Do you constantly experience dizziness, fatigue, and eye irritation? Perhaps your office has mold.
Molds are types of fungi that exist outdoors and indoors. Mold that has accumulated in poorly ventilated or confined spaces can cause or worsen health issues, for instance asthma, infections, and allergies.
Bear in mind that unchecked mold development can also result in building damage. Workers may experience mold exposure in water-damaged buildings and during repair operations and building maintenance.
While molds are generally harmless, some types may be dangerous to some people. If you suspect mold infestation at your workplace, here’s a look at how to handle the situation.
How to Identify Whether You’re Exposed to Molds
Molds require a food source and moisture to thrive. The fungus can range in various colors, including white, brown, or black. Even if the fungus is invisible, you may recognize an earthy or mildew smell.
At times, molds also generate chemicals termed mycotoxins, which join to the spores and other mold parts. You may find them in damp or wet doors, behind wallpaper, ceilings or carpet, flooding, steam, and HVAC systems.
Indoor moisture resulting in mold growth, and other microorganisms may originate from flooding, steam, and leaks.
Symptoms can also reveal mold exposure at the work place. The symptoms may worsen while at work and decrease or lessen during vacations or on weekends. You should also remember that the onset of symptoms is dependent on your unique reaction to molds.
What Employees Should Do About Office Mold
While there are no standards revealing the amount of mold that is hazardous to your health, the workplace shouldn’t have visible mold or pungent moldy odors. In case you discover mold in the workplace, here’s what you should do:
Report Mold Issues
If you smell, see, or experience mold-related symptoms, report the issue to allow for investigation. You may need to inform your supervisor, employer, or health and safety officer. Establish whether fellow employees are also experiencing symptoms including dermatitis and whether a particular office is affected. You should verify whether your workplace has a procedure for reporting hazards and allow a reasonable period for your employer to evaluate and remedy the issue.
Clean up Contamination
Request your employer to clean up the contamination irrespective of the kinds of molds present. Environmental sampling is usually unnecessary, since elimination of all molds is necessary. A thorough investigation of your office building should reveal every source of mold development and water collection. Employees with symptoms or at risk for mold-related disease shouldn’t partake in the cleanup.
Avoid Exposure during Cleanup
The highest mold exposure frequently occurs throughout cleanup. You may need to leave certain work areas temporarily during cleanup, particularly if you exhibit symptoms or have underlying health conditions that increase your likelihood of mold-related illnesses.
Monitor Your Symptoms
Ensure you monitor your symptoms after cleanup. If they persist after cleanup, they’re probably not related to molds, or the cleanup was unsuccessful.
You and your physician should explore other likely sources of illness. If other indoor air quality issues exist or the cleanup was inadequate, your employer may require professional assistance.
What Employers Should Do About Office Mold
A mold problem is likely to cause great anxiety and concern among employees. For this reason, an employer should inform employees on the steps he or she is taking and how the workers are being protected. Remediation may necessitate relocation of workers, so the employer should offer clean space during ongoing work on the affected areas. To stop further mold development, an employer should seek the assistance of contractors, the building designer, and environmental experts to identify, evaluate, and repair the source. Once experts fix the problem, employers should obtain certification.
Are you wondering what to do about office mold? These guidelines will prove invaluable.
If you need assistance with mold inspection, please contact us for a solution: 905-267-8556