Commercial Building Mold Violations

nyc-buildingsThere are currently no federal standards or recommendations, (e.g., OSHA, NIOSH, EPA) for airborne concentrations of mold or mold spores. This section provides a brief overview of commercial building mold violations. It does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure.

New York City accepts reports of mold in residential and commercial buildings. Before making a complaint about mold in a NYC commercial building, you should attempt to resolve the issue with your landlord, managing agent, or superintendent directly. The City also  accepts complaints about mold and mildew in commercial locations and other places that are open to the public. They also field complaints about work locations where employees are exposed to mold or mildew while working.

Below are some questions that may assist in determining whether a mold problem currently exists:

  • Are building materials or furnishings visibly moisture damaged?
  • Have building materials been wet more than 48 hours?
  • Are there existing moisture problems in the building?
  • Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odors?
  • Are building occupants reporting health problems that they think are related to mold in the indoor environment?
  • Has the building been recently remodeled or has the building use changed?
  • Has routine maintenance been delayed or the maintenance plan been altered?

If you are a commercial  building owner or landlord in Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx and you either suspect a problem or have received violation notices for mold, we can perform a free visual inspection and provide an estimate for you. Contact us today for a free consultation!

Below are OSHA Mold Remediation Guidelines:

Level I: Small Isolated Areas (10 sq. ft or less) – e.g., ceiling tiles, small areas on walls.

  • Remediation can be conducted by the regular building maintenance staff as long as they are trained on proper clean-up methods, personal protection, and potential health hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).
  • Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator) is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.
  • The work area should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants (less than 12 months old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).
  • Containment of the work area is not necessary. Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to remediation, are recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in a sealed impermeable plastic bag. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area and areas used by remediation workers for egress should be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level II: Mid-Sized Isolated Areas (10-30 sq. ft.) – e.g., individual wallboard panels.

  • Remediation can be conducted by the regular building maintenance staff. Such persons should receive training on proper clean-up methods, personal protection, and potential health hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).
  • Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator) is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.
  • The work area should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants (less than 12 months old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).
  • Surfaces in the work area that could become contaminated should be covered with a secured plastic sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/debris and prevent further contamination.
  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to remediation, are recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in a sealed impermeable plastic bag. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area and areas used by remediation workers for egress should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level III: Large Isolated Areas (30 -100 square feet) – e.g., several wallboard panels.

Industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals with experience performing microbial investigations and/or mold remediation should be consulted prior to remediation activities to provide oversight for the project.

The following procedures may be implemented depending upon the severity of the contamination:

  • It is recommended that personnel be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator). Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.
  • Surfaces in the work area and areas directly adjacent that could become decontaminated should be covered with a secured plastic sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/ debris and prevent further contamination.
  • Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.
  • The work area and areas directly adjacent should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces near the work area is recommended for infants, persons having undergone recent surgery, immunesuppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases. (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).
  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to mediation, are recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area and surrounding areas should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Note: If abatement procedures are expected to generate a lot of dust (e.g., abrasive cleaning of contaminated surfaces, demolition of plaster walls) or the visible concentration of the mold is heavy (blanket coverage as opposed to patchy), it is recommended that the remediation procedures for Level IV be followed.

Level IV: Extensive Contamination (greater than 100 contiguous square feet in an area).

Industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals with experience performing microbial investigations and/or mold remediation should be consulted prior to remediation activities to provide oversight for the project.

The following procedures may be implemented depending upon the severity of the contamination:

  • Personnel trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with:
    • Full face piece respirators with HEPA cartridges;
    • Disposable protective clothing covering entire body including both head and shoes; and
    • Gloves.
  • Containment of the affected area:
    • Complete isolation of work area from occupied spaces using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape (including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and other openings);
    • The use of an exhaust fan with a HEPA filter to generate negative pressurization; and
    • Airlocks and decontamination room.
  • If contaminant practices effectively prevent mold from migrating from affected areas, it may not be necessary to remove people from surrounding work areas. However, removal is still recommended for infants, persons having undergone recent surgery, immune- suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases. (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags. The outside of the bags should be cleaned with a damp cloth and a detergent solution or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber prior to their transport to uncontaminated areas of the building. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The contained area and decontamination room should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mopped with a detergent solution and be visibly clean prior to the removal of isolation barriers.

All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level II: Mid-Sized Isolated Areas (10-30 sq. ft.) – e.g., individual wallboard panels.

Remediation can be conducted by the regular building maintenance staff. Such persons should receive training on proper clean-up methods, personal protection, and potential health hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator) is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.

The work area should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants (less than 12 months old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).

Surfaces in the work area that could become contaminated should be covered with a secured plastic sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/debris and prevent further contamination.

Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to remediation, are recommended.

Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in a sealed impermeable plastic bag. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.

The work area and areas used by remediation workers for egress should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.

All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level III: Large Isolated Areas (30 -100 square feet) – e.g., several wallboard panels.

Industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals with experience performing microbial investigations and/or mold remediation should be consulted prior to remediation activities to provide oversight for the project.

The following procedures may be implemented depending upon the severity of the contamination:

It is recommended that personnel be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator). Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.

Surfaces in the work area and areas directly adjacent that could become decontaminated should be covered with a secured plastic sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/ debris and prevent further contamination.

Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.

The work area and areas directly adjacent should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces near the work area is recommended for infants, persons having undergone recent surgery, immunesuppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases. (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).

Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to mediation, are recommended.

Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.

The work area and surrounding areas should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent solution.

All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Note: If abatement procedures are expected to generate a lot of dust (e.g., abrasive cleaning of contaminated surfaces, demolition of plaster walls) or the visible concentration of the mold is heavy (blanket coverage as opposed to patchy), it is recommended that the remediation procedures for Level IV be followed.

Level IV: Extensive Contamination (greater than 100 contiguous square feet in an area).

Industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals with experience performing microbial investigations and/or mold remediation should be consulted prior to remediation activities to provide oversight for the project.

The following procedures may be implemented depending upon the severity of the contamination:

  • Personnel trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with:
  • Full face piece respirators with HEPA cartridges;

Disposable protective clothing covering entire body including both head and shoes; and Gloves.

Containment of the affected area:

  • Complete isolation of work area from occupied spaces using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape (including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and other openings);
  • The use of an exhaust fan with a HEPA filter to generate negative pressurization; and
  • Airlocks and decontamination room.

If contaminant practices effectively prevent mold from migrating from affected areas, it may not be necessary to remove people from surrounding work areas. However, removal is still recommended for infants, persons having undergone recent surgery, immune- suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases. (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).

Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags. The outside of the bags should be cleaned with a damp cloth and a detergent solution or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber prior to their transport to uncontaminated areas of the building. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.

The contained area and decontamination room should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mopped with a detergent solution and be visibly clean prior to the removal of isolation barriers.

As specified by OSHA in 29 CFR 1910.134 individuals who use respirators must be properly trained, have medical clearance, and be properly fit tested before they begin using a respirator. In addition, use of respirators requires the employer to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program, with worksite-specific procedures and elements.

Sources

https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html

http://www.epa.gov/iedmold1/mold_remediation.html

If you are a commercial  building owner or landlord in Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx and you either suspect a problem or have received violation notices for mold, we can perform a free visual inspection and provide an estimate for you.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

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