The extensive destruction caused by hurricanes along the Gulf Coast concentrated a great deal of attention on natural disaster response and recovery operations. Although recent activities have focused primarily on hurricanes, many response and recovery issues apply to other natural disasters as well. Since disaster recovery efforts put responders at risk for developing illnesses and injuries, one of these issues is to ensure the safety and health of those who participate in disaster recovery activities.

The efforts of voluntary and community-based organizations are crucial to the recovery and rebuilding process following natural disasters. It is important for these organizations to promote the health and safety of their work teams. The purpose of this document is to provide voluntary and community-based organizations with a checklist outlining some of the hazards frequently encountered during disaster response and recovery operations. Since this checklist cannot include every possible hazard, each organization should utilize the checklist as a guideline and incorporate the specific hazards of their work sites, as well as the hazards that may be due to climate conditions and the environment. All work activities should be conducted under the direction of a competent person trained in workplace safety and health who can recognize hazards, act to minimize or eliminate them, and provide instruction to the work teams.

The checklist is accompanied by a list of resources to aid these organizations in planning disaster recovery training programs. These resources may also be used by teams in the field to access additional information on many of the hazards associated with demolition and construction operations after natural disasters.Click here for more information