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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Unexpected events

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Unexpected events such as natural disasters, water main breaks, sewage back-ups and other events can cause buildings to flood. There are a number of questions that building occupants, clean-up workers and their representatives need to consider before going in.

What makes working in a flooded or previously flooded building potentially hazardous? When returning to work in a building that has been affected by a flood, there is the potential for several hazards to be present including: -Structural stability, -Sewage back-up or flood water intrusion, -Electrical or heating system damage from water intrusion, -Water damage leading to mold growth, and -Water damaged building materials containing lead and asbestos.

Is the building structurally sound and safe to enter? Extreme events can cause buildings to be structurally unsafe to enter. Minor flooding typically does not structurally affect a building. In rare, worst-case scenario situations, buildings can be at risk of collapse. If you feel the building is unsafe to enter, don’t go in BUT do not refuse to work and go home. Be part of the solution, speak with your local leadership and your supervisor to get a structural or civil engineer to verify if the building can be occupied. If your employer refuses and you feel that you are in imminent danger contact the nearest PESH office.


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