Priority #1: Job Safety
7/30/2015Safety should always be at the front of our minds on any job – from biohazard cleanup to fire restoration. But the truth is, once our mind is focused on the job at hand, it’s easy to forget simple ways to keep ourselves and our team safe. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was established in 1971 to help ensure employees have a workplace free from recognized hazards. While OSHA does help with safety, no one agency can be responsible for the safety of everyone every day. It’s no secret safety issues increase following a fire, flood or other disaster. So it’s up to restoration contractors and technicians to understand the risks and be trained to handle them whether it be high levels of bacteria in a flooded home, or mold on a basement wall. Basic Safety Risks Here are some safety risks to consider specifically related to restoration and remediation work, and very simple safety tips to keep in mind:
- Structural integrity issues caused by fire or flood damage -- don’t walk on surfaces that are not stable.
- Possible exposures from toxic chemical substances generated during a fire or in flood water -- wear rubber boots and gloves.
- A variety of sharp metal objects, razor blades, jagged edges – use care when handling and clean any cuts or wounds.
- Breathing dust containing asbestos or other toxic materials – wear proper filtration masks.
- Eye injuries from flying debris, dust, contaminated water and cleaning chemicals – wear safety goggles.
- Carbon monoxide from propane or gas fired generators or other equipment – do not work in these areas.
- Ladders – avoid electrical wires, position at a safe angle; don’t place on unstable surfaces.
- Chain saws and other power tools– follow manufacturer’s instructions and don’t overreach.
- Trucks or other heavy equipment backing up or being moved – always be alert on the job.
- Remediating death scenes (may include blood or bodily fluids) – use gloves and other PPE (personal protection equipment) like hazmat suits.