State Labor Department to send experts to help Gulf Coast

By Ja'Rena Lunsford Published: September 7, 2005
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The Oklahoma Labor Department is preparing to send some of its employees to the Gulf Coast to provide technical assistance during debris cleanup and power restoration.

Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau said the department is assessing its workers' immunization status and their capabilities. The department also is working with the U.S. Labor Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"Logistics are being worked out with the federal OSHA to ensure state personnel are provided to the areas most in need of their specific technical expertise," she said.

Workers most likely will be sent to Mississippi or Alabama for two-week periods, starting in mid-September.

The U.S. Labor Department is issuing public service announcements to provide Gulf Coast evacuees with information about disaster unemployment insurance, job support and other available assistance, and the department also will help those who were receiving unemployment checks to continue receiving payments.

Pat McGuigan, deputy commissioner for Oklahoma's Labor Department, said he was not surprised the state agency was being asked to help. The state department also provided help during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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