Those first on the scene in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy may not have initially realized how dangerous what was left behind was to human health. The ocean waters flooded many areas around New York and what remains in hazardous and contaminated materials that are still being removed.
Workers are urged by OSHA over and over to ensure they are properly protected from the contaminated materials. With the left over sewage contamination that flooded residential and business buildings, just entering the premises can cause issues. Mold can become toxic and cause respiratory problems among cleanup workers.
In many ways the cleanup efforts after Sandy mimic the after effects of 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Help was sent on the scene without proper protective gear including face masks, respirators, and disposable clothing. Because they were not properly protected from the unknown, many responders became very sick and developed long-term health problems.
While the contamination is different than at Ground Zero, the results could be the same. The effects of toxic mold can bring on a number of health problems including those that are neurological. Mold is the most serious concern and all workers should be conscious of their exposure.
There are also many resources available to volunteers, full and part time workers, and day workers involved in cleanup efforts. OSHA is being proactive by having regular inspection of cleanup sites continually to ensure workers are properly trained and adequately protected against the remediation dangers including mold.
If you have taken part of cleanup efforts after Hurricane Sandy, you should discuss your situation with one of our experienced workers compensation attorneys. You can reach us toll free at 888-799-3918 or use our online contact form for more information.