Employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace for all of their employees. One area of concern for those who work in a building that has high humidity levels or has suffered water damage is the potential presence of mold.
When moisture is present, mold can begin to grow on many building materials and contents in less than 48 hours. Some workers that are exposed to elevated levels of mold in the air they breathe could develop a wide range of health issues. Workers who suspect they have indoor air quality problems should report their concerns immediately to supervisors and/or to those people responsible for building maintenance.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), when health problems are believed to be caused by exposure to dampness or mold in the workplace, building owners and managers should do the following:
• Always respond when occupant health concerns are reported.
• Establish clear procedures for recording and responding to indoor environmental quality (IEQ) complaints to ensure an adequate and timely response.
o Log all complaints or problem reports.
o Collect information about each complaint.
o Ensure confidentiality.
o Determine a plan for response.
o Identify appropriate resources for the response.
o Apply remedial action.
o Provide feedback to building occupants regarding the complaint & response.
o Follow-up to ensure that remedial action has been effective.
• Regularly inspect building areas for evidence of dampness; take prompt steps to identify and correct the causes of any dampness problems found.
• Conduct regularly scheduled heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system inspections, and promptly correct any problems.
• Prevent high indoor humidity through the proper design and operation of HVAC systems.
• Dry any porous building materials that have become wet from leaks or flooding within 48 hours.
• Clean and repair or replace any building materials that are moisture-damaged or show evidence of visible mold growth.
• Encourage occupants who have developed persistent or worsening respiratory symptoms while working in the building to see a healthcare provider.
• Follow healthcare provider recommendations for relocation of occupants diagnosed with building-related respiratory diseases.
• Establish an indoor environmental quality team consisting of a coordinator and representatives of the building’s employees, employers and building management who would oversee implementation of an IEQ program.
These are just a few things to consider when dealing with mold and moisture complaints in the work environment. To learn more about this or other health and safety, indoor air quality, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video or below.
Clark Seif Clark http://www.csceng.com
EMSL Analytical, Inc. http://www.emsl.com
Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. http://www.iecinc.net
LA Testing http://www.latesting.com
Maine Indoor Air Quality Council http://www.maineindoorair.org
Zimmetry Environmental http://www.zimmetry.com
Healthy Indoors Magazine http://www.iaq.net