Author Topic: Does OSHA Regulate Mold Remediation & Water/Fire Damage Claims?  (Read 191 times)

JasonYost

  • Elite Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 648
  • Empower yourself with Solutions - today!
    • View Profile
    • Solutions Indoor Environmental Consulting
Advertisement
      Over the course of my twenty-seven years in this industry, I have been asked a great many questions about water or fire damage, mold or other types of insurance claims.  Recently, within the last few years, I've noticed a growing number of restoration companies who've been told by insurance adjusters things like: This or that engineering control (e.g., containment, negative air pressure establishment and monitoring, etc.) and Personal Protective Equipment, also known as PPE, (e.g., respirators, suits, gloves, etc.) are not covered under an insurance policy.  These adjusters go so far as demand the line items for such work are removed from the restoration company's bill. 

      Now, it's not the purpose of this article to take sides on who owes what; rather, I intend to answer a specific question - Does OSHA regulate these types of claims? - and discuss the facts regarding that matter.  In order to supplement the material in this article with previously generated articles and Q & A, I recommend readers view the following:


      These articles, along with this one, should go a long way in answering any questions you have.  If they do not, please reach out to me at jasony@solutionsiec.com.  Now, to the question at hand:

      Th short answer to this question is: Yes.  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces industry-based standards (e.g., IICRC's, ACGIH's, and others' guidelines and standards) in its expectation of worker protections on water, fire and mold claims.  While some may argue that this only applies to water-damage technicians, fire-damage technicians, mold remediators, and the like, the truth of the matter is:  It applies to any worker on the work-site.  This includes but is not limited to the following:

       - Insurance Adjusters
       - Water, Fire, Mold Technicians
       - Temporary, Sub-contract & Other Forms of Labor
       - Adjoining Environments & Their Workers (not directly related to the claim)

      Quote
      But, Jason, isn't it true that OSHA hasn't written a standard specifically for these types of claims?  How can it do enforce this?

      To some degree, you are right.  There are no specific standards that say: Water-damage Restoration, or Fire-damage Restoration, or Mold Remediaiton. . . .  However, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) has enforced many industry standards without an OSHA-specific standard on the same subject (e.g., ergonomics).  They use the General Duty Clause (which can be read here: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=3359&p_table=OSHACT) to enforce industry-based standards, and the Courts have sided with them.

      That said: There are specific standards that apply to these types of claims, promulgated by OSHA (and others not questioned in this article).  You can read about some of those in the article links I put at the top of this article.  (I strongly encourage you to do so.)

      Quote
      Jason, if our policy excludes the engineering controls and PPE, do we [the insurance company] have to pay for them?

      That is a legal question best answered by an occupational safety and health lawyer; however, I would recommend you read my article (linked above) discussing why insurance companies want/need to hire an industrial hygienist on claims.  It discusses occupational safety and health laws (as it relates to adjuster protections) and other important points that your company (and you, if an adjuster) want to understand prior to limiting the application of any professional on a claim.  (Your actions may have serious consequences if you do.)


      Don't take chances, gain empowering Solutions - today!
      www.solutionsiec.com
      a:0:{}

      An Error Has Occurred!

      Call to undefined function template_ad_position()