When Hurricane Sandy hit, many areas throughout New York and New Jersey suffered severe damage. Unfortunately, not all homes and buildings have been completely rebuilt and repaired yet and many of the buildings are experiencing mold growth and other results of water damage. Older buildings in the New York area may also have sustained mold damage in the weeks immediately following the storm and this mold may be present even in buildings that are otherwise repaired, unless mold remediation has already occurred.
Mold can be very dangerous when breathed in and can cause severe respiratory problems as well as other illnesses. Unfortunately, our New York City work injury attorneys know that many workers throughout the New York area are at risk of breathing in mold. They can be exposed to the harmful fungus through involvement in Sandy cleanup efforts or performing work in areas where there is unremediated mold damage.
Workers at Risk of Injury Due to Mold Exposure
Although it can take time for mold-related health issues to develop, some workers are already experiencing problems. According to the Trentonian, lottery employees in nearby New Jersey are claiming that they have sustained health issues as a result of their exposure to more than 400,000 moldy lottery tickets.
The workers were exposed to the tickets for more than six months in a warehouse at a lottery headquarters in Lawrence where they were tasked with the job of auditing the tickets. These workers complained about the work conditions in the warehouse, with union officials alerting management to the fact that the workers were starting to experience health problems.
While there are differing accounts of what happened and how management reacted to the complaints, it is clear that the workers were affected by breathing in the mold from the lottery tickets. The workers began experiencing headaches and respiratory issues and are seeking workers' compensation benefits for payment of their medical bills. Mold damaged tickets that were tested also revealed high levels of stachybotrys and aspergillus/pencillium.
As a result of the lab testing, additional remediation and cleaning is being planned. Ceiling tiles in the warehouse are also scheduled to be replaced because it is possible that there are airborne mold spores trapped within the tiles while some sections of the wallboard are being removed due to concerns that they might be the site of future mold growth.
Protecting Workers from Toxic Exposure
As the Trentonian reports, those workers in the lottery warehouse have indicated that their complaints were handled carelessly and that their employer failed to protect them. These workers, who suffered health problems as a result of an on-the-job exposure to mold, should be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
In fact, regardless of employer negligence, any employee who is made ill as a result of exposure to mold in the workplace due to Hurricane Sandy or any other cause should be entitled to receive comprehensive workers' comp benefits under the worker protection laws of New York or their own home state.
If you suffer a workplace injury, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717.