Mold Remediation: Training, Best Practices, and New OSHA Catastrophe Training

In this episode of Restoration Today, we are joined by Doug Hoffman, the CEO of NORMI.

NORMI is the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors. Today, the organization is about 7,500 people strong – and facilitates a variety of training courses related to environmental remediation.

Doug discusses some of the best practices of mold remediation, clears up some of the common misconceptions, and explains why the assessment process is so important as part of the entire IAQ process. He also discusses a brand new program by OSHA that will affect restoration workers heading to disaster zones.

Here is a brief excerpt from Doug explaining the OSHA Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training Program:

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Microbial Inspectors, was founded on July4, 2004 and immediately approved as a training provider for the Louisiana Mold Remediator which had just then gone into effect. Shortly after that, in January of 2005, the State of Texas placed their mold licensing law into effect governing both the assessment and remediation side of the industry and NORMI was approved to do training for that licensing law. It was August of that year that the worst hurricane to hit the gulf coast landed and devastated much of New Orleans and the coast east to Florida. 

When you’re involved in disaster recovery work like this, you quickly see the need for comprehensive training in this area. One of the positive things that happens after a community experiences a natural disaster is the surge of helpers coming from all parts of the country to assist in the clean-up efforts. Though well-intended, many are not trained professionals in either the restoration or construction industries and, as a result, may not be prepared for the difficulties of working in these kinds of environments. Biological contaminants, dangerous work conditions and other safety concerns may not have been sufficiently addressed to protect those who so graciously have offered to help.     

We learned many lessons as a result of Katrina and have, for the most part, incorporated many of those into our preparations for impending disasters. It is no secret that some of the government agencies weren’t prepared for the damage that resulted from Katrina’s rage and have taken steps to avoid repeating those mistakes. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Association, was one of those who learned some very valuable lessons and taken steps to avoid a rewind.  OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed a training program to prepare those who work in disaster areas.   

Disaster Site Worker Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training Program is intended to provide necessary training to workers who provide skilled support (e.g. utility, demolition, debris removal, or heavy equipment operation) or clean-up services in response to natural and man-made disasters. All workers at disaster sites need to be aware of the differences between disaster sites and regular construction or demolition worksites and be able to inspect, don, and doff air-purifying respirators. This training is also intended to raise awareness that pre-incident training is essential to ensure worker safety and health in response to disasters. Safety and health hazards that may be encountered, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, proper decontamination procedures to mitigate hazards will be covered. Participants will support the Incident Command System (ICS) and show awareness of the effects of traumatic incident stress that can result from working conditions and measures to reduce this stress.

Who should attend this class? The intended audiences for this course are disaster site workers who provide skilled support services or site clean-up services in response to a disaster for example, construction trades, heavy equipment operators, demolitions personnel, utilities, public works, and others who may engage during or after a natural or manmade disaster.

NORMI has teamed up with Carlos Olmeda who has worked and taught in the safety industry his entire career.  Because Carlos is bi-lingual, we are able to offer this course in Spanish and English providing this training to those in both communities who need to prepare themselves for disaster site work. 

We plan to introduce the schedule for this course, and what arrangements we could make with your company for a private class, at The Experience, in Cincinnati, 04/06-08 at the same time we introduce NORMA, the 40’ Newmar MountainAire Motor Coach, as we are now ready to become an Onsite Information Center when the next major natural disaster hits.  Come visit us at the show and let us show you how you can be of professional assistance to those who desperately need your services. We’ll see you in Cincinnati.

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