Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Hurricane Irene's aftermath is part of the
job for public employees.  photo provided
Albany, N.Y.--  CSEA - New York's Leading Union - is urging that safety come first whether New Yorkers are responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Irene on the job or in their homes.

CSEA President Danny Donohue said union members should follow all appropriate safety guidelines as they recover from the storm, which caused widespread flooding, damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure and downed trees and power lines. The union has important resources available to provide guidance.

"As we pull together in this time of crisis, our spirit remains strong, but much of our work has just begun," Donohue said. "It is vital that we remain vigilant in ensuring the safety and health of all New Yorkers as we recover from the storm."

CSEA members, many of whom served as first responders during the storm, will continue to play a key role in storm recovery at homes, in their communities and at their work sites. CSEA members and other public workers have been working around the clock to remove debris, contain flooding, restore infrastructure and restore water and sewer and other essential services.

On the job, the safety and health of workers cannot be compromised. Employers are required to protect workers from the anticipated hazards associated with the flood response and recovery operations by ensuring they have the appropriate training and equipment to do the work safely and are not placed in harm's way.

CSEA has many resources available on its website at to help New Yorkers safely clean up after Irene's devastation. The union has also developed two fact sheets to help members and the public remain safe during the storm cleanup process. The following fact sheets are available for download from CSEA's website:

• Information for CSEA Members Responding to Flood Affected Areas addresses the hazards often found in flooded areas, including contaminated floodwaters, downed electrical lines and building debris, the personal protective equipment employers are responsible for providing workers and other considerations employers should ensure that workers follow to remain safe.

• Working In and Cleaning Up Flooded Buildings highlights the potential hazards of working in flooded buildings, including building structure, electrical hazards and health concerns, as well as what employers need to do to ensure workers' safety.

"Knowing this important information can help up avoid more harm during this already difficult time," Donohue said. "Please share this information with as many people as possible in your communities and work sites. We hope these resources will help you in giving the proper guidance and advice that is needed in these unique, difficult circumstances."

For occupational safety and health related information, you can go here.

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