OSHA and EPA Urge Caution During Sandy Cleanup

December 4, 2012 - Both the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are encouraging anyone engaged in flood cleanup from Hurricane Sandy to protect themselves from a range of potential flood-related hazards.

“We want to ensure that employers do not put their workers at risk, and workers and the general public are aware of the hazards involved in flood cleanup work. Taking precautions is necessary to prevent serious injury and illness or even death,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

OSHA and the EPA suggested that people separate household hazardous waste such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides from the rest of their garbage so those items can be disposed of properly. They also cautioned that people should avoid direct contact with floodwater due to potential contamination from raw sewage and other hazardous substances.

In addition, those helping with cleanup efforts must be educated on how they can protect themselves from hazards they might encounter in flooded buildings and elsewhere, the agencies said. Employers need to provide workers with training and protective equipment to safeguard them.

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