November 14, 2012
By Stephanie West
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), has stated concerns that workers involved in cleanup and recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy be provided proper protective equipment, and that all federal laws governing worker safety be enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Nadler cited the catastrophic experience of 9/11 responders and laborers who were not afforded proper protection, directly resulting in a monumental health crisis affecting tens of thousands of Ground Zero responders, workers and survivors.
Congressman Nadler issued the following statement:
“We must not compound the devastation of Hurricane Sandy by subjecting recovery and cleanup workers to unnecessary hazards and risks. OSHA has a critical role to play in safeguarding the health and safety of workers, and that agency must be provided all the latitude it needs to enforce the law and oversee cleanup efforts in affected areas. To argue, as some business interests now have, that OSHA should take a back seat during the cleanup process is reckless and risks repeating the appalling mistakes that followed 9/11. If we are to avoid yet another avoidable health crisis, OSHA must now uphold its responsibility to ensure that all cleanup workers are outfitted with proper protective equipment, and that all contractors comply with federal safety and respiratory protection laws.
The federal government failed to protect first responders, workers and community members in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, and now many thousands are sick or deceased as a direct result. So much of that tragedy was preventable, and we must not repeat the same mistakes now.”