Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article

Questions Continue as WTC Recovery Ends
Occupational Hazards, July 2002

After more than eight months and 3 million man-hours at one of the most hazardous work sites in the nation, the recovery and cleanup at the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster site came to an end on May 30. The controversy over OSHA's decision to suspend enforcement at the site, however, may be just beginning.

In a statement released to mark the occasion, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said she is proud of the OSHA effort and pointed out that only 35 recovery workers missed workdays due to injury, and none lost their lives at the site where thousands perished because of the terrorist attack.

That record does not appear to satisfy Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who represents the part of Manhattan the includes the WTC. In a June 3 letter to OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, Nadler wrote, "While OSHA officials have provided a variety of justifications and rationales" for not enforcing safety and health rules at the site, "none have proven to be conclusive."

The congressman asked for a number of documents, including those upon which the "no enforcement" decision was based. At press time, there was no indication from OSHA about how it would respond to Nadler's request.

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