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Classifying Smoke/Fire/Water Damage Cleanup and Restoration

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Classifying Smoke/Fire/Water Damage Cleanup and Restoration

May 13, 2015

When classifying an employer that engages in disaster cleanup and restoration operations several classifications are potentially applicable, based on the scope of the employer’s operations. These employers specialize in the initial cleanup operations at sites where fire or flood damage has occurred.

First Response Cleanup
Immediately following a flood or fire disaster, employees will work at the disaster site to conduct cleanup and mitigate water damage to the structure, if possible. Water damage may occur due to firefighting, or due to a burst pipe, blocked sewer line or similar problem. Employees are dispatched to customers' locations on a rush basis to extract water from carpets and remove soot and smoke residue from furniture, walls and ceiling surfaces and fixtures. Carpets may be removed if necessary to facilitate cleaning and drying. Debris is picked up and thrown away. Furniture and other contents may be removed for off-site restoration and cleanup. Dehumidifiers and fans are set up to minimize moisture damage to the site. These cleaning and water extraction operations are classified as 9008, Janitorial Services, regardless of whether a commercial or residential structure is being cleaned. The off-site cleaning of furniture and other items removed from the site is also assigned to 9008. While these initial services are provided to customers on a rush basis to minimize extent of the damage, the dehumidifiers may be monitored for several days or weeks until all excess moisture is removed, and residual cleaning operations may extend over several days or weeks.

Restoration and Reconstruction
Once the site is clear of debris caused by the disaster and the moisture level is normal, the construction operations needed to restore the structure can begin. These operations may be performed by the same employer that performed first response cleanup or they may be performed by separate construction contractors. Any wrecking or demolition work where a building or structure is razed or where a floor or exterior wall is removed shall be classified based on the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) provisions at Part 3, Standard Classification System, Section IV, Special Industry Classification Procedures, Rule 7, Wrecking or Demolition and Building Raising or Moving (see Classification and Test Audit Insight Edition 2014.14). Soft demolition or tear-out and subsequent construction operations are assigned to the applicable construction industry classifications based on the USRP provisions at Part 3, Section IV, Rule 2, Construction or Erection Work.

Additional Operations
It is common for employers that perform first response cleanup operations in connection with disaster sites to also perform cleaning operations that do not pertain to disaster sites. These cleaning services are classified based on the scope of operations performed at each site. Common examples of additional non-emergency cleaning operations include carpet or upholstery cleaning on a stand-alone basis (assign Classification 2584, Carpet, Rug or Upholstery Cleaning), residential cleaning services (assign Classification 9096, Residential Cleaning Services) and commercial janitorial services including incidental carpet cleaning (assign Classification 9008, Janitorial Services).

Related Information

Classification Search
Classification Information
Online Guide to Workers Compensation: The Standard Classification System
Classification and Test Audit Insight: Classifying Wrecking and Demolition Operations