OSHA is providing advice and technical assistance to employers and federal agencies to help protect workers from exposure to hazardous substances in the New York City and Pentagon disaster sites.

In New York, OSHA is testing asbestos levels in buildings within a several block radius surrounding the perimeter of the World Trade Center emergency site.

"OSHA's goal is to ensure that people who enter buildings near or downwind from the emergency area are protected and provided with all of the safety information possible," said Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

OSHA inspectors are working in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test asbestos levels in New York City. EPA sampling of ambient air quality have found either no asbestos or very low levels of asbestos. Sampling of bulk materials and dust found generally low levels of asbestos.

At the Pentagon, OSHA is assisting with concerns about asbestos exposure and structural damage during rescue operations.

Additionally, the Department of Labor's Office of Workers Compensation Claims (OWCP) has established teams to expedite processing of workers' compensation claims for eligible federal staff and emergency personnel. The Federal Employees' Compensation Act covers all civilian federal employees who sustain injuries while on duty assisting recovery efforts in the Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks and subsequent rescue operations. Surviving spouses and dependent children are also entitled to benefits.