There has been a lot of controversy (and litigation) surrounding mold over the years. Scientists, doctors, and lawyers have been arguing about the possible health risks involved due to exposure to mold, with engineers, architects, and facilities managers often caught in the middle.
One thing everyone can agree on is that mold should not be allowed to grow as it can quickly spiral out of control. Not only can mold be a possible health risk, it can negatively affect the aesthetics of your workplace and ruin the structural integrity of your building.
The best bet for a facility manager is to prevent mold growth as much as possible and then remediating the mold if it should appear.
Mold needs moisture to grow, so the key to preventing mold growth is to address any roof or plumbing leaks, condensation, or excess humidity issues as soon as they arise. Modern construction techniques have resulted in air-tight buildings that don’t allow moisture to easily escape, making mold an ever-present concern.
The EPA recommends these tips in preventing mold growth.
- Do not let water stand in air conditioning or refrigerator drip pans
- Vent showers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside.
- Use air conditioners, de-humidifiers, and ventilation to maintain indoor humidity levels between 30-60%
- Use exhaust fans in food service areas
- Inspect the building for signs of mold, moisture, leaks or spills
- Look for water stains or discoloration on the ceiling, walls, floors, and window sills
- Look for standing water—especially in bathrooms, under sinks, or near watercoolers
- Should leaks or spills or accidents occur, clean and dry building materials within 24-48 hours to prevent mold
- Absorbent materials (ceiling tiles, carpets, etc.) may need to be replaced
Mold spores are everywhere, so it is impossible to completely prevent all mold from growing. The best you can do, should you become aware of any mold outbreaks, is to quickly remove it before it becomes a hazard.
The EPA is an excellent resource for mold remediation. If you hire any professionals to remove the mold (which, if you suspect the mold may be a big problem, is recommended) make sure they follow the EPA remediation guidelines.
There are thousands of types of mold, all of which may be hazardous to your health. So, if you are going to have you or your employees remove the mold, make sure to wear an N95 disposable respirator for protection.
The CDC has great information on what to do if you or your employees suspect health problems from exposure to mold.
Should you discover mold in your facility, there’s no need to panic. Just take care of the problem quickly and follow the guidelines on the websites linked above.
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For assistance with maintaining a safe and clean work environment in your operation, contact Vanguard Resources.