The topic of mold in the workplace is a legally murky area. As OSHA itself points out, “There are no [current] federal standards or recommendations, (e.g., OSHA, NIOSH, EPA) for airborne concentrations of mold or mold spores.” However, this does not mean that mold itself is outside the realm of what OSHA is concerned with. As OSHA’s mold guide also states, “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees.” Because mold has been clearly indicted as an aggravating and/or causal factor in a number of health conditions, it is unquestionable that excess mold in the workplace could become a health concern, therefore subjecting your company to OSHA regulations. (As well as lawsuits, reputation damage, and other highly negative consequences. Due to the aforementioned fuzziness of current regulations, however, it is difficult to tell at exactly what point mold becomes a legal concern.
Complicating matters even more, as much as business owners would love to simply “play it safe” and keep their buildings entirely mold free, this is not an option either. OSHA offers a concise overview of the ubiquity of mold. “Molds are the most common forms of fungi found on the earth. Fungi are classified as neither plants nor animals, and include yeasts, mildews, puffballs, and mushrooms. Most molds reproduce through the formation of spores, tiny microscopic cells that float through the indoor and outdoor air on a continual basis. We are all exposed to mold spores in the air we breathe on a daily basis, both indoors and outdoors.” In other words, virtually every building on earth contains at least some mold, and avoiding it (and avoiding exposing your employees to it) is impossible. The key to smart building management lies in assessing and mitigating risk.
Here are a few tips mentioned in OSHA’s mold report that you should consider implementing:
- Find mold. It is important to review you building carefully in order to discover any potential mold infestations. This is highly relevant because mold tends to thrive in precisely the places where it has a high chance of going unnoticed: basements, attics, crawlspaces, and hidden nooks and crannies.
- Sampling and identifying mold. Some types of mold are more dangerous than others. If you are concerned that a mold infestation you have found may be toxic, you may wish to call a professional for testing.
- Removing mold. Regardless of the size or toxicity of an infestation, if it is large enough to be visible (or detectable by smell) then you should probably invest in removing it, either with a professional service, or with a powerful do-it-yourself product such as the RMR Solutions Botanical Cleaner and Treatment or the RMR-86 Mold Stain Remover.
- Preventing mold. Once you have removed any mold infestations, you should take precautions in order to ensure that you do not experience any mold problems in the future; most importantly, remove any potential water leaks or other sources of moisture!
To learn more about mold and mold removal, visit RMR Solutions online today!