Flood Cleanup Has Many Hazards

In the wake of Hurricane Floyd's end-of-the-summer visit, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health warns flood workers of a number of hazards associated with cleanup activities.

In the wake of Hurricane Floyd's end-of-the-summer visit, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns flood workers of a number of hazards associated with cleanup activities.

"Unfortunately, the danger of flood does not end when the rains cease," NIOSH Director Dr. Linda Rosenstock said. "We must work together to prevent illness and injuries that can accompany cleanup efforts."

Workers involved with flood and hurricane cleanup should be aware of potential dangers involved and proper safety precautions. NIOSH cites the following work-related hazards as potential dangers during bad weather cleanup: electrical hazards, carbon monoxide, musculoskeletal hazards, thermal stresses, heavy equipment, structural instability, hazardous materials, fire, drowning, confined spaces, power line hazards, stresses and fatigue.

For a detailed description on these hazards and prevention measures, visit the NIOSH Web site at www.cdc.gov/niosh or call (800) 35-NIOSH.

When it comes to insurance risks, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has issued an informational circular to help define procedures for handling the impact of Hurricane Floyd.

The circular advises servicing and direct assignment carriers to use the "rule of reason" when dealing with insureds in the Workers' Compensation Insurance Plan in areas that have been declared disaster areas, but that still may be impacted things such as delayed mail delivery and power failures.

Consequently, NCCI is advising that carriers use good judgment and employ flexibility to accommodate the risk if an extension of time is needed to perform an audit, a lost control survey or for billing or payment purposes.

For more information concerning procedures or the informational circular, contact NCCI's Bill Malphurs at (561) 997-4525.

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