In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that pounded the East Coast, cleanup efforts are still ongoing and OSHA has recently issued a reminder about the dangerous effects of mold on workers during the cleaning process.
Due to the large amount of water flooding various areas during and after the flood, mold exposure is a big concern for cleanup crews. Encountering mold on building materials, in carpeting, and personal belongings soaked in the floods will be common and in order to safely remediate affected areas, workers must understand the hazards mold poses.
OSHA released a Mold Safety Fact Sheet for workers to understand better the potential hazards to one’s health and how to prevent contamination while cleaning flooded areas. Personal protective equipment will be necessary to protect workers from breathing in mold and contamination during the remediation and cleanup process.
OSHA administrators stress that even with the fact sheet information, employers still have an obligation to provide workers with the equipment, safeguards, and training to work safely around mold and other hazards hurricane cleanup involves. OSHA has also said crews are working with employers to ensure proper training and avoidance of hazards on the job.
As for OSHA’s work, the agency has been working daily to provide outreach services and briefings for those in the field. The agency has been very proactive about protecting workers from Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts and providing appropriate training for workers. OSHA’s work in the field has been reaching over 50,000 cleanup workers that are still working in Sandy-affected regions of the East Coast.