In areas already posing a danger to cleanup workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, additional storms and winter weather may be creating a more serious, more dangerous working environment.
Cleanup crews already face dangerous chemicals, mold, and working conditions as they try to bring back the communities and the jobs hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Adding cold wind, snow, and ice to the mix makes it even more difficult to continue with recovery efforts.
It is important for all workers who are working outside to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. It is not uncommon for exposed skin to become frostbitten in the cold, windy temperatures that have finally come to the East Coast. It is important to have the proper protective equipment on while working but you must also ensure your face, hands, and feet are protected from the cold temperatures when working outdoors.
Icy conditions also present a hazard to those operating heavy equipment in the remediation efforts of the cleanup. Drivers and pedestrians alike may be facing slippery road conditions on the job, especially first thing in the morning. Overnight temperatures have been below the freezing point so many surfaces are slick and can cause workers to slip and fall or lose control of their equipment and vehicles.
While small in comparison to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, winter weather conditions can make an unsafe work environment even more dangerous. Outdoor work areas should be free from ice and all workers should be wearing the proper winter clothing in addition to their protective gear. Proper footwear will also be necessary for cleanup conditions as well as the weather. Keeping feet dry and warm is essential to warding off frostbite.