The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Damage Restoration Company in Order to Avoid Liability Risks
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton advises that businesses hire a bonded, insured, and certified damage restoration company when a property damage disaster occurs.
SERVPRO of Carrollton, a damage restoration company serving the areas of Carrollton, Bent Tree, and Dallas, employs highly trained and certified professionals who use advanced equipment, the latest technology, and superior cleaning methods to handle all types and sizes of residential and commercial property damage disasters. As a member of a franchise family composed of over 1,700 partners, the SERVPRO of Carrollton team is an excellent choice when a swift response, quick action, and highly trained technicians are needed for a commercial cleanup and restoration project in Carrollton, TX.
An OSHA Fact Sheet entitled “Keeping Workers Safe During Disaster Cleanup and Recovery” informs employers and workers of the hazards associated with the cleanup and restoration of a property damage disaster. The document reads, “Natural disasters can cause widespread flooding and damage to property and infrastructure. Cleanup and recovery activities involve hazards that can cause serious injuries or death. OSHA urges employers and workers engaged in cleanup and recovery to be aware of these hazards and how to protect workers.”
When a business, office complex, or manufacturing facility suffers water damage, fire damage, smoke damage, sewage spill, or other types of property damage disaster, the cleanup and restoration must be accomplished swiftly, thoroughly, and safely. Long delays impact revenue and customer service. The consequences of failing to thoroughly clean up a property damage disaster can have a negative long-term impact on the health of the occupants and the equipment, machinery, supplies, raw materials, and inventory. Secondary water damage can lead to other issues, including catastrophic structure failure and mold infestation.
The OSHA Fact Sheet urges employers and employees to assess the situation and identify any safety hazards to which cleanup and restoration crews will be exposed. The fact sheet enumerates a wide array of hazards arising from the cleanup and recovery from different types of disasters. Here are some of the hazards identified by OSHA:
Disaster: Flood or Other Water Intrusion
Floodwaters, sewage spills, ruptured pipes, or other water intrusions create issues such as:
- Bacteria and other organisms from contaminated water, soil, and sewage
- Toxic substances from the industrial site
- Mold and fungi growing on wet or moist surfaces
- Burns and electrocution from water-soaked electrical panels, machinery, and damaged wiring
- Slips and falls on slippery surfaces
- Tripping over uneven surfaces or debris hidden under murky, muddy water
Cleanup Task: Tree Trimming and Debris Removal
Severe weather can topple trees, break limbs, and generate large amounts of debris that need to be removed from entrances, parking lots, loading areas, equipment, company trucks, employees’ vehicles, and the building itself. The temptation for key decision-makers, such as the operations manager or the property management supervisor, is to put employees to work cutting up fallen trees and hauling debris.
- Injuries from falling tree limbs
- Injuries from chain saws, chippers, and other equipment
- Strains or sprains from lifting tree limbs and debris
- Heat exhaustion from overexertion
Disaster: An Industrial Fire, Smoke, Water Damage Disaster
A commercial fire creates a complex and multifaceted challenge. Employees working in cleanup and restoration are exposed to a potentially fatal hazard matrix. Some of the serious hazards that employees tasked with cleanup and restoration may encounter include:
- Respiratory injury from inhaling toxic soot, ash, and gases
- Skin, eye, and nose irritation
- Injury from falling or collapsing debris
- Slip-and-fall incidents
- Back strain from lifting water-soaked items
Employees may be exposed to dangers of varying degrees, such as:
- Falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, and aerial lifts
- Carbon monoxide poisoning from working around gas- or diesel-powered generators in a confined environment
- Heart attack, stroke, or heat exhaustion from working in an unventilated or under-ventilated area at extreme temperatures
- Wound infection from exposure to water contaminated with sewage, soot, ash, and chemicals
- Exposure to toxic substances, asbestos, lead-based paint, dioxins, or other harmful or deadly chemicals created, spilled, or released by the fire or efforts to extinguish the blaze
- Being struck or run over by vehicles or equipment used in the cleanup and restoration process
The OSHA Fact Sheet quoted above also addresses the rights of the employee to have a safe working environment, adequate training for the job, and necessary protective gear related to the task at hand. A grievance procedure is also mentioned for employees who wish to file a complaint.
Concerning worker’s rights, the document states, “You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires that employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. OSHA sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training, and assistance to workers and employers. Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards.”
Liabilities and Litigation
In the push to return to business as usual, management may enlist the services of employees to handle water removal, cleanup, and restoration. Without proper training, adequate PPG, commercial-grade equipment, advanced cleaning techniques, and industry-standard cleaning solutions, employees will not be able to safely, quickly, efficiently, and safely clean up and restore the property.
The liability of potential litigation from accidents and any health effects stemming from working in a dangerous and contaminated environment could be catastrophic for the company. The best course of action is to entrust the cleanup and restoration to trained, bonded, and insured professionals who have the equipment, training, and PPG to achieve the goal of resuming normal business operations as soon and as safely as possible.
Professional and medical offices, businesses, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, educational institutions, and retail outlets can trust the restoration experts at SERVPRO of Carrollton for water, fire, storm, and commercial damage restoration. They offer twenty-four-hour emergency service, faster to any size disaster, highly trained restoration technicians, and advanced restoration and cleaning equipment.