Recent Commercial Posts

Why Fast Flood Response is So Important

5/29/2019 (Permalink)

Respond quickly to any water loss!

There’s a few reasons why experts recommend that you begin flood clean-up within 24 hours. The first is simply about your safety. Waterlogged homes are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold and pathogens. Twenty four hours after a flood, toxic mold can begin to grow that puts your health and the health of your family members at risk. The odds of bad bacterial growth surge again after the 48 hour mark.

The Risks of Mold

Exposure to mold can cause many health concerns. You may develop irritation in your throat, eyes and nose along with increased phlegm. You may find your asthma symptoms worsen. Even if you don’t have asthma, mold may make your wheeze, cough, and feel short of breath.

Once mold has developed you need the help of a certified mold inspector to ensure that the mold is removed. This can raise the costs of your clean-up. It’s better to just not let mold develop in the first place.

Other Complications from Slow Flood Clean-Up

Mold and bacteria aren’t the only problems that come with a slow response to flooding. Often they bring odor with them. The smell from flooded clothing, furniture and carpet is like the smell you get from leaving your clothes in the washing machine over night, but worse, and harder to remove. Once it has developed, you’ll need to use odor absorbing products to reduce it, and cleaning agents to target the bacteria that creates the smell.

Of course, if you’ve flooded from a sewer line break, or if your whole area has flooded, there will likely be sewer material absorbed into your possessions. That will bring along its own smells and make pathogen growth even more likely.

Advantages of Addressing Water Damage Right Away

The less time the water has to penetrate deeply into materials, the less damage it will cause and the more effective the cleaning process will be. Not only does this mean that we may be able to salvage more of your possessions that you’ll find hard to replace, it means you’ll have reduced replacement costs.

Those items that have porous surfaces are more likely to be affected by flood water right away. Drywall, ceiling tiles, and flooring are all usually porous and may all be saved if you get a clean-up crew in right away. The sooner we can examine these items the more likely we’ll be able to salvage them. On the other hand, items with hard, nonporous surfaces are more likely to survive a 24 to 48 hour wait. These surfaces will generally be our second priority as we clean your home.

If your home has suffered a flood, whether large or small, it’s critical to call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead within the first 24 hours, so we can arrive quickly. Our office number is 978.744.4545. This will minimize the health risks of flooding and save you money on cleaning and replacing damaged items.

Tips for Commercial Water Loss

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

If you find yourself in a commercial disaster the first thing you should do is call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead.  We can dispatch an experienced team right away and we will make sure our help arrives quickly!

Tips until SERVPRO arrives:

  • Shut off the water source if identified.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood block under furniture legs.
  • Call your insurance company
  • DO NOT use regular vacuum to remove water

When we arrive we will do a very thorough dry out and complete your job in a timely manner. We have the most advanced equipment and practice the science of drying according to IICRC standards.

Call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead today at 978.744.4545 and we will be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year!

Water Loss in Your Business

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

Toilet backup causes major water damage in this warehouse

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed. 

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions: 

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)? 

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes:

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

For help restoring your commercial space after a water loss, call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead at (978) 744-4545. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Protect Your Business From Water Damage

3/3/2019 (Permalink)

A water loss at your business can be a scary proposition!

Your family depends on your business. So do your employees, as well as your customers and community. So the thought of commercial water damage caused by extreme weather or plumbing failure is scary. But you don’t have to be scared. A little planning and a few precautions will help you breathe a little easier, knowing you’re ready for any commercial water damage.

Commercial Water Damage Tip: Make a Plan

Craft an emergency plan for your business. A good emergency plan should provide for the safety of all people who could enter your business, as well as set forth processes and procedures for carrying on with business during a variety of challenges.

It should include, at the very least:

  • an emergency contact list (accessible from off-site)
  • emergency procedures
  • emergency staffing instructions
  • vendor lists and contact info
  • data backup plans and other resources to support business operations in case you have to temporarily or permanently relocate your business operations.

You should note that this plan is never finished. You should always be updating and improving it with lessons you learn during any business disruption.

Commercial Water Damage Tip: Inspect, Repair, Repeat

Stuff gets old. It breaks. It fails. When plumbing or water-management equipment in your commercial facility fails, the resulting water damage restoration costs can stack up fast. So the operative word for commercial water damage prevention is maintenance.

Routinely inspect all visible plumbing, test basement sump pumps, check exterior gutters and downspouts, muck out drainage ditches and storm drains and ensure roof structures are in good repair. Commercial property managers generally agree that a water leak on a commercial property is the most costly problem you can have, often costing thousands of dollars to mitigate, once the problem develops. Good property maintenance can lop off a big chunk of commercial water damage risk, so don’t cut corners on repairs.

Commercial Water Damage Tip: Call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

A key part of any emergency plan is knowing how to get the help you need when you need it. SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead is the one business owners trust when faced with scary, costly commercial water damage. If your business is disrupted by water damage, call 978.744.4545 and get peace of mind during uncertain times.

 

Restoring Your Essex County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

2/24/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

Flooding and water damage events at Salem, Peabody, Marblehead, Swampscott and Middleton commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Salem, Peabody and Marblehead

SERVPRO of Salem, Peabody and Marblehead specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Who is Responsible for Water Damage in your Essex County Apartment?

2/24/2019 (Permalink)

Who is responsible for your apartment water damage?

Unfortunately, water damage is a common issue both homeowners, landlords and renters can face. The aftermath can be devastating making the property unlivable and permanent damage may occur to personal belongings. When water damage occurs in an apartment, who is responsible for the damage cost? The property owner or renter?

Renter rights

Water damage can be unpredictable and it is important to understand your renter rights and understand who is responsible for what in such an event. In general, a landlord is responsible for maintaining the property ensuring that the apartment is livable and functioning up to code. The landlord may refuse repairs, or fail to address them quick in enough – causing further damage such as mold. In the United States, basic principles in tenant rights are in place and outline the party liable for damages.  Depending on the state, rent details can vary so check with your local housing authority.

Review your lease

It’s important to know what your lease states regarding property damage. Most properties have property insurance and will list what type of damage that is covered and what is not. The lease may specify actions that may be in place depending on the severity of the water damage. If the damage is severe and the apartment is unlivable is the tenant still required to pay the rent? Can the landlord evict the tenant or can the tenant cancel their lease without penalty? In general, if the damage is minor, the tenant will not be able to cancel the lease agreement. If the terms regarding property damage are not listed in the lease, speak to your landlord about who is responsible in the event when water damage strikes.

Renters insurance

Accidents happen which is why it is essential to have renters insurance. Most places require you have it before allowing you to move in an apartment. Depending on the plan you select, coverage can vary from damages to the building, personal content and may even cover the cost of lodging while repairs are being completed.

Landlord Responsibilities

The landlord is responsible for maintaining a functional apartment ensure that it is livable. The upkeep of basic plumbing such as sinks, toilets and tubs fall on the shoulders of the landlord. Failure to maintain or repair these functions may lead to property damage and the landlord is liable due to negligence.

Damage to property and personal belongings

Water damages caused to the building itself such as flooring, walls and utilities should be covered under the landlord’s property insurance. Personal property damages fall to the responsibility of the party at fault for damages, which can be the tenant. For example, if the tenant leaves a faucet on and falls asleep causing water damages.

How SERVPRO of Salem / Peabody / Marblehead can help

Water damage requires a rapid response in order to minimize loss to both the property itself and belongings inside. SERVPRO of Salem / Peabody / Marblehead are experts at water damage cleanup in apartments and building of all sizes no matter severity of the damage. Our team of experts will assess the damage and develop an appropriate plan to restore and recover your property and contents. Contact us by calling 978.744.4545 to learn more about our water damage clean-up services.

Commercial Water Damage Assessment

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Flooded office building

Flooding and water damage events in the northshore commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Have a question?

Call us today 978.744.4545

What Commercial Owners Need To Know About Moisture and Mold

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

Mold in commercial settings can cause major headaches for business owners.

Black mold and mold cleanup are among the most difficult maintenance issues that commercial owners face in Salem MA. Microscopic yet aggressive, these diminutive agents of decay are capable of causing rapid structural damage and can be difficult to detect. Maintaining a low-humidity interior to prevent moisture problems and taking immediate action to inhibit fungal growth after a flooding event are essential for avoiding potentially devastating restoration or remodeling steps.


Why Is Mold Such a Serious Structural Problem?

High indoor humidity is the most common causes of black mold growth. When moisture levels meet low-airflow interiors, most porous building materials become an easy target of infestation, including drywall, insulation, hardwood flooring and of course carpeting.

While many commercial buildings created after the 1970s have been designed to accommodate high-humidity environments, prevention and maintenance remain key. Common signs that your building may be at high risk for black mold growth include:

• Roofs, soffits or other exterior portions of the building material that consistently leak
• Poorly maintained fire sprinkling systems that drip
• Indoor humidity levels that are consistently over 60 percent
• Standing water or frequent indoor condensation
• Lack of thorough ventilation
• Poorly maintained HVAC equipment
• Distinctive, musty odor

How Do You Remediate Indoor Mold?

While severe mold growth can be easily detected visually, in many cases fungal infestations do their worst damage behind the scenes, ruining insulation and rotting walls from the inside out. Even a relatively minor moisture problem can provide the perfect conditions for rapid growth.

For these reasons it is essential that business owners and property managers contact an experienced company to quickly diagnose and address issues. Your local remediation specialist will provide a preliminary visual inspection, perform an air quality check, and take laboratory samples to determine the concentration and type of mold present. Depending on the severity of damage, ventilation, deodorizing and sanitizing procedures may be needed to rehabilitate indoor spaces.

Visit www.SERVPROsalem.com for more information on mold.

Emergency Response

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

During a dire life-threatening crisis it’s preposterous to consider shopping for comparative ambulance quotes. Wisely, city and country agencies regulate ambulance companies to prevent unscrupulous and opportunistic behavior. When we need a first responder to provide life saving remedies we make the emergency call fully assured that help is on the way to mitigate and stabilize the situation.

At SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead, we are an experienced property damage mitigation and restoration service provider for commercial and income properties. Similar to a medical emergency the response time for property disaster emergencies is also critical. Without prompt mitigation, things usually go from bad to worse. Repair costs increase the longer you wait. Rapid response to property disasters can also keep affected businesses operating and commercial and residential tenants in place. Even if companies and residents are temporarily displaced, prompt mitigation will help them return more quickly.

Yet, some property and facility managers remain hampered by a requirement to collect comparative bids. For example, at our company our telephone receptionists regularly receive calls from onsite property managers who say, “I’ve got standing water on the first floor of my building can you give us a quote?” Our customer service representatives often hear the following comment, “We have to get at least three quotes before we can use an emergency restoration vendor.”

 We understand a client’s responsibility to protect private resources, or public monies by hiring a qualified and approved company that will provide excellent services at a fair price. That’s why we make the following suggestion… 

Please understand that there are two distinct phases of work involved in most property damage cleanup projects. Unfortunately these two phases are often seen as just one point of service. Admittedly the property disaster recovery industry has not done the best job in describing mitigation and restoration, or how this information can be used to your benefit.

Mitigate: To cause or to become less harsh, to make less severe or painful

Restoration: Bringing back to original position or condition.

Mitigation is the work performed by the first responders who provide critical service to contain the damage to the property. Water mitigation responders extract standing water, move contents to non-affected areas, begin to dry and clean the indoor environment to prevent the moisture from spreading and causing further (secondary) damage.

Using our ambulance analogy, the medical first responders may take the patient to the hospital for further treatments such as surgery and recovery. Similarly, water damage mitigation responders may hand the project over to the restoration team who will bring the property back to its original preloss condition.

Whether you need emergency property damage mitigation or restoration services, SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead will be there for you. You have our commitment that our fees are reasonable. 

Our customer service and commercial account representatives look forward to serving you. Please get in touch: 978.744.4545

Restoring Your Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

2/6/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

Flooding and water damage events at Salem/Peabody/Marblehead commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

IICRC Certified Firm

2/6/2018 (Permalink)

We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

For Immediate Service in Salem, Peabody, Marblehead Call SERVPRO

2/6/2018 (Permalink)

We provide immediate service, day or night!

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Salem/Peabody and Marblehead. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – 978.744.4545

Residential Services

Whether your Salem/Peabody/Marblehead home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Mold Remediation
  • Storm Damage Restoration
  • Cleaning Services
  • Building/Reconstruction Services

Commercial Services

There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Salem/Peabody, Marblehead commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. 

  • Commercial Water Damage Restoration
  • Commercial Fire Damage Restoration

SERVPRO ERP

5/23/2017 (Permalink)

Preparation is Key for Water Damage Remediation

SERVPRO's new Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) system allows business owners to easily keep track of all properties and locations during a hurricane, and respond appropriately. Using the tool, you can create multiple individualized profiles and information sets for each property you own, and with just a few clicks after an emergency, our technicians will have all the information they need to get to work on mitigating damage. As a result, they can save owners of multiple properties, such as landlords, thousands in repair costs after a hurricane by responding quickly to each location.
 
During a hurricane, commercial water damage in Coral Gables apartments and rental properties can come in the form of flooding, staining, physical damages, rain exposure, and any of a host of other small problems. Usually, our technicians have to spend precious time evaluating the building and formulating an approach, but this process is hastened with SERVPRO's ERP system. Through it, they can access relevant contact information, building plans and layouts, and critical information about utility systems. This is especially useful in attached properties, which may share utilities and resources with neighboring locations.
 
Generally, the information you submit to the ERP system is the same information that we will ask for during the emergency. The main difference is that instead of having to operate under heavy time constraints and rely on you to be available to provide that information, we can access the information digitally and before we even arrive. When a disaster like a hurricane hits, you can log onto our website or open up the app and have us responding with all the info we need in seconds. For apartments and rental properties, this can include relevant information and contact routes for tenants, ensuring that they make it through the process unscathed as well.
 

Understanding Commercial Insurance

2/17/2017 (Permalink)

Understanding Commercial Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is a coverage that is often overlooked by many businesses that are not located within a Special Hazard Flood Area (SHFA), aka the 100 year flood plain.  Contrary to popular belief, flood insurance can be purchased by just about anyone in the United States whether you are in a SHFA or not.

The federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the primary writer of flood insurance in the country; however they offer only limited property limits and limited coverage options. For a business, the NFIP will offer up to $500,000 of coverage on the building and $500,000 of coverage on the contents in the building, with deductible options up to $50,000.  However, unlike most property policies that will offer Replacement Cost coverage (no deduction for depreciation), the NFIP’s loss settlement structure is Actual Cash Value only, meaning they will deduct for depreciation on both the building and the contents.  Also, the deductible applies separately to the building and contents (two deductibles).  Finally, the NFIP does NOT offer Business Interruption coverage.  So if your business is shut down for any period of time after a flood loss, there will be no compensation for your lost business income.

Fortunately, there are a few non-NFIP insurance markets that have recently begun writing flood insurance in competition with the NFIP, and some will offer Business Interruption coverage.  But non-NFIP markets don’t accept every risk like the NFIP does so they won’t write everyone.  Another possible way to get Business Interruption coverage is to purchase excess flood coverage above the NFIP policy.  This would give you additional flood property limits above the NFIP’s $500,000 and then you may be able to add Business Interruption coverage to the excess policy.  You would have to decide if the additional cost is worth the coverage, but most people who have suffered an uncovered loss usually wish they had paid the extra money after the fact.

Fire Restoration in Nashua NH

2/2/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Salem, Peabody, Marblehead, Swampscott, Peabody Massachusetts was the restoration company that handled this large commercial loss in New Hampshire. The following is a clip from the local newspaper. 

 

Nashua, NH — Nashua firefighters extinguished a giant fire at a Bay Ridge apartment complex Sunday in extreme conditions as the heat index soared close to 100.

Two firefighters were hospitalized with heat exhaustion. They were expected to recover.

Dozens of residents were displaced.

The was fire caused by a propane grill, according to Deputy fire Chief Karl Gerhard. It broke out at about 5 p.m. and was declared under control by about 6 p.m.

"Although the fire heavily damaged the building, 50 percent of the building was saved due to a fire wall slowing fire spread, aggressive fire attack by all fire companies on scene ... and adequate staffing, which allows multiple tasks to be completed in a shorter time frame," Gerhard said in a statement. "All these elements combined provided the best outcome possible given the situation found upon arrival."

Temperatures soared into the high 90s Sunday as firefighters battled the blaze.

Scores of firefighters from Nashua and nine other communities, including across the border in Massachusetts, helped fight the fire.

The Red Cross offered assistance to those displaced.

"In this volatile time in society, the citizens of Nashua should take comfort in the fact that their Nashua area agencies will always prepare and provide our citizens help, and support, when they need it most," Gerhard added.

 

 

Prepare Your Business For A Winter Storm

2/2/2017 (Permalink)

When a winter storm hits, it can significantly interrupt if not suspend your business operations. Winter storms can bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds, or a combination of these conditions. They can cause power outages that last for days, make roads and walkways very dangerous, and affect community services. Preparing ahead of time can help you manage the impact a winter storm has on your business and the safety of your employees.

 

Knowing what to do when a winter storm and other disasters hit is the message of America’s PrepareAthon!, a nationwide grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises. The campaign offers easy-to-implement preparedness guides, checklists, and resources to help individuals, business owners, organizations and whole communities practice the simple, specific actions they can take to prepare for disasters.

 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 25 percent of all businesses affected by a major disaster never reopen1. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to disasters. Unlike large companies, small businesses have less capital and fewer personnel available to resume operations and recover losses. It is vital to the continuity of a small business to have a disaster plan in place and be prepared, as it can make the difference between staying open or shutting down.

 

The most important asset to any business is its people. Businesses cannot recover from a disaster without their people, and people cannot recover without a job to return to. In order for employees to be able to focus on their work after a disaster, they need to be personally prepared for emergencies.

 

Encourage your employees to:

1. Sign up for local text alerts and warnings and download weather apps to their smartphone.

2. Gather important documents and keep them in a safe place.

3. Create an emergency supply kit.

4. Develop a family emergency communication plan.

5. Know the facts on how to prepare for a winter storm.

 

In addition to preparing your employees, it is crucial you know how to safeguard your facility and property. The Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery teamed up to develop “Prepare My Business”, www.preparemybusiness.org/, which offers planning tools to assist small business owners with preparing for various disasters. Some tips from the Winter Weather Preparedness Checklist include:

1. Check your insurance coverage for protection against winter hazards.

2. Collect the names and phone numbers of your heating contractor, plumber, fire department, insurance agent, and building owner and ensure they are easily accessible.

3. Determine what equipment needs to be protected from freeze-up, i.e. computers, telecommunications, manufacturing equipment, etc.

4. Have all employees, vendors, and client contact information on hand.

5. Arrange for snow removal from driveways, doorways, and roofs.

Prevent Warehouse Fires

2/2/2017 (Permalink)

Keep your warehouse safe with these simple tips

Warehouses are vital repositories for a business’ stock. They store most, if not all, of a business’ goods ready for sale or distribution.

Because they have such an important function—safeguarding the biggest source of a business’ income—warehouses can control a business’ fate. Any warehouse disaster, such as a fire, can have disastrous consequences, potentially shutting down the warehouse and forcing the entire business to cease operations.

Neglecting to shield your warehouse against fires means you could be sealing your business’ fate. As an owner, manager or warehouse operator, do not let all your hard work go up in smoke—adopt these simple measures to stamp out fires in your warehouse.

Fire Safety Legislation

The starting point for any successful workplace fire safety program is undertaking a risk assessment according to the fire safety legislation relevant for your area. Most risk assessments follow these five steps:

  1. Identify the fire hazards.
  2. Determine the people at risk.
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
  4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
  5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.

Fire Safety Procedures

Using the information gleaned from your risk assessment, establish fire safety procedures that are tailored to your business’ fire risks. Train all employees in these procedures to ensure a unified response in the event of a fire. Institute an employee self-inspection program to maintain housekeeping standards and fire protection measures.

Fire Protection Tools

Assemble all the tools at your disposal to help fight warehouse fires. These include fire extinguishers, sprinklers and automatic fire detection systems. The number and type of fire extinguishers you require depends on the nature of your business. For Class A fire risks—fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles—the National Fire Protection Association recommends having one 2-A extinguisher for every 3,000 square feet. OSHA requires that all employees have access to an extinguisher within 75 feet of travel distance.

Locations that contain Class B flammables, such as workshops, storage areas, research operations, garages, warehouses or service and manufacturing areas, require that all employees have access to an extinguisher within 50 feet of travel distance.

But the tools you need for your warehouse depend on your business’ specific fire risks. Adopting a one-size-fits-all fire prevention program is inefficient and dangerous. Be sure to tailor your fire protection tools to the distinct fire risks you face.

Storage Arrangements

Failing to arrange clearly defined, adequate storage can intensify your fire risks for several reasons. Crowded aisles may block fire exits and make it harder for people to escape, cramped warehouses spread fire more easily, and storing hazardous materials such as flammable liquids with other warehouse stock greatly boosts the chances of a fire.

Arranging clearly defined, adequate storage is mostly common sense—keep electrical switchgear and heating equipment clear of storage, never let goods get within 18 inches of lighting, allow enough clearance between sprinkler heads and stored goods to make sure your sprinkler system can effectively douse the area, and segregate the hazardous and non-hazardous materials. Smart storage can greatly lower your fire risk.

Electrical Systems

Faulty electrical systems are hidden dangers. Make sure your warehouse’s electrical systems are correctly installed and maintained according to the relevant standards. Schedule a competent electrical contractor to inspect and test your electrical systems periodically so any defects can be fixed promptly. The longer you wait with faulty electrics, the bigger your fire risk grows.

Security Protection

Arson is one of the main causes of warehouse fires. Shield your business against this pervasive risk by installing internal and external security measures, such as security cameras and alarms, to deter trespassers and fortify your warehouse.

Smoking

To comply with smoke-free legislation, you must prohibit smoking throughout your premises. You could provide an external smoking shelter, neither completely nor substantially enclosed. Construct smoking shelters using only non-flammable materials. No flammable materials should be allowed within 20 feet of the shelter.

Space Heating

Warehouses, with their wide, open spaces, can be very cold and difficult to heat—and heating such spaces can be extremely expensive. For this reason, the temptation to rely on portable heating can be strong. Resist the urge, as portable heating carries a much higher fire risk than fixed heating systems. Your energy bills from a fixed heating system will pale in comparison to the amount you spend recovering from a warehouse fire caused by portable heating.

Waste Removal

Accumulating waste in your warehouse is a major fire risk. Employees should remove all waste materials at the end of every working day and transfer them to external receptacles located at least 30 feet from any buildings and at least 6 feet from your site’s boundary.

If your site does not permit this type of storage, secure your waste in lockable metal containers located at a practical distance from your building.

End-of-day Inspection

At the end of each working day, a responsible and trained employee should inspect every area of the warehouse and log the results. The inspector should be checking that accumulated waste materials were removed, that fire prevention and security systems are functioning and that any hazardous material or equipment has been isolated as required.

 

Mold In The Workplace

2/2/2017 (Permalink)


 



Introduction


This safety and health information bulletin provides recommendations for the prevention of mold growth and describes measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and workers involved in mold cleanup and prevention. This bulletin is directed primarily at building managers, custodians, and others responsible for building maintenance, but may also be used as a basic reference for those involved in mold remediation. By reading this safety and health information bulletin, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation may be able to reasonably judge whether mold contamination can be managed in-house or whether outside assistance is required. The advice of a medical professional should always be sought if there are any emerging health issues. This document will help those responsible for building maintenance in the evaluation of remediation plans. Contractors and other professionals (e.g. industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals) who respond to mold and moisture situations in buildings, as well as members of the general public, also may find these guidelines helpful. The information in these guidelines is intended only as a summary of basic procedures and is not intended, nor should it be used, as a detailed guide to mold remediation. These guidelines are subject to change as more information regarding mold contamination and remediation becomes available.


Mold Basics


Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere - inside or outside - throughout the year. About 1,000 species of mold can be found in the United States, with more than 100,000 known species worldwide.


Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals. We would not have food and medicines, like cheese and penicillin, without mold.


Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Problems may arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings.


Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores (viable seeds) that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air.


Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on in order to survive. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.


When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.


All molds share the characteristic of being able to grow without sunlight; mold needs only a viable seed (spore), a nutrient source, moisture, and the right temperature to proliferate. This explains why mold infestation is often found in damp, dark, hidden spaces; light and air circulation dry areas out, making them less hospitable for mold.


Molds gradually damage building materials and furnishings. If left unchecked, mold can eventually cause structural damage to a wood framed building, weakening floors and walls as it feeds on moist wooden structural members. If you suspect that mold has damaged building integrity, consult a structural engineer or other professional with the appropriate expertise.


Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent excessive moisture in buildings. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices since the 1970s, which resulted in tightly sealed buildings with diminished ventilation, contributing to moisture vapor buildup. Other moisture problems may result from roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under a building, or unvented combustion appliance. Delayed or insufficient maintenance may contribute to moisture problems in buildings. Improper maintenance and design of building heating/ventilating/air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as insufficient cooling capacity for an air conditioning system, can result in elevated humidity levels in a building.


 


Prevention


Moisture control is the key to mold control. When water leaks or spills occur indoors - act promptly. Any initial water infiltration should be stopped and cleaned promptly. A prompt response (within 24-48 hours) and thorough clean- up, drying, and/or removal of water-damaged materials will prevent or limit mold growth.


Mold prevention tips include:



  • Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.

  • Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.

  • Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).

  • Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.

  • Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.

  • Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).

  • Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.

  • Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.

  • Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.

  • Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.

  • Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.


Questions That May Assist in Determining Whether a Mold Problem Currently Exists



  • Are building materials or furnishings visibly moisture damaged?

  • Have building materials been wet more than 48 hours?

  • Are there existing moisture problems in the building?

  • Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odors?

  • Has the building been recently remodeled or has the building use changed?

  • Has routine maintenance been delayed or the maintenance plan been altered?


Remediation Plan


Remediation includes both the identification and correction of the conditions that permit mold growth, as well as the steps to safely and effectively remove mold damaged materials.


Before planning the remediation assess the extent of the mold or moisture problem and the type of damaged materials. If you choose to hire outside assistance to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience with mold remediation. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA's publication, "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings," or other guidelines developed by professional or governmental organizations.


The remediation plan should include steps to permanently correct the water or moisture problem. The plan should cover the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). It also should include steps to carefully contain and remove moldy building materials in a manner that will prevent further contamination. Remediation plans may vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the job, and may require revision if circumstances change or new facts are discovered.


If you suspect that the HVAC system is contaminated with mold, or if mold is present near the intake to the system, contact the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), or consult EPA's guide, "Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?" before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold, as it could spread contamination throughout the building. If the water or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, consult a professional who has experience cleaning and repairing buildings damaged by contaminated water.


 


Mold Remediation/Cleanup Methods


The purpose of mold remediation is to correct the moisture problem and to remove moldy and contaminated materials to prevent human exposure and further damage to building materials and furnishings. Porous materials that are wet and have mold growing on them may have to be discarded because molds can infiltrate porous substances and grow on or fill in empty spaces or crevices. This mold can be difficult or impossible to remove completely.


As a general rule, simply killing the mold, for example, with biocide is not enough. The mold must be removed, since the chemicals and proteins, which can cause a reaction in humans, are present even in dead mold.


A variety of cleanup methods are available for remediating damage to building materials and furnishings caused by moisture control problems and mold growth. The specific method or group of methods used will depend on the type of material affected. Some methods that may be used include the following:


Wet Vacuum


Wet vacuums are vacuum cleaners designed to collect water. They can be used to remove water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces where water has accumulated. They should not be used to vacuum porous materials, such as gypsum board. Wet vacuums should be used only on wet materials, as spores may be exhausted into the indoor environment if insufficient liquid is present. The tanks, hoses, and attachments of these vacuums should be thoroughly cleaned and dried after use since mold and mold spores may adhere to equipment surfaces.


Damp Wipe


Mold can generally be removed from nonporous surfaces by wiping or scrubbing with water and detergent. It is important to dry these surfaces quickly and thoroughly to discourage further mold growth. Instructions for cleaning surfaces, as listed on product labels, should always be read and followed.


HEPA Vacuum


HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums are recommended for final cleanup of remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly dried and contaminated materials removed. HEPA vacuums also are recommended for cleanup of dust that may have settled on surfaces outside the remediation area. Care must be taken to assure that the filter is properly seated in the vacuum so that all the air passes through the filter. When changing the vacuum filter, remediators should wear respirators, appropriate personal protective clothing, gloves, and eye protection to prevent exposure to any captured mold and other contaminants. The filter and contents of the HEPA vacuum must be disposed of in impermeable bags or containers in such a way as to prevent release of the debris.


Disposal of Damaged Materials


Building materials and furnishings contaminated with mold growth that are not salvageable should be placed in sealed impermeable bags or closed containers while in the remediation area. These materials can usually be discarded as ordinary construction waste. It is important to package mold-contaminated materials in this fashion to minimize the dispersion of mold spores. Large items with heavy mold growth should be covered with polyethylene sheeting and sealed with duct tape before being removed from the remediation area. Some jobs may require the use of dust-tight chutes to move large quantities of debris to a dumpster strategically placed outside a window in the remediation area.


Use of Biocides


The use of a biocide, such as chlorine bleach, is not recommended as a routine practice during mold remediation, although there may be instances where professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immuno-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area, as a background level of mold spores comparable to the level in outside air will persist. However, the spores in the ambient air will not cause further problems if the moisture level in the building has been corrected.


Some biocides are considered pesticides, and some states require that only registered pesticide applicators apply these products in schools, commercial buildings, and homes. Make sure anyone applying a biocide is properly licensed where required.


Fungicides are commonly applied to outdoor plants, soil, and grains as a powder or spray. Examples of fungicides include hexachlorobenzene, organomercurials, pentachlorophenol, phthalimides, and dithiocarbamates.


Do not use fungicides developed for outdoor use in any indoor application, as they can be extremely toxic to animals and humans in an enclosed environment.


When you use biocides as a disinfectant or a pesticide, or as a fungicide, you should use appropriate PPE, including respirators. Always, read and follow product label precautions. It is a violation of Federal (EPA) law to use a biocide in any manner inconsistent with its label direction.


Mold Remediation Guidelines


This section presents remediation guidelines for building materials that have or are likely to have mold growth. The guidelines are designed to protect the health of cleanup personnel and other workers during remediation. These guidelines are based on the size of the area impacted by mold contamination. Please note that these are guidelines; some professionals may prefer other remediation methods, and certain circumstances may require different approaches or variations on the approaches described below. If possible, remediation activities should be scheduled during off-hours when building occupants are less likely to be affected.


Although the level of personal protection suggested in these guidelines is based on the total surface area contaminated and the potential for remediator or occupant exposure, professional judgment always should play a part in remediation decisions. These remediation guidelines are based on the size of the affected area to make it easier for remediators to select appropriate techniques, not on the basis of research showing there is a specific method appropriate at a certain number of square feet. The guidelines have been designed to help construct a remediation plan. The remediation manager should rely on professional judgment and experience to adapt the guidelines to particular situations. When in doubt, caution is advised. Consult an experienced mold remediator for more information.


Level I: Small Isolated Areas (10 sq. ft. or less) - e.g., ceiling tiles, small areas on walls.



  • Remediation can be conducted by the regular building maintenance staff as long as they are trained on proper clean-up methods, personal protection, and potential health hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

  • Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator) is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.

  • Containment of the work area is not necessary. Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to remediation, are recommended.

  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in a sealed impermeable plastic bag. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.

  • The work area and areas used by remediation workers for egress should be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.

  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.


Level II: Mid-Sized Isolated Areas (10 - 30 sq. ft.) - e.g., individual wallboard panels.



  • Remediation can be conducted by the regular building maintenance staff. Such persons should receive training on proper clean-up methods, personal protection, and potential health hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

  • Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator) is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.

  • Surfaces in the work area that could become contaminated should be covered with a secured plastic sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/debris and prevent further contamination.

  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to remediation, are recommended.

  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in a sealed impermeable plastic bag. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.

  • The work area and areas used by remediation workers for egress should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.

  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.


Level III: Large Isolated Areas (30 - 100 square feet) - e.g., several wallboard panels.


Industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals with experience performing microbial investigations and/or mold remediation should be consulted prior to remediation activities to provide oversight for the project.


The following procedures may be implemented depending upon the severity of the contamination:



  • It is recommended that personnel be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator). Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.

  • Surfaces in the work area and areas directly adjacent that could become contaminated should be covered with a secured plastic sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/ debris and prevent further contamination.

  • Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.

  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to mediation, are recommended.

  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.

  • The work area and surrounding areas should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.

  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.


Note: If abatement procedures are expected to generate a lot of dust (e.g., abrasive cleaning of contaminated surfaces, demolition of plaster walls) or the visible concentration of the mold is heavy (blanket coverage as opposed to patchy), it is recommended that the remediation procedures for Level IV be followed.


 


Sampling for Mold


Is it necessary to sample for mold? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Air sampling for mold may not be part of a routine assessment because decisions about appropriate remediation strategies often can be made on the basis of a visual inspection.


Your first step should be to inspect for any evidence of water damage and visible mold growth. Testing for mold is expensive, and there should be a clear reason for doing so. In many cases, it is not economically practical or useful to test for mold growth on surfaces or for airborne spores in the building. In addition, there are no standards for "acceptable" levels of mold in buildings, and the lack of a definitive correlation between exposure levels and health effects makes interpreting the data difficult, if not impossible.


Testing is usually done to compare the levels and types of mold spores found inside the building with those found outside of the building or for comparison with another location in the building. In addition, air sampling may provide tangible evidence supporting a hypothesis that investigators have formulated. For example, air sampling may show a higher concentration of the same species of mold when the HVAC is operating than when it has been turned off. This finding may convince the investigators that the mold is growing within, and being disseminated by, the HVAC system. Conversely, negative results may persuade investigators to abandon this hypothesis and to consider other sources of mold growth or dissemination. If you know you have a mold problem, it is more important to spend time and resources removing the mold and solving the moisture problem that causes the moldy conditions than to undertake extensive testing for the type and quantity of mold.


If you are in doubt about sampling, consult an industrial hygienist or other environmental health or safety professional with experience in microbial investigations to help you decide if sampling for mold is necessary or useful, and to identify persons who can conduct any necessary sampling. Due to the wide difference in individual susceptibility to mold contamination, sampling results sampling may have limited application. However, sampling results can be used as a guide to determine the extent of an infestation and the effectiveness of the cleanup. Their interpretation is best left to the industrial hygienist or other environmental health or safety professional.


Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals with specific experience in designing mold-sampling protocols, sampling methods for microbial contaminants, and interpretation of results. For additional information on air sampling, refer to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' document, "Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control." In addition, sampling and analysis should follow any other methods recommended by either OSHA, NIOSH, EPA, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, or other recognized professional guidelines. Types of samples can include: air samples, surface samples, bulk samples, and water samples from condensate drain pans or cooling towers.


Microscopic identification of the spores/ colonies requires considerable expertise. These services are not routinely available from commercial laboratories. Documented quality control in the laboratories used for analysis of the bulk, surface, and other air samples is necessary. The American Industrial Hygiene Association offers accreditation to microbial laboratories (Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP)). Accredited laboratories must participate in quarterly proficiency testing (Environmental Microbiology Proficiency Analytical Testing Program (EMPAT)).


Remediation Equipment


There are various types of equipment useful in mold assessment and remediation. Some of the more common items include:


Moisture Meters


Moisture meters measure/monitor moisture levels in building materials, and may be helpful for measuring the moisture content in a variety of building materials following water damage. They also can be used to monitor the progress of drying damaged materials. These direct reading devices have a thin probe that is inserted into the material to be tested or pressed directly against the surface of the material. Moisture meters can be used on materials such as carpet, wallboard, wood, brick, and concrete.


Humidity Gauges or Meters


Humidity meters can be used to monitor indoor humidity. Inexpensive (less than $50) models that monitor both temperature and humidity are available.


Humidistat


A humidistat is a control device that can be connected to an HVAC system and adjusted so that if the humidity level rises above a set point, the HVAC system will automatically turn on and reduce the humidity below the established point.


Boroscope


A boroscope is a hand-held tool that allows users to see potential mold problems inside walls, ceiling plenums, crawl spaces, and other tight areas. It consists of a video camera on the end of a flexible "snake." No major drilling or cutting of dry wall is required.


HVAC System Filter


High-quality filters must be used in a HVAC system during remediation because conventional HVAC filters are typically not effective in filtering particles the size of mold spores. Consult an engineer for the appropriate filter efficiency for your specific HVAC system, and consider upgrading your filters if necessary. A filter with a minimum efficiency of 50 to 60% or a rating of MERV 8, as determined by Test Standard 52.2 of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, may be appropriate.


Remember to change filters as appropriate, especially following any remediation activities. Remove filters in a manner that minimizes the reentry of mold and other toxic substances into the workplace. Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to wear appropriate PPE while performing this task.


How Do You Know When You Have Finished Remediation/Cleanup?



  • You must have identified and completely corrected the source of the water or moisture problem.

  • Mold removal should be complete. Visible mold, mold-damaged materials, and moldy odors should no longer be present.

  • Sampling, if conducted, should show that the level and types of mold and mold spores inside the building are similar to those found outside.

  • You should revisit the site(s) after remediation, and it should show no signs of moldy or musty odors, water damage, or mold growth.


Conclusion


After correcting water or moisture infiltration, the prompt removal of contaminated material and structural repair is the primary response to mold contamination in buildings. In all situations, the underlying cause of water accumulation must be rectified or the mold growth will reoccur. Emphasis should be placed on preventing contamination through proper building and HVAC system maintenance and prompt repair of water damaged areas.


Effective communication with building occupants is an essential component of all large-scale remediation efforts. The building owner, management, and/or employer should notify occupants in the affected area(s) of the presence of mold. Notification should include a description of the remedial measures to be taken and a timetable for completion. Group meetings held before and after remediation with full disclosure of plans and results can be an effective communication mechanism.