Suspect you have a mold problem at your place of business? Unfortunately, many business owners have to deal with this issue. However, many ignore it because they aren’t sure how to deal with the problem. Ignoring the mold won’t make it go away and could lead to bigger problems such as the health and safety of your employees.
Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere – inside or outside – throughout the year. About 1,000 species of mold can be found in the United States, with more than 100,000 known species worldwide.
Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Problems may arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings.
Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores (viable seeds) that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air.
Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on to survive. Some molds grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.
When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.
How to Deal with a Mold Problem
When it comes to dealing with mold, prevention is key, but preventing it isn’t always possible.
Call in professionals.The minute you suspect mold in the workplace, call in specialists that can access your office building and find the source of the mold problem. Often mold appears indoors due to a leak, or through environmental factors such as flooding or high humidity.
Additionally, if you rent an office space, be sure to alert the landlord about the situation before you schedule a mold inspection. If you need help from a local professional, you can contact our friends at AMA Environmental.
Ideal conditions for mold growth:
- Temperatures above 70
- High humidity
- Water damage
Symptoms of mold exposure:
- Stuffy nose
- Eye irritation
Understand your employee’s rights. As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide safe working conditions to your workers. In fact, if you have been alerted of a mold problem, but continue to expose your staff to it, they can report unhealthy or unsafe hazards to OSHA.
Mold can also trigger health ailments such as asthma, upper respiratory problems, nausea, and fatigue. Therefore, be sure to listen to your employees if they have any of these symptoms, smell mold, or have even seen it within the work environment.
Mold prevention. Mold starts when moisture is present. You can prevent moisture in your office space before it becomes a problem by:
Purchasing a dehumidifier– if your office space is prone to humidity, consider purchasing a dehumidifier, which can wick away any excess moisture and prevent mold from spreading in walls, carpeting, or other surfaces.
Being proactive about plumbing– if a sink pipe has burst or a toilet has a clog, be sure to get it fixed right away. Pipes can leak or even worse burst, causing water damage and a serious mold problem.
Fixing poor insulation– even if you keep office windows and doors closed, poor insulation can cause moisture from the outdoor environment to get in through the cracks causing damage and mold to build up over time.
Scheduling routine maintenance– if your business space does not undergo regular maintenance through cleaning or ventilation inspections, mold may be present. Not only does regular upkeep help to keep a place clean, but if mold is found during a regular check up or cleaning, it can prevent it from spreading more.
We’re Here to Help
Dealing with a mold problem can feel overwhelming. Whether it is a professional recommendation or to counsel on the coverage’s your business insurance provides we are here to help you every step of the way.