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Bad Working Conditions Continue for Hurricane Sandy Cleanup Workers

News reports continue to filter in about the terrible working conditions being presented to cleanup workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Day workers are especially being affected by the hazardous working conditions.

Day workers are those selected from the crowds of hopefuls waiting to be chosen for work on a day to day basis. These workers are being hired to assist in continued cleanup efforts in the badly impacted Rockaways, Red Hook, and Coney Island where sewage and petroleum fuels mixed with flood waters and entered the basement areas of residential structures.

Day workers are charged with removing the sludge and mold in the basement areas using chemicals and disinfectants. The problem is the use of hazardous chemicals in already dangerous conditions without being giving proper equipment to protect the health of workers. Those who have been chosen to work in the area claim they trudging through slime and waste water in only their sneakers. Employers are not keeping up with the boot coverings, respirators, and disposable body suits OSHA recommends that all workers have.

Because many workers are desperate for the income, they continue to work in these conditions. These harmful cleaning chemicals being used are reported by workers because it burns the eyes and throats. There is little ventilation in the areas they are working. Workers usually have access to rubber gloves but are using rags to wipe down the basement surfaces.

Proper training is also lacking for day workers who report they are briefed for a few minutes before being sent out to work. Many have no idea the kind of dangers they are facing on the job. Those who are inside the basement areas report they have had to throw away their own clothing because they could no longer stand the chemical smells adhering to them since they lacked suits and respirators.

If you are working in the hard-hit areas of New York and feel you have been affected by the chemicals and residuals of the storm, protect your rights to workers compensation by consulting with our office. Call us toll free at 888-799-3918 or through our online contact form.

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