OSHA On the Ground Helping Fla. Victims

August 23, 2004

U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao announced that she has dispatched more than 30 safety and health experts from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to provide technical assistance and help ensure that the thousands of workers responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Charley in Florida remain safe.

“We now have a team of more than two dozen OSHA safety and health professionals onsite in the devastated communities whose sole mission is to help assure that no more injuries or fatalities occur during the continued cleanup and recovery process,” Chao said. “It is critically important that the thousands of men and women who are working around the clock to clean up and rebuild their communities have the proper skills, training and equipment to do their job safely. The relief efforts following Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Bonnie must not be allowed to claim another life.”

“The cleanup and restoration work under these conditions is extremely hazardous,” OSHA Administrator John Henshaw added. “Our presence has already made a difference; in one case we provided assistance which corrected a serious hazard associated with a trench at a demolition site in Punta Gorda. If this had not been addressed, this situation could have resulted in serious injury or loss of life.”

The Labor Department also released a video public service announcement (PSA) featuring Henshaw that urges workers involved in the Florida cleanup and recovery effort to remember important safety tips and to contact OSHA for more information about how to stay as safe and healthy as possible while on the job.

Henshaw has also recorded five audio public service announcements on specific hazards that workers are routinely exposed to during cleanup and restoration operations. They include: flooding, mold, falls, electrical, and chainsaws.

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