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Disaster Preparedness

How to Clean Up After a Tsunami

When authorities say it’s safe to return to work, take these steps to protect yourself and your team during clean-up.  

Evaluate your worksite. 

Before you get back to work, watch for safety and health hazards. Following a tsunami, these include:  

  • Electrical hazards
  • Noise
  • Cut or laceration hazards
  • Extreme heat
  • Fall
  • Hazardous or infectious substances

Learn more about how to stay safe at work following a tsunami on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

When you see a hazard, address it before continuing to work. 

  • Eliminate the problem wherever possible. For example, you should remove a fallen power line before working on anything else in the area.
  • Get ahead of equipment-related injuries: You can do this by guarding the
    “pinch points” on a piece of heavy equipment, or making sure the cab is temperature-controlled.
  • Make sure your team is well-rested: Decrease the chances they’ll make a mistake on the job by giving them frequent breaks and making sure they’re getting the rest they need.
  • Work in the daylight. This is especially true for high-hazard or unfamiliar tasks. 
  • Keep the workspace clean. Decontaminate equipment or personnel if they come into contact with contaminated water or chemicals. 
  • Use the right personal protective equipment (PPE). Use PPE that’s appropriate for the task your team is working on. See more about how to select and use PPE here. 

These guidelines are not exhaustive. Learn more about job hazard analysis from OSHA here. 

Ensure your employees practice basic sanitation on the job. 

You can reduce the risk of hazards and contaminants by employing basic safety, sanitation and good housekeeping practices. These include:

  • Drinking safe water.
  • Washing hands before eating, drinking, smoking or after using the restroom. Use hand sanitizer if potable water isn’t available.
  • Not eating or drinking anything exposed to floodwaters, and not eating or drinking in an area that contains debris, floodwater or sludge.
  • Using bug repellent. 
  • Promptly dealing with cuts and scrapes. 

See the full list of OSHA’s recommended work practices here. 

Make sure your team brings the right personal gear. 

In addition to PPE, employees should have gear that’s appropriate for the environment: 

  • Changes of clothing that fit the weather, location and assignment
  • Toiletries
  • A flashlight with spare batteries
  • Sunscreen
  • A hat for sun and rain
  • An extra pair of glasses or contacts, as well as sunglasses

Talk to a medical professional if needed. 

In a flood-related natural disaster, OSHA recommends evaluating the work your team will do. Then you can consult with a health care professional, who will:

  • Determine whether medical exams are needed
  • Conduct any necessary tests
  • Perform vaccinations, if required

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