Thursday, September 28, 2017

AIHA Warns Property Owners Over Mold After Hurricane Season

Property owners caught in this year's hurricane season aren't out of
hot water yet as AIHA issues a mold warning for affected areas.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) issued a mold warning for property owners in areas affected by this year's hurricane season. With heavy rains followed by humidity, AIHA cautions a mold epidemic could be brewing across the southern and eastern United States.

As most property owners know, moisture breeds mold. This year, the Atlantic faced a particularly violent hurricane season that provided no shortage of moisture. Two devastating hurricanes - Harvey and Irma - left entire buildings engulfed in some of the highest levels of storm surge ever seen in the United States. With many homeowners forced to evacuate, water was allowed to seep into building foundations, under flooring, and behind walls for days.

Furthermore, as families begin to put their lives back together after hurricane season, the disturbance of these items by attempting to clean up without proper equipment means that homeowners can spread mold pores throughout their house. Once airborne, mold spores can spread through homes by air-conditioning units - the first thing most people want to turn on once their power has been restored.

With the facts laid out, it may seem like mold contamination is inevitable for affected areas. However, AIHA offered advice to owners as they begin to assess property damage.

"The subject of mold can create emotionally charged health concerns for building and homeowners but it does not have to, as long as they realize that mold contamination is beyond their control and employ the help of a qualified professional," Russell D. Hayward, Managing Director of Scientific and Technical Initiatives at AIHA, said in a recent press release.

Mold can cause illnesses ranging from respiratory infections to migraines. Improper contamination and remediation can increase the likelihood of developing illness - so in most cases, it's better to not do it yourself.

AIHA suggests for property owners to inspect all areas and items within their property including furniture and clothing. Take pictures and document everything - organized records can make remediation processes much more seamless. Additionally, AIHA tells property owners to call their insurance company and report everything damaged. As their claim is in the works, it is extremely beneficial to contact a mold inspector or health professional to perform an air quality assessment. Many insurances do not provide this service.

The sooner mold is identified, the easier it is to remediate a building. Waiting too long can put structural integrity in danger - not to mention the health of residents.

"Our hearts go out to all those who have been injured or who have lost family members and friends, homes and livelhoods. We hope all of you know we are ready to help you in any way we can," Debora Nelson, president of AIHA, said in a recent press release.

AIHA refers property owners to their Mold Resource Center to answer general questions and provide nearby resources to those struggling with mold contamination.

As hurricane season tapers out, property owners may still be in the eye of the storm. However, with proper education on mold hazards, affected owners can avoid yet another tragedy.

To learn more about AIHA's mold outreach, visit their Mold Resource Center. To learn more about mold certifications, visit Zack Academy.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Five NFL Stadiums Recognized for Progress in Energy Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy recognizes five NFL stadiums for their progress in
energy efficiency and reducing waste associated with large venues.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy highlighted five NFL stadiums kicking off football season by making strides in energy efficiency.

The report recognizes MetLife Stadium, CenturyLink Field, Lincoln Financial Field, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and M&T Bank Stadium for their commitment to address energy and water challenges. These stadiums are some of the largest sport venues in America with millions of square feet in question. Because venues are a noted source of waste, even small improvements can make a huge environmental impact.

"These iconic stadiums are using the most innovative technologies and strategies today to save energy and water," Jason Hartke, contributor to the report, said in a recent press release.

Besides saving energy, reducing waste means reducing the bottom line. The featured stadiums all reported a reduction in energy and operation costs thanks to implementing energy efficient standards.

For example, MetLife Stadium uses LED lighting and 1,350 solar panels. The stadium consumes 30% less energy than the old Giants Stadium it replaced in 2010, despite being twice as a large. The stadium also uses energy efficient appliances and HVAC in its concession stands to reduce energy expenditure.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta tackles its unique geographical challenge of flooding by collecting 1 million gallons of rainwater through its runoff system. This water is used for irrigation and the stadium's cooling system.

These NFL stadiums have scored big on energy efficiency - and many hope that it can inspire others to do the same.

"They're not just demonstrating great leadership in efficiency, they're spreading the word to millions of people across the country," added Hartke.

To read about all of the listed NFL stadiums, visit the official report. To learn more about energy efficiency and how to get involved in this rapidly developing field, visit Zack Academy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with International Insurance And Securities Institute to Offer Insurance Training in Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (September 26, 2017) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with International Insurance And Securities Institute (IISI) to offer 40-Hour Michigan Insurance Prelicensing training in Michigan.

Based in Detroit, MI, International Insurance And Securities Institute offers 40-Hour Michigan Insurance Prelicensing training for Life, Accident & Health and Property & Casualty. These courses are perfect for insurance producers, adjusters, bail bondsmen and counselors. The company’s next 40-Hour Michigan Insurance Prelicensing - Life, Accident and Health class on September 25th is required for licensing insurance agents in Michigan. The program covers a general overview of insurance concepts, laws, regulations for insurance industry in Michigan as it applies to Life, Accident, & Health insurance.

"We are excited to welcome our newest partner, International Insurance And Securities Institute to the Zack Academy Network. IISI is a respected insurance agent trainer in Detroit and adds new courses required for agents in Michigan. We look forward to making the training process simpler for students in the Detroit metro area," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About International Insurance And Securities Institute:
International Insurance And Securities Institute was set up in 2012 to help insurance entities in Michigan with the licensing of insurance and securities agents. We have over 20 years of experience in the industry both on the sales and training side. We are in the community for the community. Our goal is to help insurance agents and companies to succeed in recruiting and licensing producers every day of the year.

About Zack Academy:
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Important Certifications for Disaster Site Workers

Posted on UASCOR.com on 9/11/17

Disaster site workers, also known as response and recovery workers, are exposed to all kinds of hazards and work in an ever-changing environment. After natural disasters like hurricanes, infrastructure systems can be damaged or destroyed, creating hazards like flooding, downed live electrical wires, and chemical spills.

To protect these workers, they must be trained in hazard control methods, exposure monitoring, and safe work practices.


Identify, Avoid, Control

In any kind of working conditions, ideally, workers can identify hazards, have the knowledge and tools available to them to avoid the hazards, and control them.

When working in a disaster area, each of those things becomes a bit more complicated. The number of hazards is increased, and access to standard methodologies and tools to mitigate hazards may be decreased.

Workers should be made aware of the hazards that could be present before starting work, and safety training ahead of deployment is essential to creating that awareness, as well as informing workers about how they can avoid and control hazards in these high-risk areas. Also, the site and work should be monitored for changing conditions. For instance, in collapsed or unstable structures, engineers need to be continually evaluating the risk of working in and around the area.

Work practices such as establishing and maintaining evacuation routes and channels of communication are key in a disaster area. Setting up first aid supplies and services and making sure that fresh drinking water is available are also important considerations.

Personal Protective Equipment
Workers should be trained on the proper use and fit for any personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to mitigate hazards while completing their work. Check the ANSI-approved list for footwear, eye, hand, and head protection. Workers who are out in the sun should be instructed to wear clothing that protects them from sun exposure, and special consideration should be given to heat and cold stress.

Respiratory protection is sometimes necessary, and every worker needs to be trained, medically qualified, and fit tested for the specific respirator they are using. Hi-vis attire, fall protection, chaps, snake boots, hazmat suits, PPE for blood borne pathogens, personal flotation devices (PFDs), are all items that could potentially be required to complete work safely. Specialized training is necessary to use personal fall arrest systems, hazmat suits, and respirators among others.

Stress

Hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, bombings, are all traumatic events. Disaster site workers are deployed into highly devastated areas where people have lost lives, loved ones, and property. Apart from first responders, they are there to clean up and rebuild and are part of the community’s effort towards recovery. Terrible conditions, long hours, and lack of sleep can take a physical toll. Being on high alert and witnessing the devastation around them can take a mental toll. Workers need to be trained on how to prepare for the stress and exhaustion that come with working in a disaster area.

Training and Certifications for Disaster Site Workers

Disaster site workers need to be properly trained and prepared for working in a disaster zone. There are several different classes that cover important topics and a few OSHA certification classes specifically designed for disaster workers.

OSHA Disaster Site Worker #7600
This OSHA program educates workers who are involved in utility work, demolition, debris removal, heavy equipment operation and clean-up operations to support disaster recovery.

There are two levels of the OSHA Disaster Site Worker course, a 7.5 hour and a 15-hour course. An OSHA 10 or 30 Hour Construction or General Industry certification is a pre-requisite to both of these courses. The 7.5 and 15-hour courses both cover respiratory protection, incident command system, traumatic incident stress, personal protective equipment, and decontamination procedures, with the 15-hour course going more in depth on these topics.

Confined Space
A confined space is a space that was not designed to be occupied for long periods, but they are large enough for workers to enter to complete a task. Confined spaces have a limited means of entering and exiting. Sewer systems, tanks, silos, utility housings and pipelines are all good examples of confined spaces and are likely to need repairs, monitoring or maintenance done after a disaster. Confined space training prepares workers to recognize and avoid potential hazards like trapped toxic gases, engulfment, exposed live wires, and heat stress.

24 & 40 Hour HAZWOPER and HAZWOPER Refresher
There are three different types of HAZMAT courses that OSHA has authorized for workers who may be exposed to, or be responsible for clean-up operations involving hazardous substances.

The 24 Hour HAZWOPER is the minimum requirement for workers who are required to respond to uncontrolled releases or incidents where there is a potential for an uncontrolled release of hazardous substances but is not as in-depth as the 40 Hour Course.

The 40 Hour HAZWOPER course is recommended for participants who will be actively involved in the cleanup of a hazardous material spill, as well as being a first responder and responsible for controlling the spill.

Those who have achieved their 40 Hour HAZWOPER certifications must take an 8-hour refresher annually.

GHS & Hazard Communication (HAZCOM)
This general awareness course familiarizes participants with the Global Harmonized System (GHS) of hazard communication. GHS was derived from major hazard communication systems across the world, including OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. Participants will be able to recognize the hazard communication symbols under GHS, become familiar with safety data sheets, and hazard classifications.

Fall Protection
All construction workers should be trained in fall protection. In a disaster recovery operation, the conditions are likely to be unstable, and fall protection is essential to complete certain work. There are different levels of fall protection from a general awareness course to a 24-hour Competent Person Fall Protection that complies with the US Army Corps of Engineers EM 385 standard. Important topics for all workers to get an understanding of include, the hierarchy of controls, personal fall protection systems and fall protection principles.
OSHA 10 Hour and 30 Hour Construction
OSHA 10 hour Construction certification is rapidly becoming required by states and other governing agencies for any worker to perform work on, or even gain access to, a public works construction project. Also, private companies are demanding it as a contractual requirement. There will not be an exception with recovery and rebuilding projects, especially considering the additional risks.

The OSHA 30 hour Construction certification expands on and dives deeper into the topics of the 10 hour and is a good certification for supervisors and anyone with responsibility for a safety program to have. In addition, an OSHA 10 or 30-hour certification is a prerequisite to the OSHA Disaster Site Worker Course #7600.

Blood Borne Pathogens and Needle Stick Prevention
Blood borne pathogens training contains essential information for anyone who may come into contact with blood, other bodily fluids or waste. There is a higher risk of exposure in a disaster setting, and being trained on how to protect yourself from exposure can prevent you from contracting serious illnesses, bacteria, and viruses.

First Aid, CPR & AED Training
Everyone should learn first aid and CPR, and that certainly includes workers in a disaster recovery setting. There are different types of First Aid, CPR & AED classes. Some like the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support and HeartSaver, while accessible to anyone, are geared to first responders and medical professionals. The National Safety Council also has a First Aid, CPR & AED course that is geared more towards those in the trade industries. No matter what type of course it is, knowing CPR and first aid, and understanding how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) can save a life.

Disaster recovery is incredibly important work in every community. Recovery operations impact the health and wellness of the community, as well as its economic stability. It is hard to protect disaster site workers from hazards, but the right training is the best first step.

Resources
There are other classes and informational resources that can help prepare disaster site workers, first responders, and businesses for the work they must to support the recovery process from a catastrophic event.

More information can be found here:
UASC Training Catalog
NFPA 1600 Standard on Disaster/ Emergency Management and Business Continuity
OSHA Emergency Preparedness and Response


Guest Post written by Meg Whynot-Young, Director of Marketing from United Alliance Services.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Understanding Authorized, Qualified and Competent Persons


Throughout the newly revised Subpart D, as well as the new standard for fall protection PPE, OSHA uses terms to describe various types of employees who may be assigned responsibilities based on their knowledge, abilities and qualifications. I’ve had a number of questions from clients asking about the terms and under what circumstances such designated persons should be assigned. While there is nothing new about OSHA’s use of these terms, it can be a bit confusing trying to keep the terms separate and remember whom should do what. This post is intended to help sort out and simplify that requirement.

Authorized Person
An authorized person is an employee whom the employer assigns or grants authorization to perform a specific type of duty, or allows in a specific location or area.

Loading rack, loading dock, or teeming platforms: There may be circumstances, while working on loading racks, loading docks, or teeming platforms, under which fall protection systems (equipment, device, or system that prevents an employee from falling from an elevation or mitigates the effect of such a fall) is not feasible. If the employer can demonstrate the infeasibility of such systems then they need only meet the following requirements:
  • The work operation for which fall protection is infeasible is in process;
  • Access to the platform is limited to authorized employees; and,
  • The authorized employees are trained in accordance with §1910.30. [1910.28(b)(1)(iii)]
Repair pits, service pits, and assembly pits less than 10 feet in depth: OSHA does not require the use of fall protection around repair pits, service pits, and assembly pits which are less than 10 feet deep as long as, in addition to other requirements, only authorized employees are allowed within six feet of the pit edge. The authorized employees must have received training as required under 1910.30.

[1910.28(b)(8)(i)]

Slaughtering facility platforms: There may be times when a guardrail or travel restraint system is not feasible. In such circumstances, the work may be done without those systems provided:
  • The work operation for which fall protection is infeasible is in process;
  • Access to the platform is limited to authorized employees; and
  • The authorized employees are trained in accordance with §1910.30.
[1910.28(b)(14)(ii)]

Qualified Person
A qualified person is a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.
Knots in lanyards or vertical lifeline: To ensure lanyards or vertical lifelines meet minimum qualifications described in 1910.140(c)(4) and (5), a competent person or qualified person must inspect each knot in a lanyard or vertical lifeline before any employee uses them. [1910.140(c)(6)]

Horizontal lifeline: Each horizontal lifeline shall be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person. [1910.140(c)(11)(i)]

Anchorages: Anchorages, except window cleaners’ belt anchors covered by 1910.140(e), must be designed, installed, and used, under the supervision of qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall protection system that maintains a safety factor of at least two. [1910.140(c)(13)(ii)]

Rope descent system:
Before any rope descent system is used, the building owner must inform the employer, in writing that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds, in any direction, for each employee attached. The information must be based on an annual inspection by a qualified person and certification of each anchorage by a qualified person, as necessary, and at least every 10 years. [1910.27(b)(1)(i)]

The rope descent system shall be used only in accordance with instructions, warnings, and design limitations set by the manufacturer or under the direction of a qualified person; [1910.27(b)(2)(ii)]

Training: The employer must ensure that each employee is trained by a qualified person. [1910.30(a)(2)]

Correction or repair of walking or working surfaces:
When any correction or repair involves the structural integrity of the walking-working surface, a qualified person shall perform or supervise the correction or repair. [1910.22(d)(3)]

Competent Person
A competent person is a person who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in any personal fall protection system or any component of it, as well as in their application and uses with related equipment, and who has authorization to take prompt, corrective action to eliminate the identified hazards.

Knots in lanyards or vertical lifeline: To insure lanyards or vertical lifelines meet minimum qualifications described in 1910.140(c)(4) and (5), a competent person or qualified person must inspect each knot in a lanyard or vertical lifeline before any employee uses them. [1910.140(c)(6)]

If any component of a personal fall protection system is subjected to impact loading, it must be removed from service immediately and not used again until a competent person inspects the system or components and determines that it is not damaged and is safe for use for employee personal fall protection. [1910.140(c)(17)]

Hopefully, this will clarify understanding. If you should have questions or desire assistance, please feel free to visit the EI Group, Zack Academy's training partner.

Guest Post written by Bill Taylor, CSP from the EI Group.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Health Impact Project Recommends 10 Policies to Stop Lead Poisoning

The Health Impact Project recommended 10 policies to stop lead
poisoning after publishing a 144-page report on lead laws.

Last week, the Health Impact Project - a partnership between the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts - released a cost-benefit analysis of policies aimed to reduce childhood lead poisoning. Led by a team of researchers across various fields, the report zones in on ten policies that could earn communities billions in future gains by investing in their citizens.

Some of the key policies recommended by the Health Impact Project include:
  • Reduce lead in drinking water in homes built before 1986 and other places children frequent. 
  • Increase enforcement of the federal renovation, repair, and painting rule. 
  • Remove lead paint hazards from low-income housing built before 1960 and other places children spend time. 
  • Fill gaps in research to better target state and local prevention and response efforts. 
  • Ensure access to developmental and neurological assessments and appropriate programs for children with elevated blood lead levels. 
The policies follow a prevention, reduction and remediation plan to help affected children and stop new cases of lead poisoning in their tracks. Lead poisoning is associated with blood, brain, skeletal and muscular impairment. In children, chronic lead exposure can have lasting effects that seriously undermine their adult well-being.

Health Impact Project estimated that implementing these policies into state-level and federal governments could yield $84 billion in potential savings over a lifetime. These projected earnings come from savings made in healthcare, education, federal and state aid, and the criminal justice system. For example, ensuring all contractors comply with the Lead Safe renovation rule could protect over 200,000 children born in 2018 and save $4.5 billion in healthcare and criminal justice costs - or about three dollars per every dollar spent enforcing the rule.

Although the policy initiatives seem lofty, none of them are presented without precedent. The report includes case studies from hundreds of municipalities with success in implementing their own lead safe laws.

To read the report in full, visit the official publication. To learn more about lead safety, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.