Mold in the Workplace: What You Need to Know
Mold naturally occurs both indoors and outdoors, and small levels in buildings are natural. However, overgrowth of mold indoors can be dangerous. Indoor mold can occur for many reasons, including lack of building maintenance, flooding, leaky pipes or windows/doors, poor construction, excessive rainfall or humidity, or other moisture-related problems.
Here, we discuss mold in the workplace and the potential hazards it can present. Keep reading for the signs you need to look for and how to report an infestation should you detect one.
Signs of Mold in Buildings
There are nearly 1000 species of mold within the United States, with some frightening health effects tied to prolonged exposure. It is essential to know the physical signs of mold in buildings so you can know what to look out for to keep the work environment, yourself, and your colleagues safe.
Mold can vary in appearance and be white, black, grey, green, spotted, or various colors. Usually, it starts as a small spot that expands very quickly. You may notice it early on as a small spot or spots in musty or humid areas.
Other signs could include a musty smell and warped or cracked appearances on surfaces. Another telltale sign is if the spot continues to grow in size — dirt or other stains do not do that.
Knowing these signs is crucial because of how easily it can occur and how quickly it can spread — it can form on substances anywhere where humidity is present and can spread quickly within as little as 48 hours.
What Are the Dangers of Mold in the Workplace?
The dangers of mold in the workplace can significantly vary in severity, but there has been a link between it and many serious illnesses. Indoor mold growth is a significant concern, as higher levels of certain species of fungi within the workplace could lead to serious health issues that may negatively impact employees.
Symptoms of dangerous mold presence in buildings can include eye, nose, and throat irritation, skin irritation, respiratory issues, nausea, dizziness, cough, and fatigue. If multiple of these symptoms seem to be affecting several employees, the issue requires addressing immediately.
Allergic Reactions and Respiratory Issues
One significant concern is those with allergies or other ongoing health conditions such as asthma. The harmful fungus can lead to worsening allergic symptoms, such as irritation in the nose, throat, eyes, and mouth, as well as coughing and shortness of breath.
In addition to aggravating current allergies, mold could also be the cause of allergies.
People who are immunocompromised may also experience long-lasting or permanent adverse effects from persistent toxic mold exposure.
How to Report Mold at Your Workplace
Unfortunately, while there are many known and dangerous side effects of mold, currently, there are no federal standards for addressing its infestation in the workplace. That is why it is imperative that, as an employee, you speak up about mold-related issues that you may find as soon as possible and that you go through the appropriate channels to have your concerns addressed.
Step 1: Tell the Company
If you see any mold in your workplace or experience symptoms of exposure, you should report the issue right away. Make sure your company is aware of your formal complaint, whatever form that may take.
Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information if possible. Note crucial indicators if you can, such as the location, appearance of the affected surface, symptoms you or others may be experiencing, etc.
Step 2: Follow Up
Management should always address employee concerns about health concerns such as mold in the workplace. If they don’t address your concerns immediately, make sure you continue to follow up with the company about your unease.
If a helpful solution isn’t available, you may want to contact a higher-ranking member of your organization. Your employer should have a response plan to solve the issue.
Step 3: Find Outside Solutions If Needed
By law, employers are under obligation to create a safe work environment for employees. If you still feel that your company has not appropriately addressed your concerns after your formal complaints, you may have to find a solution outside of the company, and you may be entitled to a lawsuit. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) may be able to help you.
Step 4: Seek a Medical Checkup
It is vital that you seek the advice of your health care provider after mold exposure. If you have concerns about possible long-term health effects, your doctor will be able to help address your health-related concerns.
Mold in the workplace is a serious concern of many employees worldwide. It is the employers’ duty to act fast and hire reliable experts to remove harmful fungus from their businesses. For the most experienced and devoted mold removers in the business, call All Dry USA today to inspect and restore your business.