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US union slams safety plan at clear up site

SITE WORKERS at the World Trade Center clear-up site in New York are working without protective equipment, a major US construction union has claimed.

Equipment shortages are being blamed on a lack of coordinated health and safety guidance, it emerged.

Up to 1,400 construction staff are working at the site of the collapsed twin towers, two months after the 11 September terrorist attack.

The International Union of Operatives & Engineers (IUOE), which represents 450 workers at the site, said there was still no environmental health and safety plan for the clear-up.

As a result, some site staff are working without protective eye masks, respirators or even boots and hats.

A recent US National Institute of Environmental Health Science report said there had been 1,000 construction related injuries at the site.

It added that there was also a possibility there was asbestos in the atmosphere.

Construction giant Bechtel has produced a draft site safety plan but this still has to be implemented by the New York City Department of Design & Construction.

'There should already be a site safety plan in place and implemented, but we haven't seen it yet, ' said IUOE hazardous materials training director Donald Carson.

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