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Tornado Recovery Effort Checklist

Tornado Recovery Effort Checklist

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tornado, tornadoes
Photo by Kansas City District

Tornado Recovery Effort Checklist

Tornadoes can cause great devastation in widespread areas destroying buildings, power lines, water lines and other utilities. Recovery efforts start rapidly after the tornado has destroyed everything leaving thousands homeless and without any kind of communication. When you are selected to participate on a tornado recovery effort, special care must be given to those who will participate in the tornado recovery effort. In addition, employees may be required to assist with recovery and cleanup at their worksite. All employees must beware of the many hazards that can cause injuries or illnesses after a storm.

Tornado Recovery Effort Hazards

Tornado recovery effort hazards associated with working in tornadoes aftermath are:

  • Falls due to slippery walkable surfaces.
  • Falling objects such as utility poles.
  • Hazardous driving conditions due to blocked roadways.
  • Sharp objects such as glass or nails.
  • Downed power lines.
  • Falls from heights.
  • Leaking gas lines.
  • Sparks and fires caused by short circuits.
  • Heat and dehydration.

Tornado Recovery Effort Tips

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

  1. After the tornado has passed, inspect all the worksite before allowing employees to enter. Keep away if possible from building structures, roadways, trenches, excavations, and evaluate surfaces for stability and safety before working.
  2. Follow an established plan for emergency personnel. Prepare a list of possible key players and suppliers needed to contact and how soon should they be reached after the emergency period.
  3. Promptly report utility hazards. Be prepared to inspect and notify authorities on downed power lines, electric wires, gas pipes, or any other safety issue that could risk employees' life.
  4. Routine should not be as always. Workers should be rested frequently and provide fresh water to hydrate them.
  5. Provide PPE and promote good lifting techniques to avoid back injuries or any other injury.
  6. Install first aid kits to care for minor cuts, burns, and abrasions.
  7. After a tornado or any other natural disaster keep away from overhead and underground utilities, especially when moving high profile equipment or ladders from one site to another.
  8. Follow the fire evacuation route and keep the route free of obstacles in case of an emergency.
  9. Identify clearly and with visible signs the area assigned for debris collection. Provide when possible a separate area for hazardous material and recycling areas.
  10. Install as many warning signs as possible. Prepare a MOT plan to protect workers from vehicular traffic. Assign workers to control traffic and to warn other workers from possible unsafe situations.
  11. Use flagger, traffic cones, signaling devices, and if possible re-route vehicle traffic when working near or along the roadway.
  12. Instruct all workers on a traffic plan, and train workers to keep away from moving equipment.
  13. Provide training to employees to never position themselves between mechanical equipment, blind spots and a fixed object.
  14. Provide safety reflective vests to all workers, and if possible use a distinctive hard hat to identify your crew from other contractors.
  15. Test all motorized equipment for back-up alarms, so workers could be aware of moving equipment near them.
  16. Radio equipment is the best way to communicate after a tornado. Remember that most utilities will be out immediately after the tornado has struck.
  17. Do not try to overcome flooded roads or moving waters. Water flowing from rivers and creeks could tip-over your equipment, even when the water level is only two feet high.
  18. Keep workers away from debris piles. You don't know what could be below those piles that might harm your workers.
  19. Recognize, report, and avoid hazardous chemicals.
  20. Be aware of possible biological hazards.
  21. Assume all wires and power lines are energized!
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