Post-storm clean up can be dangerous for crews

Tuesday November 6, 2012

Government employees as well as private contractors are working on cleaning up debris, including fallen trees, after Hurricane Sandy. According to local doctors, workers responsible for post-storm clean-up are at risk of serious injury caused by chainsaws, woodsplitters and other tools. The machinery can cause gruesome injuries, including amputation and deep tissue wounds to fingers and hands.

Though doctors in New Haven and throughout Connecticut have not yet seen a spike in these injuries, they are bracing for this kind of work injury during post-storm clean-up.

Doctors at the Yale Hand and Microsurgery Center saw a rash of hand mutilations in the weeks following Irene last year. Workers may be at risk if they are inexperienced with working with wood splitters, wood chippers, chain saws and other machinery. Doctors also reported that wood splitters are the main culprit in such accidents. Throughout the region, hospitals and doctors have already seen some minor injuries that have occurred during post-storm clean-up.

In addition to injury by heavy machinery, workers are also at risk of fallen debris or getting crushed by unstable structures. During the clean-up efforts, health experts are recommending common sense, following instructions and knowing how to use tools. Workers should always keep fingers and hands clear of machinery while it is on. Even after a machine has been turned off, workes should not assume it has stopped.

Doctors believe that storm-related injuries will be worse in the next few days and weeks. If you or someone you love has been injured in a work-related accident you may be entitled to workers’ comp in addition to third-party claim damages.

Source: Connecticut Post, “Chainsaws, woodsplitters major culprit in post-storm injuries,” Amanda Cuda, Nov. 5, 2012

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