Monday, January 13, 2014

Report Cites Flaws in Emergency Response Following 9/11 Attacks

In 2001, almost 3,000 innocent lives were lost during the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and today, thousands more suffer from health issues brought on in the attacks’ aftermath. According to the CDC, 1,100 people who worked or lived near the World Trade Center have been diagnosed with cancer and thousands more suffer from respiratory disease, digestive orders and mental health problems linked to the toxins released when the Twin Towers collapsed.

Last week, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) released a report concluding that decisions made by federal, state and local agencies and officials in the weeks and months following 9/11 put workers, volunteers, residents and students at risk, contributing to the toll of death and disease. Its report, Are We Prepared for the Next 9/11?, offers recommendations for government agencies to better protect occupational health and safety before the next disaster stricks, including:
  • Rescue operations should not entail unnecessary risks to responding workers or volunteers.
  • The federal government should take clear responsibility for public health during disaster response.
  • Training should be provided not only to traditional first responders but also to day laborers, volunteers and other non-traditional participants in disaster response.
  • Public Health Principles: Uniform, science-based re-occupancy standards should be established to protect the public health.
  • OSHA standards should remain in place, including requiring employers to fix violations and using effective enforcement if needed. 

Click here for more information.