Flood Safety in Texas

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This summer, after several years of severe drought, Texas experienced an exceptional amount of rainfall. Houston was hit with about 28 inches of rain while some homeowners in Wichita Falls were forced to evacuate their homes.

All of this rain caused flooding in many parts of the state and the death toll from this deluge was 20. As the rain slows down and the state begins to recover, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urged employers and workers to be aware of possible hazards during cleanup.
OSHA particularly emphasized the dangers of businesses that store hazardous chemicals. Because many skin care professionals work with dangerous and potent chemicals, those that are in the flooding zone should be aware of the possible risks involved with the cleanup of their workplace. A United States Department of Labor News Release states, “Workplaces may have … dangers, in addition to many other serious safety threats, including chemical exposure. Employers should evaluate chemical workplace hazards and create a chemical inventory.” Skin care professionals and spa owners should be aware of damaged structures, especially if they work in converted residential homes. These damaged structures may be at risk for collapse and the inception of mold may have already begun.
If skin care professionals find themselves involved in a flood cleanup, or any other natural disaster cleanup, they should wear protective gear, including hard hats, safety glasses, reflective vests, gloves, and steel-toed work boots. Staying dry in a wet environment is also imperative, and that can be achieved through the use of waterproof gloves and boots. In a situation where dust and mold might exist, it is essential to breathe safely and use respiratory protection. Avoid dangerous falls and use fall protection when higher than six feet from the ground. In order to stop the spread of contaminants and disease, proper hygiene is highly recommended, especially regular hand-washing.

OSHA urges employers, workers, homeowners and others to protect themselves during flood cleanup. (2015, June 3).

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