Are you worried your workplace might have mold? You’re not alone.
“Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions,” OSHA states.
For mold to grow indoors, it needs moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores (viable seeds), which usually can’t be seen without magnification. According to OSHA, once these spores are grown, they float through the air and consume whatever they land on to survive, including wood, paper, carpet, food, and even dust and dirt.
“All molds share the characteristic of being able to grow without sunlight; mold needs only a viable seed (spore), a nutrient source, moisture and the right temperature to proliferate,” the agency adds. If left unchecked, mold can cause building damage over time.
OSHA points out that although most indoor air exposures to mold don’t present a risk of adverse health effects, some workers can experience allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Additionally, mold can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat.
So, what can employers do to help prevent indoor mold growth?
Keep Mold at Bay
Indoor mold growth prevention is possible – moisture control is the key. When water leaks or spills are discovered, act fast. “A prompt response (within 24 to 48 hours) and thorough cleanup, drying, and/or removal of water-damaged materials will prevent or limit mold growth,” OSHA states.
- Conduct a walkthrough of your workplace to look for condensation or wet spots. Fix any water leaking issues you find.
- Perform regular maintenance inspections on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
- Keep indoor relative humidity levels below 70 percent. (Note: Below 50% is preferable).
- Ensure your building has adequate drainage and that the ground slopes away from its foundation.
- Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, outside when possible.
For more information, including facts about remediation plans and mold cleanup methods, visit osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html.