Mold In The Workplace
What employees need to know
Mold is a potentially dangerous substance that can lead to health difficulties when inhaled. While mold spores grow naturally all around us and are useful for assisting in the decomposition of organic matter outdoors, when mold moves indoors it can lead to numerous health problems. When mold is present in your workplace, employees have the right to know both the potential impact on their health as well as how to have the mold removed at their employer’s expense. This article will highlight what an employee should do if they suspect mold is present in their workplace.
Identifying Mold in the Workplace
It is important to understand that there are many different strains of mold, some which are harmless and others that can have quite harmful effects. While mold can be quite noticeable with its pungent smell and with noticeable white residue, it can also be hidden behind walls and undetectable by smell. Some people are particularly sensitive to mold through allergies, while others are completely unaffected by it. As such, mold can be noticeable or difficult to detect. However, if you notice a moldy smell in your workplace or are experiencing unexplained headaches or other health problems while at work, it is important to consider the possibility of mold being present in your workplace.
What to Do if You Suspect Mold
If you suspect mold in your workplace it is important to have your workplace inspected by a professional. To start with, if you feel comfortable doing so, you should discuss your suspicions of mold with your employer and request that they take the proper actions to inspect and remove mold. Employers in the United States are regulated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) which requires that employers provide a safe workplace for employees. This includes a workplace that is reasonably free of mold. If your employer does not comply with your request to have the workplace inspected for mold, you can contact OSHA directly who will send an inspection team to your workplace. If mold is identified then they are required to develop a remediation plan to remove it. If your employer does not do so in a timely manner, than you can contact OSHA who may levy fines or penalties on your employer.
Serious Health Problems
Some employees develop serious health problems from being exposed to mold in the workplace. If you are experiencing health problems than you should consider immediately removing yourself from the workplace environment and filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage and this coverage will provide you with money that can help to support you while you are incapable of working due to an incident at work. It may be appropriate to hire an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims to assist you with your claim. In addition, follow up with OSHA and your employer to see any remediation actions taken to remove the mold and make your workplace habitable.
Mold can cause serious health problems and should not be present in the workplace. If you suspect mold, discuss with your employer and contact OSHA immediately. If you are having side effects, remove yourself from the workplace and consider contacting a lawyer and filing a workers’ compensation claim to compensate you for your inability to continue working in a hazardous work environment.