Terrorism and public health: a balanced approach to strengthening systems and protecting people, 2nd edition. Levy BS, Sidel VW, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011 Nov; :342-361
Emergency response and recovery work encompasses a broad range of activities, including search, rescue, recovery, cleanup, and restoration. These activities are performed by workers from many occupations. Occupational health and safety hazards endanger these workers, especially when the emergency is complex, unusual, or large-scale. All appropriate measures need to be taken to protect them from these hazards. This chapter presents the key elements of a protection system for emergency response and recovery workers, emphasizing post-incident health tracking of at-risk workers. It is important to obtain information on (a) worker vulnerabilities before they respond, (b) hazardous exposures during and after an emergency, and (c) changes in workers' health status and their concerns about work exposures. These elements should be codified into a system for response and recovery work that has a defined organizational structure, standard operating procedures, and workers with certified expertise to fulfill key roles.