Michael Courouleau Discusses Best Practices for Hurricane Cleanup
Hurricane Sandy aftermath brings safety concerns, safety expert warns.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – January 3, 2012 – Michael Courouleau, safety expert for Industrial Safety & Health, warns business owners and residents about the importance of crafting a plan for returning to facilities and residences after the recent hurricane that battered the east coast. Hurricane Sandy, Michael Courouleau explains, caused massive damage that will require months of work to repair. While many residents may be eager to get back into homes and offices, it’s important that they place staying healthy and safe as top priority.
An experienced industrial and workplace safety expert, Michael Courouleau has personally worked on disaster cleanups. He worked as part of a tank cleaning team for Murphy Oil, as well as reporting on environmental changes and contamination in response to the MC 252 oil spill. Michael Courouleau also works as a technician manager for Industrial Safety & Health for indoor air quality, mold remediation, and asbestos.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, mold and air quality are of special concern to Michael Courouleau. Management should assess these dangers before allowing employees to enter a facility, he says, devising a plan to ensure a building is safe. This should include pre-entry checklists that cover any potential hazards a building could have. Those hazards include:
- Mold. If a building has sustained flooding, mold is a definite risk. Michael Courouleau emphasizes the importance of wearing an N95 mask in a size that conforms to the shape of your face. Safety eyewear is also recommended. Michael Courouleau recommends workers who will be involved in cleanup wear sturdy rubber gloves that protect not only their hands but their forearms, as well.
- Asbestos. Like mold, asbestos can cause respiratory damage when inhaled for a long period of time. Michael Courouleau cautions that exposure can result in even more serious complications, including lung cancer and other lung diseases. Since many of the affected buildings were built using asbestos, as workers are removing materials to prepare to rebuild, exposure to asbestos may become unavoidable. To protect against asbestos, Michael Courouleau believes goggles and gloves are important, as well as a hard hat and strong, sturdy work boots.
- Contaminated water. Michael Courouleau warns people to be wary about any exposure to standing water. As Michael Courouleau has found, flood waters can contain sewage, debris, and other contaminants.
Employers have a responsibility for employees’ safety for more reasons than simple concern. As Michael Courouleau points out, if employees are exposed to environments that cause health problems, disability, worker’s compensation, and even litigation could result. The cost can be debilitating to a business and can even force a business to eventually close its doors, Michael Courouleau tells us.
Most importantly, before exposing your family or workers to an environment that could potentially be toxic, make sure each area is thoroughly tested for mold or any other contaminants, Michael Courouleau advises. If possible, Michael Courouleau suggests hiring a professional crew (licensed mold remediator) to remove all impacted drywall and carpet, treat and dry all areas, and test these items before inviting others in to breathe the air.
Contact Michael Courouleau:
2701 Airline Drive
Metairie, LA 70001