As the post-Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts carry on long after the storm took a major toll on New York, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas, workers involved in rehabbing the areas are still being subjected to health hazards and other risks due to the lack of safety rule enforcement.
The areas affected by the super-storm are still very dangerous and many cleanup workers and volunteers are still exposed to conditions that lead to injuries and even have proven fatal. A lack of attention to safety protocol, including the requirement for wearing personal protective gear has led to various incidents and accidents in the recovery zone.
Federal inspections have resulted in the removal of nearly 8,000 workers from dangerous conditions. An estimated 3,100 instances of unsafe working conditions have been documented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA’s records reveal many instances of workers ignoring safety regulations and protocol even after being identified and issued a warning.
While OSHA has indicated that many workers were put at risk in unsafe working conditions, very little violations were handed out. Only 32 cases were issued violations and fines. Most situations only amounted to an OSHA warning to contractors and crews with no further action being taken by the federal agency.