How to Keep Your Employees Safe During Flood Cleanup
August 1, 2017
A natural disaster like a hurricane can cause widespread damage to area businesses and homes. The cleanup process following a flood can take weeks or even months. These recovery efforts pose health hazards that can lead to serious injury or even death. Being aware of these hazards can help you protect your employees as they remain actively engaged in the cleanup process.
Possible Hazards from Floodwaters
Floodwaters following a hurricane can create several serious health hazards for employees. These hazards include:
- Bacteria that can lead to illness
- Toxic waste from nearby industrial plants
- Mold and fungal growth
- Downed power lines and wet electrical components
- Dangling tree limbs
- Exposure to asbestos or lead-based paint due to deterioration in flood waters
This is not an exhaustive list of the dangers your employees might face. It’s essential to take steps to protect their health and safety.
What You Can Do
As your employees participate in cleanup efforts, take a few simple steps to protect their safety:
- Don’t let anyone in until you know it’s safe. Make sure the structural integrity of your building is intact before anyone sets foot inside.
- Assume that all floodwater is contaminated. Make sure your employees wear waterproof boots and clothing to prevent illness.
- Ventilate all enclosed areas. If you have electricity to your building and your wiring is dry, set up fans and dehumidifiers to ventilate the area. Open all available windows.
- Check their immunizations. Make sure your employees are up to date on their tetanus shots before beginning cleanup, and send people for immunizations if necessary.
- Take frequent breaks. Despite ventilation, the air still might become contaminated from floodwaters. Encourage periodic rest breaks for safety reasons.
Cleaning up after a flood is essential, but safety comes first. Take these steps to help protect your employees from harm.
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