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.
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Remediation work is assumed to be large scale, and a specialized contractor will usually have to be employed.
The NIEHS Guidelines recommend that mold remediation training be covered over 3 days (21 hours) and should include brief classroom sessions but that the emphasis should be on workshop exercises and demonstrations. However, the Guidelines recognize that there are dissenting views and that some experts suggest that a 3-day course for remediation workers is excessive. These experts think that the necessary training can be covered in 8 hours.
Remediation Training Checklists
The NIEHS Guidelines recommend that mold remediation workers be able to demonstrate an understanding in the following areas:
- The rationale and procedures for removing particulate material down to the reasonably achievable level.
- Safe work practices.
- The nature of mold hazards, including the following safety hazards:
- Chemical hazards
- Physical hazards
- Construction safety, such as ladders, walking-working surfaces, and scaffolds.
- The potential for mold exposures and hazards to the occupant population.
- Health and safety plans.
- Health effects of mold among susceptible individuals.
- PPE and how these protect health.
- Engineering controls and how they fit within the hierarchy of controls, including:
- Scalability of remediation: Jobs should be small if caught early, which reduces the amount of containment
- Medium-sized jobs may present the most risk because of intensive exposure with insufficient controls.
- HVAC operation: how to seal the system off; how a plenum works, and how it can impact mold remediation work, including as an engineering control.
- Dealing with lead paint and asbestos disturbances while remediating mold. In such cases, an industrial hygiene professional should be consulted to determine the safe and legal manner for addressing those materials to prevent lead or asbestos exposures to the maintenance worker and building occupants.
- Special considerations and precautions when conducting small-scale mold jobs.
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The NIEHS Guidelines recommend that mold remediation workers be able to demonstrate all the following skills:
- Donning and doffing respirators
- Constructing and using decontamination units
- Employing negative air units effectively
See tomorrow’s Advisor for information about the PPE mold remediation workers need.