Storm cleanup requires worker protection
Dec 1, 2008 9:50 AM
With the United States having suffered through several hurricanes in the past few years, cleanup for facilities damaged in the storms' wake requires protection for those workers.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds companies that for most work in flooded areas, workers will need hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank).
However, the CDC points out that exposure to flood waters does not increase the risk of tetanus, and tetanus immunization campaigns are not needed. While documentation of vaccination is preferred, it should not be a pre-requisite for work. During flood cleanup, the risk of wounds may be increased. For this reason, cleanup workers should be sure that they are up-to-date with tetanus vaccination, ideally before starting cleanup activities. Adults need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. Being up-to-date for tetanus vaccine can greatly simplify the treatment for any wound that might occur.
In addition, first aid, even for minor cuts and burns, is very important during flood cleanup. Immediately clean all wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Talk to a doctor or other health professional on the scene to find out if more treatment is required.
Excessive noise from equipment such as chain saws, backhoes, tractors, pavement breakers, blowers, and dryers may cause ringing in the ears and subsequent hearing damage. If employees must shout over noise to be heard, they should wear earplugs or other hearing protection devices, according to the CDC information.
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