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Thursday, January 10, 2013

OSHA posts results of sampling for contaminants at Sandy cleanup areas in New York and New Jersey

Employers reminded they must protect their workers from exposure to health hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has posted results of its initial industrial hygiene sampling of locations in New York and New Jersey where recovery work in connection with Hurricane Sandy is being performed. The results are posted on OSHA's website at:

The purpose of the sampling is to measure potential or actual employee exposure to potential health hazards during recovery operations. Sampling was conducted in a variety of locations throughout the storm affected areas. The results of this first round of sampling show that while some contaminants were present, such as carbon monoxide, asbestos and silica, they have so far not exceeded any of OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits, which can be found at:

"These initial results should not be taken by employers as an "all clear" signal regarding potential exposure to health hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "It is important that each employer continually ensure that workers are not overexposed. Employers can accomplish this by performing site assessments to determine potential hazards and institute effective measures to protect workers against exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos, lead and mold."

OSHA will continue to conduct industrial hygiene monitoring on a rotating basis at various locations where recovery work is being performed. The results will be posted on OSHA's website. The monitoring is one element of OSHA's ongoing efforts to protect the safety and health of workers cleaning up after Sandy.

Since the storm struck, OSHA has been conducting daily briefings, safety and health field interventions and other outreach activities to identify and remove employees from hazards and to provide Sandy cleanup workers and employers with safety and health information. To date, OSHA has conducted over 4,400 briefings and interventions, reaching nearly 61,000 workers and employers performing recovery work in Sandy-impacted areas. OSHA's work is ongoing. Guidance, fact sheets and other information can be found on OSHA's Hurricane Sandy web page, located at