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Sandy workers' contaminant exposures under permissible limits: OSHA

Sandy workers' contaminant exposures under permissible limits: OSHA

Hurricane recovery workers in areas of New York and New Jersey have been exposed to hazardous contaminants, but the degree of their exposure has not surpassed federal limits, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA on Thursday said it has completed its first round of testing for health hazards and industrial hygiene in areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy this past fall.

Those tests revealed that while recovery workers in many areas have been exposed to carbon monoxide, asbestos, silica and other harmful materials, their exposure levels to date have not exceeded the agency's Permissible Exposure Limits.

“These initial results should not be taken by employers as an 'all clear' signal regarding potential exposure to health hazards,” Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York, said in the agency's statement.

“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 said it will continue to monitor industrial hygiene at various locations within the region sites on a rotating basis as long as recovery work is being performed.

Full results of OSHA's first round of testing are available here.

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