The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued back to back Press Release regarding those affected by recent hurricanes in Texas and Louisiana.
Released on October 10, 2017, OSHA noted, the ceased programmed
enforcement following Hurricane Harvey resumed normal enforcement throughout Texas and Louisiana.
Following Hurricane Harvey, OSHA provided compliance assistance and outreach to employers and workers in many counties and parishes in Texas and Louisiana. This action enabled OSHA’s staff to provide faster and flexible responses to hazards facing workers involved in the cleanup and recovery operations. Thousands of crews and individual workers received job safety and health technical assistance.
OSHA retained the right to inspection cases involving fatalities, catastrophic accidents, employee complaints, and employers who repeatedly exposed employees to serious hazards during cleanup and recovery operations.
“We are now able to resume regular enforcement operations in most of the impacted areas,” said OSHA’s Region VI Administrator Kelly Knighton. “For those areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, we will continue to provide employers and workers with compliance assistance and outreach. We will be monitoring these areas closely, and as they transition from cleanup and recovery to normal operations so will OSHA’s enforcement.”
Employers and employees working in these areas may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit osha.gov for on-site assistance.
OSHA also issued a press release October 12 concerning their partnership with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) to organized and distribute protective equipment and other resources to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. OSHA offices in Houston and Corpus Christi will work with the ASSE Region III leadership to coordinate donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and distribute information on safety and health issues during recovery efforts.
“Our joint resources are aimed at helping businesses, especially small business employers, protect workers as they go back to work, especially in hurricane recovery and rebuilding efforts,” said OSHA’s South Houston Area Director Mark Briggs.
OSHA staff is distributing PPE to area businesses and recovery workers as part of their effort to provide support to the many companies and contractors involved in cleanup and recovery. ASSE members are also distributing donations to the community to aid in the cleanup of residential locations.
“After Hurricane Harvey, we want the employers and the community at-large to have resources to assist them now and in the future if necessary,” said ASSE Region III Vice President Steven Gray. “Safety, health, and environmental professionals all along the Gulf Coast are urging businesses to plan now for any type of contingency situation that could occur – especially when people and communities are at risk.”
To prepare for crisis situations, OSHA and ASSE urge everyone to integrate emergency preparedness and recovery plans into personal and business efforts to recover from natural disasters and emergencies. Information on specific home and business safety plans can be found on the ASSE Region III website and on OSHA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response page.