Following disasters such as Hurricane Irma that devastated Florida last month, rebuilding homes and getting production going prolongs the exposure to danger. While it is only natural to retract when danger looms, cleaning up after a disaster requires workers to face the dangers head on. The only comfort for employees might be knowing that the workers’ compensation insurance system will be there to cover medical expenses if they should suffer injuries.

Hazards that they will face include brittle and unstable buildings that may collapse at any time, slippery surfaces, mold and contaminated air along with unknown toxic hazards in flood waters and sewage. Working without the appropriate personal protective gear can cause long-term, acute illnesses and injuries. PPE must at least include protective gloves, boots and masks.

Haste can also be hazardous in these circumstances. Many unknowns exist, and alertness and vigilance are vital throughout clean-up operations. It would be only natural to want to expect employees to work extended hours to speed up the process, but fatigue in such situations can be deadly. Unanticipated hazards will present, and fatigued workers will be unable to assess risks and reduce hazards as they go.

Any employees who feel sick during the clean-up procedures must prioritize their health and seek medical care. Those who suffer the consequences of injuries or illnesses following the operations must report it to their employers without delay. Workers’ compensation benefits claims can be filed, and victims may seek the help of an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney with the navigation of such claims to recover medical expenses and lost wages.

Source:, “Let’s Get To Work (But Not at the Expense of Worker Safety)“, Marianela Acuna Arreaza, Jessica Martinez, Sept. 21, 2017