Federal workplace safety officials said they had to intervene in 15 separate New Jersey workplaces handling the clean-up from Hurricane Ida where there were unsafe working conditions, according to a remotely-held OSHA press conference on Sept. 28.
The safety violations ranged from a lack of adequate equipment for roof repairs, to inadequate safety gear for working on demolitions and tree removal, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Those workplace safety issues in question were identified and rectified on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 and affected 27 separate workers.
In all those cases, workers were told to put on the proper equipment, or supervisors were told to supply it, which they did.
OSHA said that because no investigations were opened into those employers, the names were not available.
In the case of roof repairs, workers were not wearing fall protection equipment nor were the ladders properly situated so that workers could get off the roof, nor were the roof-tarps properly applied, according to Paula Dixon-Roderick, who heads OSHA’s South Jersey office.
“We asked them to come down, we educated them … and we asked them to put on their [personal protective equipment],” she said. “If they don’t have it, we would ask their supervisors ‘can you please go get [it]’.”
“If they decide not to take my recommendations, that’s when I put on my enforcement hat.”
In the case of tree removal and demolitions, certain equipment was not being used that would keep workers safe from the wood chippers, and falling debris and branches, Dixon-Roderick said.
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