One Year After Hurricane Sandy - Ready for the next Hurricane or Super Storm?

Devastation struck across the East when Super Storm Sandy swept through quiet Towns preparing for Halloween and the Holidays. First Aid Mart was in the fray building and shipping 116, 000 First Aid Kits for the American Red Cross Efforts. People banded together and did what they could for others less prepared - but who was really ready for this unforeseen calamity?

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Hurricane Sandy wrought serious destruction along the East Coast. Over the past year, the Department of Labor has played a key role in the Obama administration's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. We talked with the department's Northeast Regional Representative, Robert Asaro-Angelo, for an update on the department's work.

OSHA-SandyCan you tell us about efforts to keep workers safe during the recovery and rebuilding efforts? Hurricane cleanup and recovery work can be dangerous. Immediately after the storm, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration deployed personnel throughout the region to ensure workers engaged in storm response and recovery work were protected properly against health and safety hazards. OSHA educated employers and workers through extensive outreach, and conducted thousands of field interventions that protected or removed workers from unsafe conditions. Additionally, it awarded more than a million dollars in training grants for small employers and vulnerable workers.

A storm's damage isn't only physical, but also economic. Can you tell us how the Labor Department has been able to help in that area? Providing financial help to the region and protecting the incomes of workers has been vital for recovery. To that end, the department has issued millions of dollars in recovery grants to communities and unemployment assistance for individuals, engaged in outreach on wage and hour laws, and recovered more than $700,000 in back wages for workers. In addition, we've worked hard to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for a job in the rebuilding effort.

What work remains to be done? The long-term rebuilding is only just beginning. We are working closely with our federal partners to help communities rebuild in a way that makes them stronger, more economically competitive and better able to withstand future storms. Also, we will continue to ensure an equal opportunity for jobs, that workers receive the pay and benefits they've earned and return home safely at the end of the day.

Read Hurricane Recovery and Rebuilding Efforts by the Numbers
View the Slideshow

Are you ready to Bug Out? Are you ready to Bug Out?
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