Mold in the workplace is a growing concern for Canadian employees and employers, and as awareness of the bad health effects of mold grows, so too does indoor air quality testing and mold removal and remediation.
How do you know if there is mold at work? Mold is a natural part of the human environment, and it is present everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Any building might have mold, but those with water leaks, a history of flooding, fires, or poor ventilation may be more susceptible to mold growth. As a kind of fungus, mold needs three things to thrive in an indoor environment: it needs water, food, and a stable temperature.
Water can be found in the workplace in a number of places: kitchens and bathrooms are obvious ones, but leaks can sprout in other places too - water coolers, piping for sprinkler systems, maintenance areas, and rooftops are all common locations that mold is found growing indoors.
Food is another easy to find material in your workplace. Mold in the workplace thrives on organic materials like carpet, paper, furniture, ceiling tiles, and loose insulation. The last ingredient is a stable temperature, which can often be found easily in buildings that are air conditioned year round, without windows that open, or with ventilation systems that are inadequate or faulty.
When there is mold growing in your workplace, it may not be visible to the naked eye, but may result in symptoms like nausea, headaches, or itchy, runny eyes or nose. If these symptoms seem to only appear while you’re at work and disappear when you leave, it may be mold in the workplace that is causing these symptoms.
It’s not only employees that should be worried - employers should also be concerned about indoor air quality and mold in the workplace. By law, Canadian employers are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers, and this includes the indoor air quality of your workspace.
Many companies and businesses now have committees or task forces that look at ways of maintaining their facilities. If there’s one such group at your office and you’re curious about your indoor air quality, suggest that the company test for mold and other air quality issues. At SafeAir, we do indoor air quality tests for residential, commercial, and even agricultural buildings, and we are experts at pinpointing air quality issues in buildings big and small. If you are experiencing symptoms that may be caused by mold in the workplace or other allergens in the indoor environment, having an air quality test performed can be beneficial not only to you, but to your colleagues that suffer from conditions like asthma, bronchitis, or allergies.
Ensuring safety at the office doesn’t only have to do with proper ladder usage and heavy loads - the air you breathe is important too. Give us a call at SafeAir today to speak with one of our technicians about your office’s indoor air quality and what we can do to help.
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