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Health and Safety Categories: F-R

A-E |   F-R  | S-Z

Fire Hazards   ^

Action / Allowability: Correction of fire hazards is allowed when necessary to safely perform weatherization.  

Testing: Check for fire hazards in the home during the audit and while performing weatherization. 

Client Education  Inform client of observed hazards.  

Training: How to identify fire hazards.

Formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and other Air Pollutants   ^

Action / Allowability: Removal of pollutants is allowed and is required if they pose a risk to workers.  If pollutants pose a risk to workers and removal cannot be performed or is not allowed by the client, the unit must be deferred.

Testing: Sensory inspection.

Client Education: Inform client of observed condition and associated risks.  Provide client with written materials on safety and proper disposal of household pollutants.

Training: How to recognize potential hazards and when removal is necessary.  

Injury Prevention of Occupants and Weatherization Workers   ^

Action / Allowability: Workers must take all reasonable precautions against performing work on homes that will subject workers or occupants to health and safety risks.  Minor repairs and installation may be conducted only when necessary to effectively weatherize the home; otherwise these measures are not allowed.

Testing: Observe if dangers are present that would prevent weatherization. 

Client Education: Inform client of observed hazards and associated risks.

Training: Awareness of potential hazards.

Lead Based Paint Safety   ^

Lead is a poison, most dangerous in the form of dust and fumes. The primary concern for weatherization workers and clients is the use of lead in paints and varnishes. Lead paint can be found on any painted surface inside or outside the home. Lead paint safe work may be charged as a weatherization activity.

Incidence of Lead Paint in Single-family Homes
Any home built before 1978 may contain lead paint. After 1940, paint manufacturers voluntarily began to reduce the amount of lead they added to their consumer paints. As a result, painted surfaces in homes built before 1940 are likely to have higher levels of lead than homes built between 1940 and 1978.

Mobile Homes
Lead paint was not used in the manufacture of mobile homes but may be found in varnishes and stains in mobile homes remodeled before 1978.

Lead Safe Weatherization:
A Training and Reference Manual for Weatherization Managers and Crews is available from the Montana Weatherization Training Center. To obtain a copy of the manual, contact Mike Vogel, of the  Montana Weatherization Training Center at Montana State University, at

View a list of  Frequently Asked Questions about Lead Safe Weatherization.

EHC no longer operates the National Lead Information Hotline and Clearinghouse. The new provider of those services may be reached by calling (800) 424-LEAD or by completing  this form.

Action / Allowability: Follow EPA's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP).  In addition to RRP, Weatherization requires all weatherization crews working in pre-1978 housing to be trained in Lead Safe Weatherization (LSW).  Deferral is required when the extent and condition of lead-based paint in the house would potentially create further health and safety hazards.  

Testing: Testing is allowed.  Job site set up and cleaning verification is required by a Certified Renovator.

Client Education: Follow RRP requirements.

Training: All weatherization crews working on pre-1978 homes must receive LSW training and be accompanied by an EPA Certified Renovator.  Grantee Monitors/Inspectors must be Certified Renovators and receive LSW training.  

Mold and Moisture   ^

Mold is part of the natural environment. Outdoors, mold plays a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on wet surfaces. There are many types of mold, none of which will grow without water or moisture.

Mold  can cause  health problems. Mold produces allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, including hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common and can be immediate or delayed. Mold can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both people who are and are not allergic.

It is not possible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors, but mold will grow only if moisture is present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold but don't fix the water problem,  most likely the mold problem will reoccur.

Action / Allowability: Limited water damage repairs that can be addressed by weatherization workers and correction of moisture and mold creating conditions are allowed when necessary in order to weatherize the home and to ensure the long term stability and durability of the measures.  Where severe mold and moisture issues cannot be addressed, deferral is required.  

Testing: Visual assessment is required and diagnostics such as moisture meters are recommended pre and prior to final inspection.  Mold testing is not an allowable cost.

Client Education: Provide client notification and disclaimer on mold and moisture awareness.  

Training: National curriculum on mold and moisture or equivalent. 

Occupant Preexisting or Potential Health Conditions   ^

Action / Allowability: When a person’s health may be at risk and/or the work activities could constitute a health or safety hazard, the occupant at risk will be required to take appropriate action based on severity of risk.  Temporary relocation of at-risk occupants may be allowed on a case by case basis.  Failure or the inability to take appropriate actions must result in deferral.

Testing: Require occupant to reveal known or suspected health concerns as part of initial application for weatherization.  Screen occupants again during audit.   

Client Education: Provide client information of any known risks.  Provide worker contact information so client can inform of any issues.  

Training: How to assess occupant preexisting conditions and determining what action to take if the home is not deferred.  Awareness of potential hazards. 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Crew Safety   ^

Safety on a weatherization work site is of utmost importance. The purpose of WAP policies is to keep weatherization workers and the families they serve safe and healthy. 

OSHA standards address: 
Field Workers must demonstrate the ability to: 
  • Select, fit, and use the appropriate PPE for a particular task;
  • Safely use basic hand and power tools;
  • Use a basic first aid kit to treat common job-site injuries;
  • Work lead safe;
  • Identify serious mold conditions;
  • Assess work area safety hazards;
  • Think of all of these things as prerequisites for the job.
Personal Protection Equipment Includes: 
  • Hard hats
  • Dust masks
  • Eye protection

Action / Allowability: Workers must follow OSHA standards and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and take precautions to ensure the health and safety of themselves and other workers.  MSDS must be posted wherever workers may be exposed to hazardous materials.  

Testing: Grantees must perform assessments to determine if crews are utilizing safe work practices.

Client Education: Not applicable.

Training: Use and importance of personal protection equipment.  OSHA 10 hour training is required for all workers. OSHA 30 hour training is required for crew leaders. 

Pests   ^

Action / Allowability: Pest removal is allowed only where infestation would prevent weatherization. Infestation of pests may be cause for deferral where it cannot be reasonably removed or poses health and safety concern for workers. Screening of windows and points of access is allowed to prevent intrusion.

Testing: Assessment of presence and degree of infestation and risk to worker.

Client Education: Inform client of observed condition and associated risks.

Training: How to asses presence and degree of infestation, associated risks, and need for deferral.

Radon   ^

Action / Allowability: Whenever site conditions permit, exposed dirt must be covered with a vapor barrier, except for in mobile homes. In homes where radon may be  present, precautions should be taken to reduce the likeliness of making radon issues worse.

Testing: Testing may be allowed in locations with high radon potential.

Client Education: Provide client with EPA consumer’s guide to radon.

Training: What is it, how it occurs. What factors may make radon worse. Weatherization measures that may be helpful. Vapor barrier installation.

Refrigerant   ^

Action / Allowability: Reclaim refrigerant per Clean Air Act 1990, section 608, as amended by 40 CFR82, 5/14/93.

Testing: EPA testing protocols.

Client Education: Clients should not disturb refrigerant.

Training:EPA-approved section 608 type I or universal certification.