Recent Posts

Asbestos

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

It’s hard to imagine another word that has caused more concern when uttered for such a long time. This word has caused more project delays and cost over runs than any other that comes to mind. We are still constantly bombarded with advertisements from personal injury lawyers, promising you monetary relief from a product that was for the most part banned from use in 1989. In 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture, importation, processing and distribution of asbestos-containing products. The ruling was overturned in 1993, however, allowing for certain asbestos-containing products to be manufactured in the United States. Over 20-years later we are still dealing with government regulations to handle asbestos. Because asbestos presents a significant risk to human health when released to air, asbestos is considered a hazardous air pollutant regulated under the EPA National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations.

Employees' Rights to Protection From Asbestos Exposure

If you work with or around significant amounts of asbestos as part of your job -- or if you're worried about exposure to asbestos in the workplace -- talk to your supervisor or union about any health risks and the steps that are being taken to minimize those risks.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other workplace safety agencies are supposed to carefully regulate and monitor asbestos exposure on the job -- they even set permissible exposure limits for different kinds of industries. So chances are, if your job does involve exposure to significant levels of asbestos, your employer is legally required to take certain steps to protect you and your coworkers from any health risks involving asbestos.

Depending on the industry you work in and the specifics of your job, you may be legally entitled to receive -- and your employer may be legally obligated to provide -- the following kinds of on-the-job protections from asbestos exposure:

  • training of employees who will be working with and around asbestos
  • properly ventilated workspaces
  • monitoring of employees for asbestos exposure levels (including daily monitoring for workers involved in the removal of asbestos-containing materials)
  • warning signs and instructions in areas where asbestos-related work is performed
  • protective clothing like coveralls, gloves, foot coverings, face shields, and goggles
  • protective equipment like respirators
  • showers and other post-exposure precautions, and
  • medical examinations for certain workers who are exposed to high levels of asbestos.

In your home or your business it is important to test for asbestos. Your health is important

Article source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/asbestos-workplace-33066.html and https://thelawsongroup.com/asbestos-your-business-how-it-impacts-renovations/

Why businesses should go green

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

Why businesses should go green

Has your business gone green? It seems to be the popular thing to do now. and here's why

Legal and tax advantages: Florida businesses are also eligible for a sales tax exemption for using solar energy systems, equipment, machinery, and other renewable energy technologies. The Solar Energy System Incentives Program allows Florida companies to take rebates, and the Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficient Technologies Grants Program provides grants for Florida companies using solar and renewable energy sources to run the business. Additionally, the IRS allows businesses that use company cars such as Hybrids to take an alternative motor vehicle credit on federal taxes.

Public response: Companies such as Walmart and target have incorporated green changes such as composing and recycling, changing transportation routes to save gas, reducing packaging, and stocking their shelves with greener products. As a result, these companies have seen customers respond positively to the changes, with green product sales alone jumping somewhere around 20 percent as of 2010.  

Improved workplace: Green cleaning supplies can help employees. Some companies have taken going green a step further, by converting leftover food waste from the cafeteria into methane to supply the building with energy.

Reduced waste: Reducing unnecessary waste can trim operating costs for the business. Refilling ink cartridges instead of throwing then away. Which also reduces the amount of plastic being thrown away. Offering hybrid vehicles to company employees can also save money for companies that refund employee mileage on fuel prices.  

Article source: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/businesses-should-green-766.html

Mold and your business

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Mold and your business

Mold is a favored word among lawyers and a feared word among building owners, employers and landlords.

Lawsuits arising out of mold. Multi-million dollar verdicts are not unheard of. Mold, in the words of some, is becoming "the next asbestos."

Mold has even reached the attention of the U.S. Congress. Last year, Representative John Conyers of Detroit introduced a proposed bill, the "United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act of 2002," intended to set standards for indoor mold levels and to provide for related research.

Due to increased public awareness,

almost mounting to hysteria, the number of legal claims is sure to mount. Workers who believe they are being exposed to mold may not want to work, their productivity may decline and they may file worker's compensation and disability claims

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent excessive moisture in buildings. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices since the 1970s, which resulted in tightly sealed buildings with diminished ventilation, contributing to moisture vapor buildup. Other moisture problems may result from roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under a building, or unvented combustion appliance. Delayed or insufficient maintenance may contribute to moisture problems in buildings. Improper maintenance and design of building heating/ventilating/air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as insufficient cooling capacity for an air conditioning system, can result in elevated humidity levels in a building.

Mold prevention tips include:

  • Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
  • Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
  • Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
  • Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
  • Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
  • Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
  • Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.

If you have Mold present call SERVPRO today. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it "Like it never even happened." 440-887-9000

Article source: http://www.ehstoday.com/mag/ehs_imp_36553 and https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html

Workplace safety

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Workplace safety

In the past 50 years, there has been a steady increase in workplace safety awareness and a steady decrease in workplace fatalities and injuries. Since 1970, work-related fatalities have decreased more than 66 percent, and occupational injuries and illnesses have dropped 67 percent, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). During that same period, the US workforce has nearly doubled.

But despite this evident progress, the rate of improvement has slowed in recent years. The one essential ingredient that can sustain the downward trend in workplace fatalities and injuries is complete commitment to safety in the workplace.

Safety is a Team Effort

Educate everyone in the workplace about the safety requirements and consider posting a list of workplace safety tips. A workplace safety training will help them reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses from occurring in the workplace.

Always keep the communication lines open with your co-workers, employers, or employees in order to promote and maintain a safe environment.

Immediately notify others of any (new or old) hazards that you perceive.

Be alert to hazards that could affect anyone— not just yourself; in this respect, maintain a team mentality at all times.

Report a hazardous condition immediately to your manager or supervisor.

Be conscious as to what others are doing around you, and do your best to ensure you don’t pose a hazard to them (and vice versa).

Every workplace and job is different and that will vary on job safety protocols but one of the most important things is to talk to your employees, make sure they feel safe in there work environment. Here at SERVPRO we do daily training exercises along with equipment training to ensure that employees follow safety guidelines.

Article source: https://safety.grainger.com/people/building-commitment?gclid=CjwKCAiA693RBRAwEiwALCc3u9ZwUJK10wjtPgheA7TAxwKkAzX2cDLbs_rtBxdmuvfMGokvoLJB-xoC_nUQAvD_BwE&cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PPC-_-WZLG3006&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!{creative}!{matchtype}!{placement}!{network}!!safety%20in%20the%20workplace%20tips&ef_id=WjfIpQAAAIj5knFi:20171218220819:s and http://www.atlantictraining.com/safety-tips/workplace-safety-tips.php

How to protect your business from being robbed

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Robbery prevention tips

If you own a business, particularly one that deals in cash, there is a good chance that one day it may be robbed. If you are lucky, the robbery will occur after the business is closed and all of your employees have gone home. If not, you, your employees and possibly your customers could be faced with a very dangerous situation.

There are effective measures that business owners, managers, and employees can take that will protect the assets of the business and make it safer for employees.

  • Always have two or more employees open and close the business.
  • Install an effective alarm system that is monitored.
  • Use surveillance cameras behind the cash register and facing out to the front of the counter.
  • Also, install surveillance cameras in areas where a person could hide.
  • Keep the outside doors in backrooms locked when not in use.
  • Have lockers or locked desks so employees can lock up any personal valuables, purses, or medications.
  • Do not release personal information about employees to strangers and shred all past employee records when trashing it.
  • Keep a low cash balance in the cash registers.
  • Make regular bank deposits of excess money or lock it in a safe.
  • Vary the times and the routes used to go to the bank to make deposits.
  • Avoid sending one person to the bank with a deposit.
  • Avoid making deposits late at night.
  • Do not carry the deposit openly in a deposit bag.
  • Avoid hanging signs or putting displays on windows or around the sales counter that will obstruct the view of the register.
  • In areas that are blocked by shelving, walls or other obstructions, hang concave mirrors.
  • Do careful reference checks on employees that are hired.
  • Have policies in place concerning employees' friends or relatives hanging around the business.
  • Customers should be greeted when they enter the business and train employees to make eye contact and engage with the customers. An alert staff can quickly deter a would-be robber.
  • Train employees not to take risks, but to call the police if they see suspicious people inside or lurking outside of the business.
  • Keep your business well lit both inside and out and focus on areas where someone could hide.
  • Trim trees and bushes so that they do not become hiding places for robbers by blocking light.
  • Become friends with the local police officers. Encourage them to stop by your business.
  • If possible, use only one cash register at night. Leave the drawers on the other cash registers opened and tilt the money tray so that it will show that it is empty.
  • Do not tempt robbers by balancing the cash register by the cash desk. Take it to a back office to count it.
  • Train employees to be alert when handling money. It is easy to make a one dollar bill look like a twenty dollar bill to an employee that is not paying attention.
  • Do not completely cover the windows of the business by closing blinds are pulling curtains at closing time. Always leave them only partially closed.

Article source: https://www.thoughtco.com/robbery-prevention-tips-for-businesses-972958

Fire safety tips for your business

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire safety tips for your business

Remove Clutter That Could Potentially Fuel a Fire

Keep your working areas clear of paper, trash and anything else that could act as kindling for a potential fire. You should make your garbage cans easily accessible, and be sure to empty them regularly. Similarly, you should make a conscious effort to ensure that there are no obstacles blocking access to emergency exits. Overall, you should perform a close inspection of your workspaces with an eye toward removing anything that could create sparks or fuel a fire.

Pay Special Attention to Extension Cords and Frayed Wiring

Extension cords are a common fire hazard because they're not intended for permanent use. The extension must be properly rated for the intended use, or it can cause frayed and exposed wires, thereby creating a fire hazard. Many local fire codes require extension cords to have surge protectors in case electrical circuits get overloaded. These surge protectors will automatically shut the power off if the electricity shorts out. To be on the safe side, you should always try to plug items directly into wall outlets, rather than relying on extension cords. And if you do have to use extension cords, you should inspect your wiring at least once a month to identify and fix any frayed wiring.

Escape Routes and Meeting Places: Determine and mark the fastest and safest paths to safety. Post maps (with “you are here” marks) in breakrooms and near exits — which should be clearly indicated with signs. Put up reminders that elevators cannot be used during most emergencies. Check emergency lighting in stairwells and make sure they aren’t used as storage areas. Create a procedure for evacuating employees and patrons with special needs, especially if the escape route includes stairs. Select a meeting place far enough away from the building to allow full access to the property by firefighters and other emergency personnel.

Emergency Procedures: Make sure employees know that the safety officer is in charge during emergencies. Identify by name and title (whenever possible) the people responsible for contacting the fire department, accounting for employees at the meeting place and assisting emergency personnel with information on equipment or chemicals housed in the building. Keep an up-to-date list of emergency contact information. Outline who notifies the next of kin of injured parties, and designate one person to notify emergency responders of people still in the office or unaccounted for.

Most “business and mercantile” fires occurred when the premises were less populated. One-third of the fires (31 percent) occurred between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am, but created two-thirds (67 percent) of the direct property damage. Nineteen percent occurred on weekends and created 31 percent of the damage. A lot of fires also broke out between noon and 2:00 pm.

Twenty-nine percent of commercial blazes were caused by cooking equipment and resulted in 6 percent of the direct property damage; 22 percent began in the kitchen or cooking area, causing just one percent of direct damage.

Prevent

  • Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for maximum volt/wattage load for surge protectors, power strips and adapters, and ask your electrician to periodically inspect these items and outlets for potential overload
  • Replace frayed power cords; never run them under rugs or carpeting, use cord protectors instead
  • Unplug appliances (coffeemakers, microwaves) and other equipment not in use at the end of the day and over the weekend
  • Replace appliances that feel warm or hot to touch
  • Ask the fire marshal to inspect chemical and equipment storage areas periodically to ensure proper ventilation and stowage
  • Store hazardous materials according to manufacturers’ instructions and OSHA regulations. Clearly mark these items to help emergency personnel identify and stabilize them
  • Don’t prop fire doors open or block exits with furniture or boxes
  • Don’t allow paper and other trash to accumulate outside of garbage or recycling receptacles, and never store this material near hot equipment, electrical outlets or the smoking areas
  • Don’t permit employees to burn candles, scented oils, etc., even in their personal work areas
  • Following the four P’s is the best way to protect your business and your employees.

Article source: https://www.adp.com/thrive/articles/5-fire-safety-tips-to-protect-your-business-1-1218.aspx and https://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/tech-services/explore-tips-and-advice/tech-articles/tips-for-fire-prevention-and-preparedness-at-the-office.html

Hurricanes

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricanes

The strongest winds in a hurricane are generally found in the right side of the hurricane’s eye wall, the area closest to the center.

Once a hurricane makes landfall, wind speed will begin to decrease, and within 12 hours will have slowed significantly. However, winds can remain at hurricane strength well inland.

Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes, which can increase destruction. These tornadoes generally occur in the right front quadrant of the storm, and in thunderstorms embedded in the hurricane, but not immediately near the center.

Not all hurricanes produce tornadoes, while some develop multiple tornadoes. According to the National Hurricane Center, “studies have shown that more than half of the land-falling hurricanes produce at least one tornado.

How Are Hurricanes Named? One reason hurricanes are named is because more than one may exist at the same time. Names make it easier to keep track of and talk about storms.

A storm is given a name if it reaches tropical storm strength. That name stays with the storm if it goes on to become a hurricane.

Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order as they occur. The names come from lists of names that are maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization.

There are six lists of names. Each year starts with the next list. The same lists are reused every six years. Names of storms that are very deadly or costly are removed from the lists and replaced with new names.

What Are the Parts of a Hurricane?

  • Eye: The eye is the "hole" at the center of the storm. Winds are light and skies are only partly cloudy, sometimes even clear, in this area.
  • Eye wall: The eye wall is a ring of thunderstorms swirling around the eye. The wall is where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest.
  • Rain bands: Spiral bands of clouds, rain and thunderstorms extend out from a hurricane's eye wall. These bands stretch for hundreds of miles and sometimes contain tornadoes.

Preparing Your Home

  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

After a Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

Article source: http://hurricanesafety.org/storm-stats/wind-damage/ and https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-are-hurricanes-58.html and https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Guide to Mold Colors and What They Mean

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Guide to Mold Colors and What They Mean

Green, brown, yellow or black, mold has no place in your home

Mold works non-stop to keep the planet going by breaking down organic matter — but we still don’t want it in the house, and for awfully good reason. Whether it’s black, brown, green or pink, experts agree you should get rid of it. “Any visible mold should be removed, no matter what its color or species,” says Tiina Reponen, PhD, professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati. “In a healthy building, you don’t have visible mold.”

Like most fungi, molds grow best in damp conditions — think bathrooms and basements. If the spores find a moist surface to land on, they grow.

Although “toxic mold” is a misnomer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency notes some molds do produce toxic substances called mycotoxins.

Here, a color guide to molds commonly found in the house.

Green

If you see green mold, it could be just about any type of unwelcome fungus. There are more than a hundred thousand types of mold — and thousands of species of green mold. So what does the color green tell you? Not much.

Olive-green, brown, grey or black

These are common molds in the Cladosporium genus. Outdoors, they lurk on plant leaves. Indoors, they're often found on walls and insulation and can grow on damp carpet, too.

Blue, green, or white

These molds, also common, belong to the Penicillium genus. You’re right if you think that a type of this mold was used to make penicillin many years ago. It’s usually found on food and walls.

Yellow, green or black

These may be Aspergillus molds. People breathe in these molds every day.

Black or grey

These could be Alternaria, which is most common as an outdoor mold, growing around damp, dusty areas, soil and plants. But it has made its way indoors. In one study, Alternaria was found in more than 90 percent of house dust samples.

Pink

The pink “mold” often seen in the bathroom in the form of a slimy, pinkish discoloration on sinks and tubs is actually bacteria, not mold. Specifically, it's Serratia marcescens. It thrives on soap and shampoo residues.

Greenish-black

This mold, of the Stachbotrys genus, is the infamous “black mold”. It's less common than the molds described above — and possibly less dangerous than news reports would have you believe. It prefers to live on high-cellulose, low-nitrogen surfaces, which include drywall, gypsum board, paper, dust and lint that is regularly exposed to moisture. The CDC notes, "Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth."

Article source: http://www.safebee.com/home/guide-to-mold-colors-what-they-mean

The Dangers of Fireworks

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

The Dangers of Fireworks

Fires   Fires are a huge risk when it comes to big festivities like Christmas, Bonfire Night and New Year. They take seconds to occur, yet they can leave a permanent mark on properties and individuals affected.   When it comes to fireworks, the biggest cause of fires is inadequate space. If you don’t have enough space to set off fireworks safely, you risk it hitting a tree or surrounding property. This will increase the risk of fire, especially if the firework hasn’t cooled down or is still lit.   These risks are not the only problems caused by fireworks, but they are the most common. To avoid them, it is best to prioritize safety and find a wide, open space for your fireworks display. If the worst happens though, you should enlist the help of a professional fire restoration service. At SERVPRO Parma/Seven Hills we specialize in Water Mitigation, Mold Remediation, and Fire Restoration.

Animals can also cause harm during fireworks

When frightened by fireworks, horses and dogs have been known to injure themselves and others by running away, potentially causing accidents and damage to property.

Fun but dangerous

Even if you have the right home insurance coverage, setting off fireworks on your property entails explosive risks. Fireworks are designed to shoot hot sparks in every direction and can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA).

More fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day, according to NFPA, and more than half of these fires are caused by Americans shooting off rockets in their backyards. In 2008, fireworks caused about 22,500 fires and $42 million in property damage.

In addition to putting your home and your neighbors' homes) in danger, fireworks can cause serious injuries. In 2008, hospital emergency rooms treated about 7,000 fireworks-related injuries, according to NFPA. About 40 percent of these injuries happened to children younger than age 15. Hands, fingers and eyes were the most injured body parts -- and sparklers and small firecrackers were the most common culprits.

Things that can go wrong:

Fireworks tipping over

Shots going off at ground level

Part filled fireworks

Fall out over the audience

Cross ignition

A fuse lights but nothing happens

Article source: http://www.relkogroup.com/fireworks-what-are-the-risks/ and https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/explosives-fireworks/fireworks/effects-of-fireworks and https://www.netquote.com/home-insurance/fourth-of-july-firework-safety

Pets with storm anxiety

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm anxiety with pets

Clinical Signs Vary Based on Animal

While clinical signs vary, the most common reported include panting, pacing, hiding, drooling and following people through the home.2 Some animals, perhaps more severely affected, may be destructive to items in their environment. Although there have been several studies on dogs in storms, far less information is available on cats. In one study on firework anxiety, dogs exhibited more overt signs like pacing and panting, while cats hid and cowered.3 This difference is likely to occur during storms as well. While it is difficult to miss a 90-pound Labrador jumping on your bed during a storm at 2 a.m., it is easy to miss a hiding cat. This does not mean cats are any less afraid than their canine counterparts. Instead, owners have to be more vigilant for subtle signs of anxiety because cats are equally in need of treatment.

What about scolding or punishing my dog?

Do not punish your dog when he is scared, it only confirms to him that there is something to fear and will make him worse. In addition, if you are upset or anxious about your pet's behavior, this will also make your dog more anxious.

Can I do anything to reduce the impact of the noise and flashes from the fireworks or storms?

Treatment should focus first on reducing anxiety and providing an appropriate environment during storms. Once that is accomplished, the behavior can be modified through training. Behavior modification helps change the way the pet feels when it experiences the storms. However, without reducing anxiety, most pets have a difficult time learning how to be calm during storms. There are several different avenues to pursue for decreasing anxiety, including behavior training, creating safe spaces, pheromones, pressure wraps and supplements.

At the approach of thunderstorm season, try to ensure that your dog has access to a well-curtained or blacked-out room when the storm begins. Blacking out the room removes the additional problems of flashing lights, flares etc.

Provide plenty of familiar toys and games that might help to distract the pet.

Try to arrange company for your dog rather than leaving him alone in the room.

Close all the windows and doors so the sound is muffled as much as possible. Try taking your pet to a room or area of the house where the stimuli will be at their mildest and the dog can be most easily distracted. Sometimes placing nested cardboard boxes or a blanket over the cage can greatly mute the sound. Be certain however that there is enough air circulation so that the pet does not overheat.

"Ignore the noises yourself and try to involve your pet in some form of active game."

Provide background noise from the radio or television. Rap or similar music with a lot of constant drum beats does help. The volume does not have to be loud as long as the music has a strong beat that acts as a distraction and prevents him from concentrating on the noises outside. Other background noises such as a fan running or even "white" noise devices can help to block outdoor noises.

Article source: https://www.texvetpets.org/article/storm-anxiety/ and https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/helping-dogs-with-severe-phobias-during-storms-and-fireworks