Disasters resulting from severe weather, such as the tornados that blew through Southern Illinois and other states recently, can be deadly. They can also leave people with debilitating injuries that could ultimately lead them to rely on disability benefits. Even people involved in cleanup efforts can be injured, so Chicago's OSHA office is urging people to use caution to stay safe as tornado season begins.
OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago says the company's employees have been onsite in areas affected by tornados recently to provide compliance assistance.
Here are just a few of the dangers involved in tornado cleanup that could lead to serious injuries: downed electrical wires, carbon monoxide and electrical hazards from generators, contaminated water or food, falls from tree-trimming, sharp debris, being struck by heavy cleanup equipment or machinery and the possibility of burns, laceration or musculoskeletal injuries.
Employers are responsible for the welfare of their employees and for maintaining a safe work environment under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
The regional director says that serious injuries in these situations can be avoided if workers utilize protection equipment and safe practices. "The safety and health of these cleanup crews is our chief concern," he says.
It's important for employers, along with anyone else helping with the cleanup of tornado damage, to help everyone stay safe to avoid injuries. As another twister in Michigan showed last night, tornadoes can cause massive damage that requires a lot of cleanup. Everyone survived that storm, and caution will prevent cleanup workers from suffering needless injuries.
Source: OSHA.gov, "US Labor Department's OSHA urges recovery workers, public to guard against hazards during tornado recovery efforts," March 6, 2012
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