By Skylar Price
For any size business owner, it’s important to provide many things for their employees. Besides a paycheck, tax documents, and other paperwork, employers are required by federal regulations to provide a safe and hazard-free workplace. These regulations do not cover only structural components of your business, but also air quality. Mold that is allowed to grow in your place of business can seriously undermine your efforts in reaching and maintaining compliance with these many regulations. Some regulations are also found at the state level.
Regulations such as OSHA‘s do not specifically address the spores that can cause allergic reactions in many individuals, nor the mycotoxins that can cause adverse health effects in people, making it challenging for employers and business owners to know when they are falling out of compliance. Because the language that many of these regulations are written in remains vague, it is always beneficial for everyone involved to take a proactive stance against mold and the many causes that create situations that can allow it to grow quickly. Vague language can sometimes be detrimental to even the most conscientious of business owners when dealing with federal agencies.
Once mold has started to grow, it quickly sends off spores. These spores are so small they can be carried by air alone, but are often carried by moisture and even insects, like bees carry pollen. When the spore lands somewhere, it quickly will take hold and begin to grow, forming its colony. This is one reason why mold is so difficult to eradicate. These spores can remain inactive for extended periods, waiting for when the environmental conditions are right for them. They can be tucked away inside air filtration systems, behind walls, under carpets, and on top of fabrication equipment.
Most molds are naturally found outside but are tracked in by people’s shoes and boots from outdoors. Because there aren’t any of the natural environmental aspects, such as rain, direct and unfiltered sunlight, wind, and even natural predators, such as the mold mite, to keep mold growth to a minimum indoors. It can rapidly grow and spread throughout an entire building. Obvious signs of mold growth are visible, but sometimes, it is only a musty odor that has no visible source. Mold is well-known for growing well in small hidden areas, such as above or below machinery. If employees bring snow or rainwater into your factory, and the moisture from their footwear ends up under a machine, this would create a perfect breeding ground for mold.
If you own a business and have reason to believe that there is mold growing on your business site, warehouse, or factory, you should make a call to professionals who understand not only how prolifically mold grows, but also what the dangers are of engaging in mold clean-up.