OSHA Disaster Recovery Safety Checklist

Disaster recovery checklist from OSHA for community-based organizations to ensure the safety of those who participate in disaster recovery activities.​

OSHA Disaster Recovery Safety Checklist



Heat Stress

1. Are frequent short breaks taken in cool shade when working in hot, humid conditions?


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2. Is water consumed in small amounts frequently such as one cup every 15-20 minutes to replace fluid loss from sweating?


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3. Is sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 used?


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4. Is lightweight, light-colored clothing worn when possible, along with a hat and UV-absorbent sunglasses?


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5. Is alcohol avoided, and are caffeinated drinks and heavy meals abstained from?


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6. Are the signs of heat-related illness recognized, and do individuals know what actions to take?


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Insects And Animals

1. Is an assessment conducted of the animals/insects/reptiles common to the area, and are necessary precautions taken to protect against injury?


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2. Are snakes watched for, especially in debris, and are heavy gloves worn while being cautious about hand and foot placement?


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3. Are insect repellants containing DEET or Picaridin used, and are they reapplied as necessary?


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4. Is exposed skin covered when possible to avoid insect bites?


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5. Are individuals inspected for ticks at the end of each work shift?


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6. Is contact with and attempts to restrain wild or stray animals avoided?


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7. Are insect and animal bites reported to the supervisor since medical attention may be necessary?


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Chemical Use/Exposure

1. Is exposure to chemicals avoided, and are unknown chemicals not handled?


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2. Are the hazards of known chemicals understood, and is exposure avoided?


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3. Is appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) used, such as gloves, eye/face protection, and aprons, if in contact with chemicals?


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4. Is a proper eye wash and/or shower available and ensured if contact with corrosives is possible?


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5. Is a proper eye wash and/or shower available and ensured if contact with corrosives is possible?


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Personnel Preparedness

1. Should individuals have a current tetanus vaccination before participating in disaster recovery or rehabilitation activities?


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2. Do individuals participating in manual labor for disaster recovery or rehabilitation activities need to have no preexisting health conditions that may affect their ability to perform such work?


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3. Should individuals limit their exposure to dusty conditions during demolition activities, considering that respiratory hazards in dusty conditions could include asbestos, lead, and silica, with homes and structures built before 1982 being presumed to contain asbestos?


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4. Are personnel provided with a complete respiratory protection program as required by OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134; 29 CFR 1926.103) if exposure to conditions that necessitate the use of respirators is unavoidable?


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Voluntary And Community-Based Organizations Requirements

1. Has a hazard assessment been conducted at work sites to determine the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and the need for workers qualified to work with specific hazards like electrical and structural?


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2. Are work teams provided with the necessary personal protective equipment, including gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, high-visibility work vests/clothing, and hearing protection to protect them while on the job? Are snake-bite-proof or resistant boots provided to teams working in areas that may contain poisonous snakes?


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3. Are first-aid kits and fire extinguishers provided to their work teams?


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4. Is a responsible and knowledgeable team leader provided to supervise work teams at all times?


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5. Is there a working telephone or cellular phone on the worksite along with a list of emergency contact numbers? Does the team leader call into a central base at designated times during the day to report on conditions at the site?


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6. Are work teams provided with maps or GPS systems of their work area to enable them to give their location to firefighters, police, and first responders in the event of an emergency?


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7. Is a competent person assigned to evaluate the structural stability of buildings when access is necessary? Is this competent person capable of recognizing existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions and authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them?


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8. Is a competent person responsible for inspecting the work site to locate overhead and downed power lines, with the aim of preventing electrocutions when removing tree branches and other debris?


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9. Are work teams trained to work safely in proximity to power lines, and are they trained on the necessary precautions when erecting scaffolding and raising or lowering ladders?


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10. Is the operation of dangerous equipment limited to adults?


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11. Is there a cleanup area at worksites with soap and water available for handwashing? Is there a waterless alcohol-based hand rub provided if water is not available for handwashing?


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12. Are work teams provided with drinking water, and are toilet facilities available to them?


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Work Teams Training

1. Is being cautious recommended when walking over debris fields due to the potential reduction in the stability of structures and walkways caused by high winds and flooding?


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2. Is it advised to wear long pants, socks, long sleeves, and heavy work gloves when cleaning up debris?


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3. Are sturdy work boots (preferably steel-toed; no open-toe shoes) at all times?


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4. Do individuals wear rubber boots or overshoes that can be washed or decontaminated or use disposable shoe covers when working in an area contaminated with mold or floodwater?


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5. Are knee pads used when installing flooring?


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6. Are teams of two or more persons used to move large, bulky, or heavy objects?


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7. Are carts and dollies used to move heavy objects whenever possible?


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8. Is it ensured to refrain from entering damaged structures unless evaluated by a competent person and deemed safe to enter?


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Electrical And Gas Hazards

1. Is caution taken and are all electrical lines, wires, equipment, and fixtures treated as if they are energized until proven otherwise?


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2. Is electricity turned off before starting demolition activities?


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3. Is a lockout/tagout system used to reduce the risk of electrocution when installing electrical wiring and fixtures? Is a qualified electrician used for electrical installation?


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4. Is the gas turned off before conducting demolition activities?


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5. Are buildings immediately evacuated if a gas leak or odor is detected, and is the site supervisor or team leader notified?


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Respiratory Hazards

1. Are gasoline, propane, and diesel-powered equipment (such as portable generators, power washers, compressors, and pumps) operated only in well-ventilated outdoor areas to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide gas?


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2. Is drywall torn off and removed in pieces as large as possible to limit the amount of airborne drywall dust?


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3. Are NIOSH-approved disposable filtering facepiece respirators (dust masks) used as needed in tasks that generate dust?


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4. Is water spray or mist used to suppress dust generation and reduce the amount of airborne particulate matter, especially during operations that may create a lot of dust?


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5. Do individuals stay upwind of or away from dust-generating activities, particularly those involving crystalline silica-containing materials like concrete, brick, tile, drywall, mortar, sand, or stone?


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6. Are building materials such as painted surfaces and pipes that may contain lead identified? Are special equipment or methods used to decrease lead dust generation, such as local exhaust ventilation, dust collection systems (on power tools), and good housekeeping practices?


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7. If an area is known or suspected to contain asbestos, is an assessment done by a competent individual before entering the area? If asbestos is present, is work postponed until it is removed or contained?


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8. Is the supervisor notified immediately if asbestos is identified at the site, and is work stopped until it has been removed or contained


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9. Is it refrained from conducting demolition operations in areas with extensive mold buildup recommended?


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Personal Decontamination

1. Do individuals always wash their hands with soap and water before eating, drinking, smoking, or applying lip balm, or cosmetics to prevent contamination of their mouth, nose, or eyes with hazardous materials or infectious agents? Do they use a waterless alcohol-based hand cleaner if water is not available?


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2. Do individuals shower and change into clean clothes at the end of each workday?


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3. Do individuals separate work clothes from their general laundry to prevent exposing family members to hazardous materials and infectious agents?


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Power Tools

1. Are electric cords and equipment inspected to ensure they are in good condition and free of defects, especially when working in damp or wet conditions?


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2. Is the operation of safety features verified before using power tools?


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3. Do individuals know how to properly operate each power tool they use?


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4. Is the guarding on power tools in good working order and always used?


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5. Are all extension cords inspected, and are those that are damaged, cut, or have exposed wiring and inner insulation removed from service?


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6. Is a dry board or platform set down when using power tools in muddy or wet conditions?


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7. Are ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) or double-insulated power tools used, and are they approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL)?


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8. Are cords organized when using power tools, and is the work area adequately lighted to reduce the risk of trip hazards?


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9. Is loose-fitting or baggy clothing avoided when using power tools?


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10. Is electrical equipment never operated while standing in water?


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Motor Vehicles

1. Are vehicles inspected before use, and are they functioning safely?


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2. Are spotters used to assist drivers in backing up vehicles with obstructed rear views?


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3. Are seat belts used in all vehicles and all seats?


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4. Is machinery not operated unless authorized and after receiving specific training?


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5. Is machinery not driven or operated when fatigued?


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6. Is working behind vehicles prohibited?


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Noise

1. Is hearing protection used when noise levels exceed 85 decibels, and is it ensured that if a normal conversation cannot be held at arm's length due to noise, hearing protection is worn?


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2. Is noise level reduced by operating motorized equipment, such as generators, behind a barrier while maintaining adequate ventilation?


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Roofing And Working From Heights

1. Are shoes with nonslip rubber soles and adequate tread worn?


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2. Are fall protection systems like guardrails, safety nets, or fall arrest systems used as needed?


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3. Are areas of structural weakness identified and marked?


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4. Are tools and materials kept organized to avoid trip hazards?


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5. Is work on a roof avoided during windy or rainy weather due to increased slip/fall risks?


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6. Is work on a roof avoided during lightning?


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7. Are ladders inspected for defects before use?


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8. Are ladders placed on stable ground and secured to the side of the building?


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9. Is the center of gravity kept at the center of the ladder without leaning or reaching to the sides?


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10. Is standing on the top two rungs of a ladder avoided?


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11. Are ladders ensured to be non-conductive?


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Checklist by GoAudits.com – Please note that this checklist is intended as an example. We do not guarantee compliance with the laws applicable to your territory or industry. You should seek professional advice to determine how this checklist should be adapted to your workplace or jurisdiction.

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