PPE Training for Mold Maintenance Workers

Work Practices Checklist

Recommended work practice training topics for maintenance workers include:

Precautions Before Removing Mold

  • Wear a mask when potential mold-contaminated material is present.
  • During the period of mold removal, ask people to leave immediate area.

Containment Techniques

  • Plastic drop cloth to protect surfaces.
  • Supplies and equipment.

Mold Removal Steps

  • Wipe off mold with soap and water.
  • Throw away damaged materials.
  • Cutting wall sections: Misting or some form of containment may be appropriate.
  • Damaged materials should be bagged, sealed, and thrown away.
  • Adapt EPA Guidelines for Cleanup and Mold Prevention


  • Wet-wipe and use HEPA vacuum.
  • If using HEPA vacuum, use PPE.

Prohibited Activities

  • Do NOT use bleach as a substitute for removal (be specific with state regulations and applicability); bleach also creates another hazard for the worker.
  • Do NOT disturb suspect mold materials without respiratory protection.
  • Do NOT use an air mover where dry materials can be disseminated.
  • Do NOT just paint over mold contamination.
  • Do NOT dry-scrape-off mold contamination.

PPE for Maintenance Workers

The National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences (NIEHS), in conjunction with a number of other organizations, published Guidelines for the Protection and Training of Workers Engaged in Maintenance and Remediation Work Associated with Mold (NIEHS Guidelines). According to the NIEHS Guidelines, PPE for maintenance workers who handle mold should include:

  • Gloves, depending on whether wet work or dry work is performed. Wet work requires that the glove choice be based on the liquid.
  • For eye protection, workers should be able to choose either safety glasses or vented goggles.
  • Full-body coveralls would be needed in circumstances involving heavy exposure to mold.
  • All respirators must be NIOSH certified. The NIEHS Guidelines recommend N-95 disposable respirators for maintenance workers, although some concern was voiced that N-95 disposables provide insufficient protection and tend to clog in humidity, making breathing difficult.

Maintenance or Remediation?

According to the NIEHS Guidelines, maintenance tends to be low-level exposure, and remediation entails a higher level of exposure.

Maintenance involves small areas of mold contamination (less than 30 square feet) and includes minor contamination cleanup in HVAC systems (systems less than 10 square feet). It is assumed that maintenance staff will come in contact with mold, and when they do, they will correct the source of moisture and clean up small amounts.

Remediation work is assumed to be large scale, and a specialized contractor will usually need to be employed.

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