How to Deal with Mould in the Work Environment
Mould is a fairly common problem in the workplace. This tricky fungus can grow and multiply in areas where moisture is allowed to gather. All it needs to grow is warmth, moisture and organic material. When the mould reproduces, it releases spores which can travel through the air. If inhaled, these spores can cause respiratory problems ranging from mild to severe, especially in people with underlying health problems such as asthma.
Spores can also cause allergic reactions in the form of rashes or irritation. It’s important to ensure that mould isn’t allowed to build up in the workplace as it can greatly reduce the air quality and lead to legal disputes if not handled correctly.
How do I identify mould?
Mould has the following characteristics:
- Brown, black, green, grey or white in appearance
- A speckled pattern on walls, floors, or ceilings
- Often found on organic materials such as wood, plaster or painted surfaces
- Can cause warping of wood
- An earthy or musty odour
What are the health risks of mould?
The most common health problems associated with mould spores include respiratory problems, asthma attacks and skin irritation. Common symptoms of mould spore exposure include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Frequent sinus and nasal congestion
- Eye irritation
- Dry cough
- Nose or throat irritation
- Rashes or irritation of the skin
- Asthma attacks
How do I treat mould?
The affected area will need to be thoroughly cleaned and if the problem is widespread it may need be cleaned by a professional. If the mould is caused by a leak, you will need to get a plumber to address the cause of the problem.
If the mould is caused by a buildup of condensation, you will need to look at improving the air quality in the workplace. This might include installing ventilation systems to ensure condensation can’t build up.