Staying Safe In Flood Debris Removal

As the U.S. enters the hurricane season, many people begin to volunteer their time trying to make a difference and help their community. It is important as cleanup efforts are underway across the U.S., the employers and workers stop and evaluate a flood situation before debris removal begins. By taking this time and having one conversation with your team, you can prevent further accidents & incidents and keep everyone safe.

OSHA has issued the following steps as a protocol when working in a flood area.

  • Conduct pre-incident disaster response planning and ensure that emergency workers know the plan.
  • Assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present or are likely to be present.
  • Provide protective equipment to prevent slips, trips and falls including:
    • Foot Protection (e.g., steel toe work boots)
    • Heavy Duty Gloves
    • Head protection
    • Personal fall protection
    • Long pants
    • Shirts with 4’’ sleeves
  • Train workers to identify hazards, including those that require protective equipment, and how to prevent accidents & incidents
  • Be on the lookout for dangerous animals. It’s very common for hurricanes to displace wildlife. This includes: snakes, insects, rodents, and alligators.

Here are some other ways to prevent slips, trips and falls.

  • Where possible, avoid walking on wet/slippery surfaces; wipe off the bottom of wet footwear
  • Use flashlights or helmet lights to stay clear of holes or floor openings, wet or slippery surfaces, and debris or equipment
  • Do not step on any surface until you have visually inspected it to ensure there are no holes or weak spots and that it can support workers and their equipment
  • Never carry equipment or loads in your hands when climbing ladders
  • Wear backpacks and tool belts to hold equipment and keep both hands free
  • Use fall protection when walking or performing emergency response activities near unprotected edges of elevated surfaces
  • Use communication devices, particularly hands-free devices, for contacting employers/incident commanders and other workers about slip, trip and fall hazards

HB NEXT is here to keep your workers safe and provide training and consulting in flood situations. Flooding due to hurricanes is not typically an item included in a company’s safety manual. Therefore, companies do not typically train their workers on how to recognize and prevent these hazards. Your jobsites might get flooded, and you need to take proper action to prevent accidents and incidents. Ask HB NEXT for assistance as you try to keep your company compliant. Contact HB NEXT today if you need any help. Please be safe this hurricane season.

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