A natural or man-made disaster like a flood, large-scale fire, tornado, or hurricane creates a situation where many people are called in to help. Construction workers, restoration experts, electrical and utility workers, and people in a host of other professional positions may find themselves called upon in the aftermath of destruction to do cleanup and rebuilding work. When this work is performed, there are significant risks of injury.
A workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta knows that even when proper safety precautions are taken, an employee could become sick, badly hurt, or even fatally injured when doing disaster cleanup. If you or someone you love was hurt or lost their lives performing rebuilding or reconstruction work, you should contact a legal professional for help. Often, workers come in from out of town to help with the rebuilding process in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. It does not matter if you were away from your normal work site when the injury happened- if you were doing job tasks, you should be entitled to workers’ comp benefits and a lawyer can help you to get them.
Atlanta Workers Face Injury Risks After Disasters Occur
Safety BLR reports that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided an alert urging all employees involved in cleanup of the recent Texas floods to avoid potential hazards that could cause serious injuries.
Some of the myriad risks discussed by the regional administrator include water that is chemically contaminated, as well as structures that have become unstable. Destruction of buildings because of any natural disaster can lead to live electrical wires, leaking gas tanks, asbestos particles in the air, mold, raw sewage in water, and a host of other things that can be extremely dangerous. Residential homes are not the only facilities that can be destroyed by disasters, and when a commercial facility is damaged, there is also a risk of other hazardous chemicals on the premises that people may be exposed to when entering.
Buildings that may appear sound may also be structurally damaged and could collapse. A person who enters a building could face the risk of falling though a floor or roof, or of having parts of the building fall onto him.
OSHA urges a thorough assessment of potential hazards and risks of toxic exposure before any building or structure is entered. Employers have the obligation to ensure that this assessment is conducted and that workers receive education both on the risks they face and on the ways that they can protect themselves from these dangers. Employers whose facilities are located within the disaster area should also conduct a chemical inventory and evaluate any possible risks of exposure as workers come back to the job.
OSHA also has other safety tips including advising the use of fall protection and respiratory protection; the use of waterproof gear in wet environments, and the use of a hard hat and safety glasses.
Doing work in disaster cleanup is noble and difficult work and it is important you are protected. If you do this tough job and get injured or ill as a result, contact an experienced attorney for help understanding your rights and getting the benefits and compensation you deserve.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.