Episode 700: Norris Gearhart, CR - Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA), Disinfection & Diversification Opportunitie

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Episode 700: Norris Gearhart, CR - Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA), Disinfection & Diversification Opportunitie

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Show Resources: Show Discussion:

12:03:38 From cliff zlotnik : trivia, which US President created the agency within the US Dept. of Défense responsible for developing emerging technologies for use by the military
12:04:55 From Doug’s iPad : Dwight Eisenhower
12:05:53 From cliff zlotnik : correct Doug please send your contact info
12:11:45 From Doug’s iPad : Good question. Thank You. Ill email you my info.
12:25:25 From Bruce White : Can you let the audience know who should be involved into the ICRA assessment besides the contractor.
12:36:50 From Ed Light : Would you like to comment on the contradiction at EPA, where the pesticide folks approve disinfectants for mold sanitizing while the indoor air division opposes the use of disinfectants in favor of "soap & water"? Have any studies shown the efficacy of soap & water against mold growth?
12:37:01 From Thomas Licker : american Bio Recovery association
12:41:40 From Ed Light : Please comment on my strategies for COVID sanitizing. My initial approach, based on lack of information, was frequent, comprehensive sanitizing. Since subsequent research suggests that fomite spread is not significant, I suggest high-touch sanitizing where feasible and handwashing as a precaution against a recently contaminated surface.
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Re: Episode 700: Norris Gearhart, CR - Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA), Disinfection & Diversification Opportun

Post by CliffZ »

Show Number: 700

Norris Gearhart, CR
Infection Control Risk Assessment, Disinfection and Diversification Opportunities for Restoration Contractors.
EVP Regulatory Business Practices -First Onsite Property Restoration.

Good Day and Welcome to the IAQ Radio+ episode 700 blog. This week we welcomed Norris Gearhart EVP of Regulatory and Business Practices at First Onsite Property Restoration for a discussion about Infection Control Risk Assessment, Disinfection and Diversification Opportunities for Restoration Contractors.

Norris Gearhart is the Executive Vice President of Regulatory Business Practices for First Onsite Property Restoration. Norris has a long career as a solutions-focused leader, coach, and educator. He began his career in the restoration industry in 1985. He has had responsibilities in both the restoration and insurance realm over the span of nearly four decades. During this time, Norris owned or has been part owner of two successful full-service restoration companies building multi-million-dollar books of business.

Nuggets mined from today’s episode:

What are your responsibilities at FirstOnsite? Responsible and accountable for keeping the Healthcare, Asbestos/Lead, IAQ/HVAC and Bio/Enviro Hazard Cleanup divisions of FirstOnsite out of regulatory trouble.

What is the difference between sanitization and disinfection? During the Covid Crisis, Norris was tasked with answering Covid questions and solving Covid problems. He encountered widespread ignorance and misunderstanding of available tools and supplies. The terms sanitization and disinfection have different meanings to different government agencies. The terms are commonly misused and inappropriately interchanged. Our language needs to be accurate and terms need to be used in appropriate context.
Cleaning- removal of visible soil
Sanitizing- The EPA regulates use of antimicrobials on inanimate surfaces. The FDA regulates use of antimicrobials in foods, drugs, and animate surfaces. The two Agencies have different requirements for reduction of target pathogens, and use differing target pathogens. For product sanitizing claims, the EPA requires a 3 log reduction (99.9%) of named pathogens. For product sanitizing claims, the FDA requires a 5 log (99.999%) reduction of pathogens.
Disinfection- For disinfection product claims the EPA requires 5 log reduction of pathogens (99.999% while the FDA requires a 6 log reduction of pathogens (99.9999%). It’s improper terminology to state you have disinfected a surface without specific proof or validation. You can more accurately state that you applied an EPA registered disinfectant to surfaces according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Sterilization- EPA sterilizing claims removal or inactivation of 99.9999% of all contaminates (e.g. viruses, spores, etc.)

Visible risks versus invisible risks? On fire and water losses risks are often visible (fire related particulate, raw sewage). Engineering controls and PPE protects workers from most risks. Deep cleaning removes and detoxifies many hazardous substances. Restorers and their workers are sloppy regarding hazards and often get away with it, when working with hazards to small to be seen with the naked eye (pathogens) you cannot afford to be sloppy.

Environmental Risk Specialist Course?-
In regard to environmental risks, the current state of the disaster restoration industry is unknowing; combined with the confident feeling that we’ll wing-it and work it out when we get there. Many contractors just see the dollar signs and chase the money. If you wish to enter the field, invest time to learn what you are doing and how to minimize risks.
The course provides the tools for the restorer to know when to say NO, when to step back and when to hire a specialized expert. The course relies upon some ABRA resources (https://www.americanbiorecovery.org) and provides instruction and guidance for: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) mitigation and cleanup.

Blood in the water, feeding frenzy due to the combination of scientific misinformation driven by “pandemic panic”, millions of dollars was spent by building owners and managers who paid big bucks to have their buildings periodically sprayed with virucidal products as an attempt to prevent covid spread. When people want the service, are willing to pay for it, and if you don’t do the job they’ll hire someone else who will; then he advises take the money and do the work. Use accurate terminology, tell the truth and don’t over promise. Provide maximum value for the customers’ investment.

What opportunities do you see for restoration firms to diversify to obtain consistent cash flow year-round? These opportunities are most likely commercial, industrial and institutional. You can advise and pre-market potential clients that you understand the risks and are trained, equipped and experienced in mitigating them.

Have you had any close calls in exposure to infectious agents you can share will our audience? Once while working in a containment on a Pharma cleanroom cleanup project; a worker suffered a stroke and needed to be extracted. Challenges: How to decontaminate the worker and get the worker out of containment and anteroom? How to get EMT’s into the containment? This contingency is now on Norris’ “what-if” list.

What is ICRA? Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) are voluntary not mandatory.
• Hospital infection outbreak can result in loss of patient lives and embarrassing publicity for the hospital.
• Hospital infection rates can adversely affect Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance payments.
• ICRAs are used only by hospitals.
• ICRAs are usually prepared by the hospitals, often by the hospital’s health practitioners (e.g. infection control nurse).
• Health practitioners may not have adequate knowledge of building science.
• Contractors usually receive an ICRA and do not have the opportunity to have input in preparing it.
• ICRAs are often focused on: where will the construction occur? How will the work be done? Potential effects on surrounding areas?
• What if the author if the ICRA isn’t on site or isn’t available? It’s important to be familiar with ICRAs.
• Meetings- ICRA stakeholders may include: facilities manager, environmental services manager, department heads, other stakeholders.
• New ASHE ICRA 2.0 adds a 5th level. ASHE Publishes Updated Infection Control Risk Assessment. The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association published an updated infection control risk assessment called ICRA 2.0, which promotes and directs interdisciplinary infection prevention in health care facilities during construction, renovation and maintenance. https://www.ashe.org › ashe-publishes-updated-infection-control-risk-assessment


• Dusts are a problem, a wide variety of contaminants are found in dust.
• Risk minimizers and risk maximizers.

Global Restoration Watchdog Pete Consigli

• The Environmentalist Risk Specialist course is one of the 4 pillars for the new Certified Restorer Designation
• Example of respectful discussion between Norris and Z-Man.
• We must know and understand the words we use.
• When Pete entered the carpet and upholstery cleaning field he learned the trade from raspy voiced men in their 50s who looked and sounded like they were in their 70s due to exposure to chlorinated solvents, hydrofluoric acid, adhesives, etc.
• Lee Pemberton told stories of drycleaner’s exposures to perchloroethylene 111 trichloroethylene and other hazardous solvents.
• Pete decided then that if he would be responsible for the safety of others he would explain why PPE needed to be worn and safety precautions taken.
• Plumbers also had exposures to sewage.
• In the mid 1990s Hurricane Bonnie struck Virginia Beach. Hotel owners wanted to avoid tourists seeing remediation workers dressed like “Pillsbury Doughboys” while overlooking the exposures their staff encountered and could spread to them.
• After Hurricane Bonnie work was completed a small aircraft dragged a sky banner honoring the workers.
• Congratulations to Norris on winning the RIA Volunteer of the year award!

Norris Gearhart
• Advocates use of the Updates infection control assessment https://www.ashe.org
• Advocates use of the OSHA silica standard. https://www.osha.gov/silica-crystalline

Z-Man signing off

Question: Which US President created the agency within the department of Defense responsible for developing emerging technologies for use by the military?

Answer: Dwight Eisenhower

Answered by: Doug Kohnen, ERAtech Environmental, 3508 Wilmington Pike, Kettering, Ohio 45429
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Re: Episode 700: Norris Gearhart, CR - Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA), Disinfection & Diversification Opportun

Post by RadioJoe »

Thank you Norris. Very interesting discussion on ICRA, cleaning vs sanitizing vs disinfecting vs sterlization. Plus things to consider when diversifying into these areas.

It's obvious when people have been teaching a lot. They handle interviews very well, Norris has done quite a bit of passing along of the knowledge in his career.

Always great to hear from the Global Watchdog Pete Consigli. HIs steel trap mind for history and way of recapping complex subjects always enlightens our audience,
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