May 3, 2021

OSHA reminds storm recovery workers, volunteers to take safety precautions 
as rain, danger of flash floods continue in Southwestern Missouri

KANSAS CITY, MO – Amid heavy rain and widespread flooding in southwestern Missouri, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges workers and the public at large to avoid hazards they may encounter and learn how to protect themselves as they begin clean-up activities.

“Workers and volunteers may be exposed to dangers such as drowning, electrocution, chemical exposures, struck-by, caught-in objects and other hazards, including exposure to the coronavirus,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City, Missouri. “With rain in the forecast in the week ahead, workers and residents should be on alert to protect themselves from flash floods as rivers are already swollen.”

Clean-up work may involve restoring electricity, communications, water and sewer services; completing demolition; entering flooded areas and removing floodwater from structures; removing debris; trimming trees; repairing structures, roadways and bridges; using cranes, aerial lifts and other heavy equipment; responding to emergencies and working amid hazardous waste; and repairing dams and levees. These kinds of activities present specific hazards, including the following:

Protective measures should involve:

OSHA maintains a comprehensive website on keeping disaster site workers safe during clean-up and recovery operations. It contains fact sheets, concise “quick cards,” frequently asked questions, safety and health guides and information, public service announcements in English and Spanish, and links to information from other sources.

In March 2021, OSHA launched a national emphasis program to combat work-related coronavirus exposures. Read about feasible and acceptable means of abatement for this hazard and OSHA’s COVID-19 information and resources.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.

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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-4727,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-4807,

Release Number: 21-819-KAN

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at The department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).