Consultations are separate from enforcement, and do not result in penalties or citations, according to OSHA.