Heeding the hazards

The devastating wildfires in California have prompted that state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to post materials that provide guidance for employers and workers on working safely during fire cleanup. The agency says hazards remain after fires have been extinguished and cleanup begins. Employers performing cleanup and other work in areas damaged or destroyed by fire are required to identify and evaluate these hazards, correct any unsafe or unhealthy conditions and provide training to employees.

The potential hazards and how to address them can be found at: www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/wildfire/Worker-Health-and-Safety-During-Fire-Cleanup.html.

Minding mold

Waste and remediation workers in hurricane-affected areas should heed the following engineering controls to minimize exposure to mold:

  • Rewet materials with a mist of water to reduce spores, dust and debris being released into the air.
  • Use wet vacuums to remove water from floors and blowers to dry them.
  • Double bag materials contaminated with mold in plastic bags or plastic sheeting and secure with duct tape to reduce the spread of spores.
  • Provide natural (open windows) or exhaust ventilation (fans blowing to the outside) during all cleaning steps.
  • Ensure electrical safety when working in wet conditions.

More tips on safely handling mold are available at http://bit.ly/2gA1LCH.

Tip of the trade

In its “Best Operational Practices for Material Recovery Facilities and Recycling Drop-off Sites,” The Illinois Recycling Association provides a list of considerations, principles and practices. Among them is a recommendation for on-site traffic. It states the “on-site roadway system should minimize the number of traffic intersections and merges. To the extent possible keep personal vehicle traffic, material delivery traffic and tractor-trailer traffic separate.” The potential benefits, it says, are that it “efficiently moves traffic on- and off-site and will add to safety of site personnel, customers and visitors.

(Source: www.illinoisrecycles.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/IRA_BOPM_2010.pdf)

Did you know?

Conveyors are the primary cause of more than 50 workplace fatalities per year.