Storm Cleanup: Don’t Forget About Work Boots

The destructive winds of Hurricane Irene have taken their toll on many businesses, government buildings and homes. Lives were altered and lost to the natural disaster. Almost immediately following the storm, people on the East Coast set to cleaning up after it.

There are a number of precautions but one of the most important items to remember during this type of cleanup is protective gear, such as work boots. Your best bet is to go with a sturdy pair that has a reinforced toe.

While OSHA spotlights steel toe boots, a composite toe can withstand even more impact. Open-toed shoes should absolutely never be worn. Also, try to stick to rubber soles, especially when working near felled power lines or other electrical sources. This particular type of sole reduces the risk of electric shock. You know, because rubber has a very high-resistance to electricity (not easily conducted).

If working in water contaminated with mold (basically all floodwater), you may want to use pullover rubber boots or overshoes that can be washed. Disposable shoe covers are another option for those working in flooded areas.

Other protective gear measures include:

  • Wearing long pants, socks, long sleeves
  • Eye protection (goggles, safety glasses)
  • Ear protection
  • Heavy work gloves are a must
  • Use kneepads if installing or tearing out flooring

For a full checklist, view OSHA’s page.

What precautions do you think are the most important during disaster cleanups?

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