Construction Industry Prepares for Recovery Work in Texas and Florida

- The construction industry is preparing for the massive cleanup effort needed to recover from extensive damage left in the wakes of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and taking special precautions to learn from the mistakes of other natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.

Safety specialists involved in previous damage repair projects, who spoke with Bloomberg BNA, advise that, though falls and electrical hazards are immediate threats, mold and waterborne disease are also major dangers that can be too easily forgotten.

The safety measure most stressed by experts is ensuring that proper personal protection equipment is being used at all times. Experts advise that P-100-rated filters be used with respirators in order to protect from the wider range of airborne hazards involved in recovery work.

Avoiding the hazardous mixture of cleaning chemicals is another guideline safety groups have emphasized.

“Since the response to Hurricane Sandy, our safety and health training guidance for mold remediation and cleanup with Harvey responders has evolved to lessen dependence on chemicals and biocides within contaminated structures,” stated Joseph “Chip” Hughes, director of the Institute Worker Education and Training Program.

Along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a number of warnings and guidelines following the Hurricanes. The IRS has urged individuals to be aware of a number of fake charity scams operating in the wake of the disasters, and has also provided important information for tax preparation in the affected areas.

Further safety guidelines can be found online through OSHA or HHS. The IRS tax relief information is available online here.

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