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What You Can Do About Mold In the Workplace

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What To Do About Mold in the Workplace

Requiring only the presence of moisture and oxygen to thrive, mold can be found practically anywhere on Earth. Although mold exposure doesn’t always cause serious health issues, it’s nonetheless a potentially dangerous indoor air contaminant that should be carefully monitored and controlled. Current estimates suggest that some 45 million buildings in the United States contain levels of mold that could negatively impact the health of occupants. 

If you’re concerned about mold in the workplace and aren’t sure what to do, this article will help put things in perspective. Read on to learn more about the fundamentals of addressing mold at your business, including preventative strategies for stopping indoor mold growth and how indoor air quality monitoring solutions by Attune IoT can help.

Potential Risks Of Having Mold in The Workplace

There are some 150,000 different mold species known to science today. While many of these molds are relatively harmless to humans, some mold spores can cause concerning health problems. Since OSHA requires business owners to provide a work environment that is “free from recognized hazards” that could cause injury, failing to resolve a mold issue in the workplace could open the door to various liabilities, such as workers’ compensation claims or even lawsuits.

In addition, since mold has a destructive impact on materials like wood, the presence of mold could undermine the structural integrity of your commercial building or office space over time. If left unaddressed, the structural damage mold inflicts can lead to costly repairs, mold remediation, and workplace disruptions caused by construction or renovation work.


Signs and Symptoms of Mold Presence

Mold will diminish indoor air quality in various ways depending on the type of mold and the extent of the growth. Some common minor health symptoms caused by toxic molds may include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Eye irritation
  • Shortness of breath

Mold exposure is also known to weaken immune systems, contributing to symptoms like coughing, headaches, sneezing, and respiratory inflammation. Individuals with mold allergies tend to experience more severe symptoms. Medical professionals can conduct a mold test on an employee suffering from these symptoms to determine if mold is to blame.

In many cases, indoor mold creates an unpleasant, musty odor that becomes more pronounced the longer it’s allowed to grow. Sometimes, mold damage will be easy to detect with the naked eye. However, if the source of mold growth isn’t readily visible, it will be necessary to have a professional conduct a mold air test to determine the type of mold you’re dealing with and where it’s located.

How To Identify Common Causes of Mold in Office Environments

Since mold requires a source of moisture, it’s not unusual to find mold in areas of the building that suffered recent water damage. If your office building has a leaky roof, heavy rainfall can lead to water infiltration, allowing mold to grow in the crawlspaces and walls. Poorly configured air conditioners with inadequately sealed air ducts can also cause mold to grow inside your work environment. Since cool air tends to create condensation, it’s a good idea to conduct a mold exposure test on your entire HVAC system if you believe mold may be a problem in your building.

Preventative Measures to Control Mold Growth

Taking proactive steps to prevent mold from growing is the single best strategy for restoring your office’s indoor air quality. By making mold removal a priority today, you can save your business a lot of money and headaches down the road. Here are two simple but effective strategies for controlling mold growth at your workplace.

Optimize Indoor Humidity and Ventilation

First, you’ll want to make sure your office building maintains a consistent humidity level between 40% and 60%. When humidity levels rise beyond this “safe zone,” there is enough moisture in the air for mold to potentially grow. 

In addition, it’s important to ensure all air ducts and refrigerant lines are properly sealed. Be sure to check that the drainage for your air conditioning unit is free of debris to prevent clogs that can lead to standing water.

If you’re determined to quickly improve your building’s indoor air quality, it can also be extremely helpful to invest in tools that can assist in monitoring humidity and the various contaminants in the air. This is where smart building technology comes into play. Installing several indoor air quality sensors throughout your building will allow you to quickly identify fluctuations in air quality caused by mold spores or other pollutants.

Establish Routine Cleaning and Maintenance Protocols

Effective mold mitigation starts with establishing consistent maintenance and cleaning protocols throughout the building. This includes quickly responding to roof leaks, removing any standing water found around AC equipment, and performing routine inspections of the building. Any equipment that could potentially leak should also be inspected and maintained at regular intervals. If your office is located in an area that receives steady rainfall or frequently encounters flooding, you may also want to develop an emergency response plan for dealing with widespread water damage.

Leverage IoT Solutions for Mold Control

Taking advantage of today’s cutting-edge technologies can drastically improve your mold detection and mold removal efforts. With IAQ monitoring by AttuneIoT, you’ll gain 24/7 real-time monitoring of your office’s indoor air that’s capable of detecting particles as small as 0.3 microns. In addition, our new Senseware Mold Warning feature will immediately notify you when conditions are right for mold to grow, allowing you to adjust temperature and humidity levels long before mole spores can spread. By placing Senseware monitors in common vectors for mold growth, such as ventilation systems, crawl spaces, and inside wall cavities, you can easily remedy potential issues long before costly mold remediation is required.

Don’t let indoor contaminants like mold undermine the health and comfort of your employees. If you’re ready to discover how AttuneIoT can help you maintain optimal indoor air quality all year round, schedule a demo with us today.

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