Severe weather can happen in many places and take many forms, threatening the safety of our workforce. Over the past year, we’ve experienced severe weather outbreaks across the country, including intense tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and other extreme weather that has exposed workers to roof collapses, dangerous debris, and other hazards. Workers need to be protected before, during and after storms to ensure their safe return home.
This year’s National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is just about over, but Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have teamed up to address the unique hazards that severe weather poses for workers and employers.
We encourage employers to stay aware of weather forecasts, train workers on workplace severe weather plans, and keep emergency supplies, including a battery-operated weather radio, on hand to be better prepared when severe weather strikes. Employers must also ensure that workers involved in response and recovery are protected from potential safety and health hazards.
OSHA provides resources on workplace preparedness and response for severe weather emergencies, including tornadoes. For more information on protecting workers from severe weather events, visit OSHA’s Tornado Preparedness and Response page and NOAA’s Web page.
This is the first in a series of blogs on severe weather preparedness. Stay tuned for more best practices on workplace safety from OSHA and NOAA.
Mandy Edens is the director of OSHA’s Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management.