Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify safety hazards likely to be encountered during post‐disaster recovery and reconstruction, identify barriers to effective safety training and hazard mitigation, and provide actionable guidance on methods to safely avoid and abate such hazards. Design/methodology/approach – Surveys were administered to 400 participants at 13 training sites to evaluate safety practices among reconstruction contractors and workers. Findings – A comparison of survey results to hazards likely to cause injuries and fatalities during post‐disaster reconstruction indicates that little effort is made to assess workers' physical condition or immunization records prior to deployment. Furthermore, data suggest that workers lack safety training in reconstruction‐specific hazards such as electrocution, falls, chemical and biological hazards (e.g. contaminated flood water), and equipment hazards (aerial lifts, ladders, electric equipment, generators, etc.). Findings also indicate that training effectiveness is further compromised by limited language and literacy skills of workers, high turnover of workers, and insufficient resources for adequate safety training frequency and duration, especially among smaller contractors (<100 workers). Originality/value – The paper is based on original research funded by the US Government following Hurricane Katrina and is intended to aid in the development of targeted training to reduce worker injuries and fatalities during post‐disaster reconstruction.
International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2010
Keywords: Natural disasters; Hazards; Safety training; Employees
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