1. In your opinion, what are the most important elements to providing a safe working environment in a crawl space?
Many people might think there’s not much to be concerned about with crawl spaces, but that’s simply not the case – and that’s why the most important element is training! First and foremost, your staff needs to recognize which environments or situations require PPE or other safety equipment, and they must know how to use it all correctly. Personal respiratory protection should always be used in crawl spaces because of potential contaminants. Eye protection is also a must.
Before you start anything, make sure you have effective lighting. If you can’t see, you can’t do, and chances of accidents skyrocket. If the crawl space is dimly lit (or not lit at all) you can easily install convenient LED lights rated for indoor/outdoor use. The last thing you want to be doing is dragging clumsy, cabled portable lights around as you work, plus they won’t provide enough light to see clearly. LED lights will light up every corner, leaving nothing to chance.
Airborne contaminants that are stirred up during crawl space work can be a concern for both employees and occupants of the structure above. A negative air fan offers a simple solution and will pull those contaminants out of the crawl space, reducing any potential problems.
Crawl space work can be a physically demanding, hot and tedious process. Stay hydrated! It sounds simple, but it’s something that can sneak up on technicians.
2. What safety equipment do you recommend people wear?
Proper safety glasses should always be required. Eye injuries can have lifelong consequences, which is one of the reasons we are launching a line of extreme safety glasses in the next few months. Other items that can be necessary are protective clothing, respiratory protection and a good pair of working gloves.
3. Are there tools you use that you feel improve safety?
Providing employees with the proper tools to get the job done is important regardless of whether it’s a hammer or a gas-actuated nail gun. When employees have to improvise because they don’t have the proper tool, the chances of workplace injuries increase. A more recent tool we’ve come across that not only can increase safety, but also increase efficiency is an insulation vacuum. Pulling insulation manually increases the wear and tear on an employee’s body. Fatigue can set in and decrease their situational awareness and decision-making abilities. This machine pulls the insulation outside the crawl and packs it into super large bags, eliminating unnecessary hard labor and extra time.
4.From a safety standpoint, how many people should be on the job?
During closed crawl space related services, it is best to have at least two employees on the job. Teamwork can reduce the potential for injury in many ways. The biggest reason to have two people on the job is that you have someone present who can help in case of an emergency (medical or accident). They can also communicate hazards that are identified, team-lift heavier objects or help make decisions that may affect their safety.
5.What do you do to reduce the number of times people have to crawl in and out of the crawl space?
Upfront organization and planning will make the process smoother. Properly identifying all the tools needed for that full day’s work is the first step in reducing the amount of times that people go in and out of the crawl space. Carry all those tools and products to the crawl space door or within the crawl space when you first arrive. Also, work smart – should you remember something you forgot or didn’t realize you were going to need, let another team member know in case they are heading that way so that any items can be relayed to you.
More and more consumers are becoming aware of the benefits of closed crawl spaces. Improving the air quality in the home and reducing utility cost while at the same time reducing pest pressure makes closing crawl spaces a great addition to your bottom line.