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Workers’ compensation: Hazards of flood cleanup projects

| Oct 24, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Along with many other hazards brought about by hurricanes and floods, North Carolina workers who are involved in cleanup work after floods will face many dangers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says knowledge of potential hazards, appropriate personal protective equipment and safe work practices could minimize risks. The agency further asserts that no one without proper training, experience and the correct equipment should be involved in cleanup and recovery activities. However, many workers’ compensation benefits will likely be filed in the aftermath of the floods.

Emergency crews will have to deal with many flood-related hazards, including fallen trees, power loss, structural damage and various types of storm debris. The safety agency underscores the importance of proper planning before the commencement of a cleanup project. A hazard analysis of each area is the first step, including an evaluation of the stability and condition of walking surfaces and structures.

Furthermore, any workers assigned to elevated surfaces must have fall protection, and all power lines must be assumed live. Workers must be equipped with hard hats, gloves, foot protection along with eye and ear protection. Special care must be taken when working with ladders, portable generators, chainsaws and other power tools and equipment.

Following the floods, it is not only bodily injury threats to consider but also health risks posed by toxic chemicals and potentially hazardous debris that could cause infections and illnesses. North Carolina workers who ended up in the hospital after cleaning up flood damage can pursue financial assistance to help cover medical expenses and lost wages. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the entire claims process.