Facts and Myths about Mould, and How It Impacts Occupational Hygiene
People are often talking about the effects of mould on employees and buildings. But what are the issues and risks associated with mould in the workplace? The available science on mould and its potential health effects remains under study, but we have made considerable progress. Several respected institutions, like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation, agree that working and living in buildings with mould result in an increased risk of respiratory disease. What does this mean for your occupational hygiene strategy? Let us take a closer look at some of the myths surrounding mould, and dispel these with hard facts.
What is Mould?
It is a colloquial term for a group of filamentous fungi commonly found in wet materials and on food. This includes the fungi that spoil our fruit, cheese, and bread, as well as the green species responsible for producing penicillin. Most of the types of mould that grow on damp building materials are found in the soil, and can adapt in order to grow on many different materials.
How does Mould Get into a Building?
Contrary to the myth that mould can form in an unhygienic environment, it needs moisture to grow and thrive. Mould occurs naturally outdoors, but it becomes a problem when it enters our work and living areas. The problem starts in areas where there is water or prolonged and elevated humidity.
What Indoor Moisture has the Potential to Lead to Mould Problems?
Frequent sources of indoor moisture capable of leading to mould growth include:
- Roof leaks from damaged roofing and blocked gutters.
- Flooding from surface water, such as overflowing rivers.
- Rain driven through exterior walls or window frames by the weather.
- Sewer backups, leaking pipes, or overflows.
These are only a few examples of how moisture can provide the perfect breeding conditions for indoor mould, which every occupational hygiene strategy should look to address.
In Need of a Professional Occupational Hygiene Health Risk Assessment?
An occupational hygiene risk assessment is a painstaking inspection of the things that could make people in your workplace ill. This allows the risk to be weighed, using a risk calculation and rating method, and determines whether enough precautions and controls are in place to avoid harm. Employees and the public at large must be protected from harm caused by a failure to control risks. We are experienced in performing health risk assessments, and help our clients to achieve and maintain a safer workspace for all their employees. We are proud of our many years of excellent service in the occupational hygiene industry.
Occupational health risk assessments are not once-off exercises. Occupational health has to be reviewed at least once every 24 months because of the changing and evolving workplace. If you would like to discuss your occupational hygiene needs in greater detail, and find out why we are your first choice for expert occupational health and safety solutions, contact us today. Our team is always at hand to provide you with all the information needed to make an informed decision regarding the health and safety of your employees.