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Posts tagged ‘HAZMAT’

Tips for Black Mold Fungi Infestation Remediation and Mitigation

Intro: Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) – Black mold – is a fungal myotoxin.

Situation: Heavy black mold fungi had produced severe infestation inside the modern, 3-bedroom manufactured home of a retired clinical psychologist and consultant from Ohio. Perhaps only three to five times a year she and her family used the small vacation property, located near a lake in south central Canada.

Question: “What can be done? How should the property be handled at this point?

Here are the suggestions that I gave to our relatives…

Initially, determine the home’s current market value as is, the extent and total cost of repairs needed to get home habitable, and the property’s “sellability” after all improvements.

Then, proceed with caution.

1. Stay out of the mold infested area/building – eg. manufactured home.

2. The spores are airborne, also transferable from fingers, hands, feet, etc.

3. The fungal spores pass to the skin, hair, eyes, ears, sinuses/nasal passages, lungs, etc.

4. Black mold remediation and mitigation must be handled by a certified specialist. The person(s) must be suited up head-to-toe, also equipped with a free-flowing, full-head breathing apparatus.

5. Furniture, fixtures, floor covering, cabinetry, etc. must be removed and disposed of, according to EPA standards, particularly if infestation is 50 percent or more, whether on a washable surface or not.

6. All substrates – walls, paneling, ceilings, flooring, joists, frames, plumbing, A/C units, ventilation ducts, etc. must be removed if they are infested 50 percent or more. In some areas – eg. children’s room, healthcare and rehabilitation facilities – and many situations, infestation of 30 percent requires major removals.

7. Before repairs and remodeling/ rebuilding can proceed safely, the entire area must be completely air dried – including behind and inside walls, ceilings, floors, built-ins, cabinetry, etc. RECOMMENDED: High-velocity industrial/commercial fan set up in each room or area.

8. All persons that will work on the structure – eg. manufactured home – must be notified/informed in advance, and in writing, of the property’s toxic Black mold history, conditions, environment, previous treatment(s), current infestation rating, etc.

9. Canada has EPA-type standards similar to the U.S. regarding handling of Stachybotrys cartarum myotoxins.

10. If any area has been 30 percent or more contaminated, allow at least forty-eight full hours after drying before reentry. CAUTION: Some remediation companies say 50 percent.

11. Make certain that the certified handlers test the environment for (a) airborne spores, (b) surface residue, (c) fumes, (d) air quality, and, (d) certain invisible oils that the myotoxins can produce.

12. EPA WARNING: Frequent exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) has been documented to cause moderate-to-severe permanent and irreversible medical conditions, impairments and disabilities: neurological; respiratory/lung; eye/ ear/mouth; skin; cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, psychological/behavioral, and, musculo-skeletal and balance.

13. Frequent exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) can cause fatalities.

14. These severe effects occur especially when a person is frequently exposed for prolonged periods of time – and in high temperature/heat and high humidity environmental conditions.

WARNING from American College of Neurologists, etc.

Frequent exposure to high levels of the fungal myotoxins for prolonged periods of time, along with exposure to concentrated toxic treatment chemicals such as chlorine bleach, have the strong potential to cause severe neurological damage such as short-term memory loss, cognitive and executive function deficits, even premature dementia. Prolonged exposure also affects blood vessels, arterial and vascular system; brain neurons/cells; and, ischemic brain/white matter (usually plural and concomitant).

Think long-term. How long do you intend to keep the property? Do you ever plan to sell it? Will anyone, who is already suffering from immuno-suppressive illnesses or deficits, ever use the place?

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Watch it! Painters that work in hot, humid climates – even on a short-term or temporary basis.
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Copyright July 28, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights resereved.

Painter’s World: Worker Safety and Certifications

Worker Safety: The Good News

OSHA and its state partners, coupled with the efforts of employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates, have had a dramatic effect on workplace safety.

Worker injuries and illnesses are sharply reduced – over 70 percent since the 1970s. (Example: 2.9 per 100 workers in 2016, versus 10.9 in 1972.)

Worker Safety: The Bad News

Worker deaths have increased – 7 percent, or 5,190, or 14 a day/2016, from 2015.

*Read “OSHA Inspectors and the Workplace: Death by Attrition,” by Sandy Smith, Posted Jan. 10, 2018

Construction worker fatalities in private industry – Year: 2016*

1: Over 1 in 5, or 991 (21.1%) of 4,693 worker fatalities in private industry were in construction.

2. 63.7%, or more than one-half, of construction worker deaths attributed to the “Fatal Four:”

A. Falls – 38.7%, or 384 of 991 total deaths in construction.

B. Struck by Object – 9.4%, or 93 of 991 total.

C. Electrocutions – 8.3%, or 82 of 991 total.

D. Caught-in/between – 7.3%, or 71 of 991 total Note: Includes workers killed when caught-in, or compressed by, equipment or objects, and struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material.

* Note: Another set of statistics reports 687 construction worker fatalities in 2016.

 

10 most frequently cited OSHA Standards violations, Fiscal Year 2017 (10/1/2016 09/30/2017.)

 

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017):

 

  1. Fall protection, construction industry – 29 CFR 1926.501)
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.1200
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction – 29 CFR 1926.451
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.134
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry – 29 CFR 1910.147
  6. Ladders, construction – 29 CFR 1926.1053
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.178
  8. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements – 29 CFR 1910.212]
  9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements – 29 CFR 1926.503
  10. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.305

 

How Painters and Decorators – you and I – Can Help Save Lives In Construction

 

On the Job

  1. Keep alert for signs of unsafe and unhealthy conditions, hazards, etc.
  2. Be your own best self-advocate for a safe and healthy workplace environment.
  3. Promptly report potential problems to your supervisor, contractor, project manager, property owner.
  4. Do what you can to neutralize a potentially unsafe and unhealthy situation until help arrives.

 

In Our Painting Careers

1.Keep trade and construction industry certifications current. Examples: Note: See Certification chart – separate post.

A. General certifications – Painting/ coatings applications, paint technology, drywalling, construction, maintenance, architectural, exterior applications, general inspections, estimating, CPR/First Aid; UBC.

B. Government certifications – standards/regulations, codes – OSHA, ADA, EPA, HAZMAT.

C. Equipment certifications: OSHA respirator protection, self-contained breathing apparatus, HVLP, spraying, scaffolding, lifts/hydraulics, aerial and swing stage, chemical; State-Class C Driver’s License

D. Specialty painting certifications: Highway/airfields, marine/shipyards, automotive, tanks, underground/confined spaces, aerial, industrial, manufacturing/processing; waterborne systems,

E. Inspection certifications: architectural coatings, industrial coatings, maintenance coatings, paint quality, coverage/mils, environmental.

F. Training certifications: Examples: TrainTheTrainer (TTT),* TrainThePainter (TTP),* Supplementary Course Modules: Marine, Concrete, Thermal Spray, Water-jetting.*   Note: *The Society for Protective Coatings.

 

2. Regularly “checkmate” and update your skill and proficiency levels.

A. Take trade courses when offered in your area, and online – especially when free or low cost.

B. Take advantage of free workshops, webinars, and demonstrations offered by manufacturers of paint products, supplies, tools, equipment, etc.

C. Attend periodic open houses and demonstrations offered by paint product stores.

 

3. Participate in construction and product manufacturer training programs, including online.

A. Join professional networks run by building products’ stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s.

B. Periodically, take professional-level workshops – store and online.

C. Sign up for construction industry apps that can save you time, waste and money.

 

4. Attain and update your government standard/regulation/code certifications.

A. Federal: OSHA, EPA, HAZMAT, HCS (Hazardous Communication Standard), UBC, ORPS (OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard); Training, Inspector.

B. State: Building and construction codes, statutes, regulations.

 

5. Keep current about new federal workplace safety and health regulations.

A. Example: OSHA Fall Protection Standards, June 2017.

B. Some major changes: (1) Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems, (2) Roof Work Changes, (3) Stairways, Ladders, and Guardrails, (4( Workplace Assessments, (5) Training for Employees, (6) Alignment between the General and Construction Industries.

 

Bottom Line: Workplace safety is every worker’s business – and right!

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Copyright June 13, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Preventing Painter Accidents

In most situations, painter accidents can be prevented, or at least minimized. The responsibility rests on everyone’s shoulders: property owner/management, contractor(s) and painters, as well as other workers on the site and product/materials/equipment delivery outfits.

 

A CHECKLIST OF ACCIDENT PREVENTION PRACTICES

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Have experience in the proper use of products/materials, supplies, tools and equipment needed to complete the job.
  3. Pay attention to the details – eg. health and safety policies and practices.
  4. Keep up-to-date with your compliance certifications: OSHA, ADA, HAZMAT, HVLP, UBC.
  5. Carry a valid state-issued Class C commercial driver’s license, and Have no infractions within the last three-to-five years.
  6. Maintain certifications required in your specialty areas. Examples: highways/airfields; marine; planes; train cars; automotive; aerial; underground tanks/containers; above-ground tanks/containers; chemicals.
  7. Upgrade your skill-level certifications for working on your specific types of substrates, and using required products and materials. Note: Skills’ levels must be tested regularly.
  8. Keep up-to-date on your employer’s property and liability insurer requirements re: training.
  9. Keep up-to-date on new government standards and regulations and amendments and health and safety codes, AND required additional training and certifications.
  10. Retake advanced training to upgrade your journey-level certifications. Note: This is a requirement with a growing number for members of construction trades and union organizations.
  11. Participate in manufacturer’s product/coatings and related tool and equipment handling workshops, demonstrations, webinars, etc.

 

Following these practices may cause some inconvenience, and an outlay of cash, at the time. However, the risk of unpreparedness can be costly, and dangerous.

Bottom Line: There are no acceptable reasons for preventable accidents and injuries, damages, and fatalities to happen. None at all.

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Painters, as a group, can contribute much to workplace safety and health.

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Copyright June 13, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

A Painter’s View of Mold and Mildew: Part II

In many parts of the Southeastern region of the U. S., the long high-temperature and high-humidity season brings much more than natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Opening in May, the five-to-six month season brings environmental conditions that make it ripe for black mold (Stachybotrys chararum) infestation, and mildew buildup.

Its toxic spores cover surfaces in minutes, and move inside wall spaces within hours. Particularly vulnerable are rooms and areas where moisture collects, air circulates or ventilates improperly, and water fails to drain completely.

The toxic fungi harbors, often hidden, long before you see its black or slimy green signs on surfaces such as walls, ceilings, furniture, cabinetry, carpet, etc. However, one of its earliest signs is an odd musty smell in the air.

Buildings in areas ravaged by very heavy rains, floods, hurricanes, even tornadoes, and earthquakes readily succumb to massive fungi buildups. Often so severe that the structures must be destroyed and every part of it removed. By HAZMAT (hazardous materials) teams trained and certified for the job.

The fungi infiltration can cause property owners and occupants great expense, inconvenience, and damage. It can cause health and safety risks to both humans and animals. It can necessitate the closing down of a business. It can lead to the sealing off of an entire building, even the demolition of a once-valuable piece of property.

In the Hospitality Industry – eg. hotels, motels, it can create special challenges. Especially with buildings and structures that are older, or have environmental issues. Structures designed with poor ventilation, drainage and piping systems. Structures built with extremely porous materials.

One problem occurs with rooms that are equipped with window air conditioners. Guests tend to turn off the units when they leave for the day, or check out. Just like they might at home, to conserve energy. The temperature rises in the sealed, unventilated room. The humidity builds up.

Sometimes, the fungi may have been “residing” already in inconspicuous spots, or inside the walls. And/or, it has built up, over days, when guests have requested reduced maid service during stays. By the time housekeepers are able to drop off fresh towels and remove damp/wet bath linens, tiny black or slimy green spores may have moved into the area. Prompt attention is called for.

Whatever the situation, the mitigation (reduction) and remediation (counteracting, removal) of the black mold and mildew requires vigilance, care and teamwork. It requires housekeeping and maintenance staffs to work together, during the entire, to keep ahead of the build-ups.

Similar scenarios play out in many other structures – eg. office buildings, hospitals, assisted living facilities, schools, restaurants, laundry/dry cleaners, stores, storage units. In buildings and areas occupied by the same persons, repeatedly and for longer periods of time, exposure to mold and mildew can be especially toxic and harmful.

Your home can be just as, if not more, susceptible to mold and mildew contamination. Every surface and area can serve as a host for those black fungal spores. Every person that lives or visits the home can be exposed to the toxic spores, as they emit into the atmosphere, or cling to anything they can. Every person (and animal) has the potential to develop respiratory and lung diseases, certain cancers, skin disease, vision problems, brain disorders, even reproductive damage. In the home, buildups of black mold and mildew tend to be very dangerous.

The length and frequency of human exposure to the fungi tends to be much longer, and repetitive. Infiltration, infestation, or contamination tends to be greater, and the coverage denser. After all, home is where you (and your family members) usually sleep, eat, bathe, study, watch television, work at the computer, launder, etc. It’s where you “house” the clothes you wear, the bed and bath linens that touch your skin, beauty/skin/hygiene products you use, the small appliances, computers and hand-held electronics you operate, the papers and documents you file and store.

Professional painters that work in mold and mildew prone regions of the country pay close attention to this problem. Their first concern is for the persons that live, work, or visit in and around these buildings and areas. Experienced painters know that these persons are at higher risk of developing adverse reactions and both short-term and long-term health and safety challenges. They know that continuous exposure to black mold spores can lead to toxic poisoning.

Their second concern is trade-related. Paint, varnish, wallcovering, texturing, and custom decorating products or materials do not adhere well to contaminated surfaces. Quality results and durability cannot be guaranteed. No guarantees mean no happy customers.

A third concern is compliance. More experienced, journey-level painters possess extensive knowledge of chemicals, toxic contaminants and compounds, hazardous materials, and environmental hazards. Most are certified in two or more of the following areas:

  1. government, health and safety standards (eg. OSHA, EPA, ADA);
  2. manufacturer product handling, storage and disposal standards (MSDS, SSPC);
  3. hazardous materials handling (HAZMAT);
  4. painting trade procedures and standards (IUPAT, HAZWOPR);
  5. construction industry (UBC, asbestos).

Some painters, especially industrial, are getting trained and certified in areas related to the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), under the EPA. Some are taking the certification program offered through the Society of Chemical Manufacturers (SOCM).

Professional painters accept and understand that thorough mitigation and remediation of toxic black mold and mildew, before prepping surfaces for finishing, is essential. It must be done right. It must be done in a healthy and safe manner.

That’s one reason why many painters turn over the mitigation and remediation of major and/or dense black mold and mildew buildups to professionals. These persons have been trained and licensed as mold mitigation and remediation specialists (MRSP).

Yes, using professional remediators adds to the cost of the painting/finishing project. In the long run, however, it protects everyone from unnecessary exposure and harm. The property occupants, visitors, painters, other craftspersons, etc. An added benefit: the post-treatment inspection – a part of the remediation contract – helps to ensure that the building is safe to use in the future.

Bottom line: Black mold and mildew must be removed. Persons, as well as pets, must be protected from suffering adverse reactions, and developing short-term and long-term medical conditions.

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