- On January 16, 2017
A toxic and hazardous work environment can mean serious business for companies all around the world. In the media you hear of businesses being forced to shut down due to toxic mold growing inside of commercial buildings, thus causing workers to suffer from skin allergies & respiratory problems. As a result, businesses may come to a halt and executives may face serious legal action.
To nip this issue in the bud, it’s important that the building Engineer, Facilities Managers and members of the Operational team are up to date on their mold awareness training, knowing the details about this toxic foe will allow them to spot the ”red flags” before they multiply and become toxic to employees. By implementing a mold prevention process in commercial buildings, a business is providing long-term protection and keeping their team safe.
Mold is always present, even indoors, but it is humid conditions that cause mold counts to be higher than they would be in a dry condition. Unknown building leaks and air conditioning units are responsible for the temperature and moisture in buildings, therefore, pesky leaks and poorly maintained commercial HVAC systems can serve as both a laboratory for growing mold and a highway system for transporting mold spores throughout a building.
The good news is that interior mold can be controlled! We have provided some basic mold information and 6 tips on how to keep your commercial building safe.
Where Does Mold Come From?
Mold can grow on a variety of materials, including drywall, carpeting, fabrics, and wood. Commercial buildings designed to maintain a consistent interior temperature provide favorable conditions for mold growth. When the temperature outside plummets and indoor air is heated, condensation can form on windows producing moisture. Too much interior moisture creates an environment in which mold thrives. As mold grows it releases a huge number of spores, which are tough and can survive freezing and drying.
Is All Mold Bad?
Molds aren’t all bad. In fact, some molds are actually used to make delicious cheeses and lifesaving drugs like penicillin. What commercial building managers are concerned about is interior black mold, which can become an ugly nuisance, and cause serious illness in humans and structural damage to buildings.
Some workers are sensitive to mold in the workplace and have allergic reactions when exposed to mold spores. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can cause allergic reactions such as coughing, sneezing, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, and skin rash. Workers, who are extremely sensitive to mold or have asthma, are more prone to the building related illnesses mold can cause. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reports that molds have the potential to cause serious and, in some cases, life-threatening illness by producing allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances called mycotoxins. In short, interior mold is nothing to mess around with and can have drastic effects on the productivity and health of your workforce.
Controlling Indoor Mold
Mold is typically considered a problem when it is visible, but often times, there is also a point in which the air quality of a commercial may have been compromised or an unknown leak may be undetected. By understanding the conditions that cause mold to thrive and spread, you can prevent mold growth in commercial buildings.
The best way to prevent mold growth is to reduce moisture with a regular building maintenance and inspection process. Here are some strategies for controlling interior mold:
1. Inspect all areas of the building for moisture, mold, and water damage routinely. Mold is sneaky.
2. Repair any leaks or water damage you discover as soon as possible.
3. Clean air conditioning coils and drip pans regularly. Pans that are plugged and not draining properly cause moisture to accumulate, quickly becoming a breeding ground for mold.
4. Make sure that all air conditioning ducts and system components such as air handlers, blowers, and any enclosed chambers are free of any moisture.
5. Perform proper housekeeping in all areas of the building keeping walls and floors dry.
6. Check the location of HVAC air intakes. Air being pulled in from areas near standing water or dumpsters can cause an increase in fungal spores inside the building.
If you have a mold problem already, cleaning up the surface will not solve the problem. You need to have someone specifically trained in the principals of commercial mold removal to get it all.
You may want to hire a commercial mold remediation specialist such as EHS Restoration(480) 306-5777. Once the mold is removed, create an inspection process that incorporates a routine commercial maintenance plan to prevent future mold problems.
EHS Provides complimentary training or Lunch & Learns that are designed to educate your property management or Facilities group. Feel free to reach out to us anytime to get yours scheduled.