Mold at the workplace presents the risk of both building structural damage and occupant health hazards. Commercial building owners or managers get to make vital decisions on the operation and maintenance of workplaces.
Uncontrolled mold growth can spread quickly to damage furnishings, building structures, and finishes. In addition to triggering odor, mold growth can also trigger allergies and infections, presenting the risk of a mass contraction. Suspecting widespread health concerns at the workplace can lead to the following:
- Environmental mold investigation
- Relocation of employees
- Property value loss
- Loss of employees
Thus early reporting and actions against workplace mold contamination are crucial for both employees and employers.
Actions for Employees to Take
Mold at the workplace can make life at work a peril for employees. Poorly ventilated and confined spaces similar to air ducts and storage rooms present ideal conditions for mold growth.
Unchecked mold growth can trigger adverse health concerns, including asthma, infection, and Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. If you sense mold growth at the workplace, reporting it to the concerned people as quickly as possible is the key to preventing more significant health concerns.
- Report the sighting of mold to your manager or employer. You could do this via email or in-person; reporting via email could be an ideal way to keep a record of your actions.
- When notifying about mold growth, include as many details as possible like when mold was spotted, exact location, how big it was, probable cause (e.g., broken pipe), or information about moisture.
- As an employee, you also retain the right to report any workplace mold hazard to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- Use this link to file a mold growth complaint about mold growth at the workplace: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker/complain.html
- In addition, think ahead and act quickly to report any incidents like leaking roofs, broken ceilings, or wet furniture at the workplace.
Actions for businesses or employers to take
Regular visual inspections: employers should prioritize keeping the occupied areas contamination-free. Keep a close eye on moisture levels throughout the building, mainly crawl spaces. Drainage systems and bathrooms are to be inspected for moisture humidity fluctuations. Eliminate any waterlogged items beyond repair, including furnishing or carpets, immediately.
Air duct inspection: heating and cooling systems at the workplace could be the easiest and the most dangerous source of mold spread. Any moisture within such systems seconds mold growth and garners mold spore spread consistently. Cleaning such systems from head to toe is inevitable, and missing even the most minor components can lead to recontamination.
In addition to this, all ventilation systems should be routinely inspected for overall cleanliness and the need for filter replacements.
Precautions while renovating or remodeling: You might need to renovate or remodel the workplace at some point. Ensure not to overlook the need to protect the occupants/employees while auctioning this. Specific measures you can take to ensure this are:
- Isolating the construction area using plywood uprights or polyethylene sheets
- Blocking off any supply or returning air ducts in the construction area
- Maintaining negative pressure and appropriate moisture, humidity levels in the area under renovation
- Foresee the work processes and intensity to plan employee relocation if needed
Actions to take if you find mold in office
As an employee, once you find mold at your workplace, it is crucial to contact a qualified mold remediation specialist. A mold remediation specialist uses appropriate tools and equipment to identify mold-affected areas beyond repair and remove and disinfect the area. Remember that mold remediation is a complex procedure that requires years of expertise and industry-level machines to execute.
This is why we recommend contacting a certified mold remediation specialist who can re-instilling a safe and healthful work environment. When hiring a mold removal professional, ensure that they work by this checklist.