OSHA mobilizes to respond to Hurricane Katrina aftermath

As part of the U.S. Department of Labor's response to Hurricane Katrina, OSHA has deployed safety and health professionals to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to provide technical assistance to recovery workers in their ongoing efforts along the Gulf Coast of the United States. OSHA has teams of professionals in the devastated regions to help ensure that the restoration of power and telecomm...


As part of the U.S. Department of Labor's response to Hurricane Katrina, OSHA has deployed safety and health professionals to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to provide technical assistance to recovery workers in their ongoing efforts along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

OSHA has teams of professionals in the devastated regions to help ensure that the restoration of power and telecommunications facilities and infrastructures are completed safely. The agency has been contacting major power companies in the affected areas to provide safety briefings to employees at power restoration staging areas. OSHA's teams are also focusing on safety and health issues for workers involved in debris removal and a variety of construction projects. And, OSHA is augmenting its regional headquarters in Dallas and Atlanta with more safety and health experts who will provide technical assistance to assure the safety of the thousands of workers who will be onsite throughout the Gulf Coast over the coming months.

Finally, OSHA implemented, for the first time, its National Emergency Management Plan that provides a structured management plan and organization for the agency's response activities during the crisis.

OSHA enforcement programs

Enhanced Enforcement Program

The Enhanced Enforcement Program is the agency's latest program focusing on employers who, despite OSHA's enforcement and outreach efforts, ignore their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations, thereby placing their employees at risk.

An inspection becomes an EEP case if it meets at least one of the following criteria for inspections opened Oct. 1, 2003:

  1. A fatality inspection in which there is at least one high gravity serious violation or (a high gravity serious violation that is also classified as willful or repeated) related to the death

  2. An inspection that results in three or more high gravity serious violations that are also classified as willful or repeated

  3. An inspection that results in two or more failure-to-abate penalty notices where the underlying violations were classified as high gravity serious.

    1. This new program has a five-prong approach for EEP cases:

      1. Enhanced follow-up inspections

      2. Targeted inspections for other worksites of the employer

      3. Increased company/corporate awareness of OSHA enforcement (at a minimum the company headquarters will be sent copies of the citations)

      4. Enhanced settlement provisions

      5. Federal court enforcement under Section 11(b) of the OSH Act

        1. As of Aug. 31, 2005, there have been 813 EEP cases, 143 follow-up inspections and 43 related worksite inspections. Of the 813 EEP cases, 725 (89%) have been fatalities. Approximately 51% of the EEP cases are in construction.

          Local Emphasis Programs

          Local Emphasis Programs are strategies developed by an OSHA area or regional office to address a particular safety or health concern of specific local or regional interest. These safety or health concerns are identified either through injury and illness experience at the local level, or knowledge of specific local industries and their hazards.

          To learn more about LEPs, including a list of LEPs by region, visit OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/dep/local_emphasis_programs.html

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