PPE for Remediation Workers
According to the NIEHS Guidelines, PPE for remediation 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.
- Nonporous full-body coveralls.
- Head covering.
- All respirators must be NIOSH certified. The NIEHS Guidelines recommend NIOSH approved, half-face elastomeric respirators with particulate cartridges of at least N-95 for mold remediation workers, unless the environment might include oil mist exposures, in which case a P designation would be needed. Where heavy exposures are anticipated, improving the efficiency from 95 to 100 may be warranted.
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The consensus of the participants in the workshops that produced the NIEHS Guidelines consider the cleaning of mold-contaminated HVAC equipment to be too specialized and requires training beyond what is recommended in the Guidelines. However, representatives from the International Union of Operating Engineers provided a minority opinion that maintenance staff who encounter less than 10 square feet of mold in the ventilation system can be trained to deal with lowlevelHVAC mold. The training should be 8 hours and cover:
- Respiratory protection in accordance with OSHA’s respiratory protection standard (2 hours)
- Proper PPE selection (0.5 hours)
- Area containment to avoid mold from spreading to other areas. How to create a positive or negative pressure with your facility’s HVAC system and the benefits of doing so. Mold suppression methods. Lockout/tagout (1 hour)
- Removal of contaminated material and proper disposal, including a discussion on the variety of biocides used by HVAC manufacturers (0.75 hours)
- Final area cleanup using a HEPA vacuum and cleaned with a damp cloth and/or mop with a detergent solution (0.75 hours)
- Areas left to dry and visibly free from contamination and debris (0.5 hours)
- Prevention discussion on the causes of HVAC contamination, humidification, dehumidification, and condensation (1.5 hours)
- Performance-based test (1 hour)
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If written verification is available that a worker has attended and successfully completed a 40-hour HAZWOPER, an OSHA 500, or an OSHA 501 course, it is recommended that the training be reduced to 4 hours.
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