Monday, October 24, 2005

Workplace Safety Gone To The Dogs

Much of New Orleans is a swampy toxic soup, recovery workers risk electrocution, asphyxiation in confined spaces, mold, communicable diseases, exposure to leaking and explosive chemicals, injuries from collapsing buildings and falling objects, as well as normal construction hazards. But there's one group of hazards that hasn't been addressed -- until now. The National Instititute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued a new publication: Interim Guidance on Health and Safety Hazards When Working with Displaced Domestic Animals.

Animal bites and scratches, rabies, heavy lifting, animal allergens, pesticide exposure (from tick and flea treatments), and, of course, noise ("Excessive noise levels that damage hearing may be generated by large numbers of crated, barking animals in enclosed spaces or loud equipment" See NIOSH Noise Fact Sheet for more info.)

One health and safety expert (who shall remain anonymous due to potential threats from animal lovers) suggested that many of these hazards can be minimized by just shooting that damn mutts -- with tranquilizers, that is.

What with OSHA's recent pathbreaking Alliance with the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists, I'd say we've got the animal hazard area pretty much wrapped up.

Now on to those pesky falls, trench collapses, communicable diseases and chemical standards.