Mold in the Workplace: All You Need To Know
Although it may seem relatively harmless, mold can pose a distinct threat to your health over time. Most of us spend a significant amount of our lives in our workplace, so mold must be taken seriously. If you suspect that your workplace has an infestation, it’s time to report it to your manager.
How can you tell if there’s an outbreak? In this guide, we’ll take you through the most common signs, including a step-by-step on how to report them to your manager.
Common Signs of Mold in the Workplace
Although mold isn’t always the easiest to detect, there are – thankfully! – some tell-tale signs to look out for in your workplace. The first is the smell. Mold tends to carry an unpleasant, musty scent, which can be easily exacerbated, especially in warm and damp areas. If there’s a persistently bad smell at your workplace with no apparent explanation, it could be mold to blame.
The second easiest mold indicator is seeing it with your own two eyes. Mold thrives in damp locations, so if you suspect an outbreak, start by first investigating where water usually gathers. This will most likely be near restrooms or faucets used during food prep, but it could emerge anywhere. Burst water pipes are another common culprit.
The final and perhaps most concerning sign is the adverse health side effects. If an increasing number of your colleagues appear to be coming down with an illness or demonstrating symptoms, it could be due to an unidentified mold outbreak.
Signs You’ve Been Exposed to Mold at Work
Mold can be responsible for a variety of illnesses, but some specific symptoms to look out for include:
- Respiratory Issues: coughing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing are commonly linked with the inhalation of mold spores
- Sinus Problems: headaches, congestion, and sinus pressure (an uncomfortable feeling along your face) are all signs of a fungal infection from mold
- Skin Irritation: new rashes, itches, and infections are all linked to prolonged exposure to mold
If you or your colleagues have started to experience one or more of these symptoms, it may be time to report it.
How To Report Mold in Your Workplace
Reporting a problem to your employers can feel intimidating under certain circumstances, but your health should never be at risk. Here’s how to report mold in the workplace.
- Note Down Everything You Notice
From damp patches to leaks and the health of your colleagues, you’ll need to build a solid backlog of evidence before moving forward with your report. This is especially important if your employers may take some convincing before recognizing the severity of the issue.
- Inform Your Manager ASAP
Once you have your evidence, pass it on to your manager as soon as possible. The problem with mold is the longer you leave it, the worse it gets. It may take a short while before your manager takes action for professional mold removal, so time is of the essence!
- Follow Up on Your Report
If an extended period has passed and you have yet to hear anything regarding your original report, follow up on the issue. Mold can harm your health, so it must be taken seriously. If your employers aren’t acting fast enough, give them a polite reminder and a nudge in the right direction.
- If They Fail to Act, Inform OSHA
If your employers are especially difficult and don’t seem to be moving forward with the problem at all, it may be time to contact OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). As your employer, it is their responsibility to protect the health and well-being of everyone in the workplace. If they fail to do so, there is no shame in filing a formal complaint.
- Protect Your Health
Finally, if you’ve started to develop symptoms you believe are related to the mold in your workplace, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. You may need to take time off work while you recover. The worst thing to do is push through, which could have long-lasting ramifications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Mold in the Workplace an OSHA Violation?
As it stands, there are no federal standards for airborne concentrations of mold or mold spores. However, if you report mold to your employer and they refuse to act, this could be seen as neglectful management, which would be considered an OSHA violation.
Is It Safe to Work in an Office With Mold?
Small amounts of routinely removed mold shouldn’t pose a threat, but ideally, we recommend professional and permanent removal.
Can You Sue for Being Exposed to Mold in the Workplace?
Yes, if you suffer from symptoms of toxic mold that seriously impact your life, you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Mold should be taken seriously, both by you and your employer. If you suspect your place of work has a mold problem, encourage your employer to contact All Dry USA. We offer permanent solutions to all of your mold problems to minimize your health risks for good.
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