|OSHSPA Reports on State Plan Activities > 2001 OSHSPA Report > OSHSPA: States Protecting Workers|
|Ground Zero: Providing Responder Protection|
The United States will never be the same following September 11, 2001. The destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) was unprecedented in American history. The tragic events of 9/11 have become a national benchmark. The heroic dedication of the rescue workers at what became known as Ground Zero filled the nation with hope and pride.
The New York Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) and federal OSHA took immediate steps in the aftermath of 9/11 to protect the search and rescue workers. Directly following the WTC incident, DOSH implemented a number of emergency readiness activities to ensure that if assistance was requested, it could be provided in as proactive a manner as possible.
By September 12th, New York DOSH was providing support to New York City and New York state emergency responders by brokering the acquisition of a large quantity of respirators and other personal protective equipment. Throughout the rescue and recovery operation, New York DOSH maintained a "mission specific" posture, providing safety and health assistance when requested or necessary in coordination with New York City and state emergency management personnel and NYC OSHA officials.
Federal OSHA worked in conjunction with employers, contractors, and state and federal agencies to provide advice and technical assistance from exposure to hazardous substances and to monitor conditions associated with the use of heavy equipment. Their presence took the form of assistance and not enforcement.
Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico,
North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington
Besides New York DOSH, 18 state plan states sent staff to work in New York City as part of the around-the-clock effort to ensure the safety and health of workers involved in the World Trade Center recovery operations. States sending workers were: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
The federal and state OSH workers conducted air monitoring to characterize possible air contaminant exposures; distributed and fit-checked respirators and other personal protective equipment; and assisted in safety monitoring to address the physical safety of construction and recovery personnel on-site. The state plan workers were paired with federal OSHA personnel.
On May 30, 2002, the recovery and cleanup at the World Trade Center disaster site came to an end. Since the 9/11 terrorist attack, federal and state OSH professionals worked at the WTC site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help protect workers involved in recovery, demolition and site clearing operations.
Three million work hours were logged at the World Trade Center worksite by rescue and recovery personnel. More than 1,000 members of the OSHA family from around the country came to New York City to help protect those recovery workers. New York Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) staff logged more than 11,000 work hours. State plans sent nearly 400 staff, who logged 20,000 work hours.
More than 6,100 workers, including 2,700 New York Fire Department employees, were fit-tested for respirators; more than 130,000 respirators were distributed on-site; and in excess of 6,000 personal, area and bulk samples of hazardous substances were collected.
The state plan states were proud to aid in the efforts to protect the thousands of working men and women at the World Trade Center disaster site. Staff who volunteered expressed a unified gratitude to be able to assist the heroic men and women who worked tirelessly in the rescue and recovery operations.
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