NIOSH Develops Guidance for Hurricane Response and Recovery Workers, Volunteers

Published November 8, 2017

​NIOSH recently published a document containing “key messages” intended to help employers and others protect the health and safety of workers and volunteers participating in the response to and recovery from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The guidance is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, and includes information about working safely and avoiding hazards related to hurricane response and recovery such as carbon monoxide, mold, and heat stress. The document also describes how recovery workers can avoid electrocution hazards while cleaning up and restoring power to flooded residences, and contains details about NIOSH recommendations related to chemical safety, emergency responder health monitoring and surveillance, fall prevention, respirator selection and use, and work hours and fatigue. The “CDC Hurricane 2017 Key Messages” documents are available as PDFs on the agency’s webpage on hurricanes and tropical storms.

An AIHA guidance document published earlier this year provides consumers and industrial hygienists with related information, including a list of resources for addressing potential hazards during and after floods, earthquakes, tornados, and wildfires. "Health and Safety Issues in Natural Disasters" (PDF) is intended to enable recovery efforts while minimizing potential exposures to hazardous materials and conditions. AIHA’s new Disaster Response Resource Center may also be helpful during emergency response, recovery, and remediation efforts.