What to do if you find mould in the workplace?

Mould on a wall_environmental consultants

As leading environmental consultants in Melbourne, we know finding risks to the health and safety of your employees on your worksite fills every business owner with dread. Thankfully, as specialists in mould assessment and remediation, we’ve helpfully outlined the simple steps to take if you find mould in your workplace, and when to call in the experts.

What is mould?

Mould is a type of fungi that can be commonly found in homes and workplaces. There are over 100,000 different types of mould, but they fall under one of three classifications: Allergenic, pathogenic or toxigenic. Allergenic mould encourages allergic reactions, pathogenic mould can exacerbate issues in those who suffer from acute illnesses and toxigenic mould produces toxic spores which cause serious health issues.

There are many mould hiding spots inside interiors but typically mould can often be found in damp, dark corners. Mould grows near sources of dampness, spaces with excessive humidity, or rooms with poor ventilation. It can occur in damp areas like bathrooms and kitchens or spaces that have leaky pipes. The conditions that allow mould to grow must also be resolved to prevent the mould from reappearing.

What are the health concerns of mould?

Unfortunately, mould spreads through airborne spores which can cause respiratory issues, particularly to employees with asthma or allergies. When mould is spotted, it’s best to act fast! Mould can penetrate deep into surfaces, making long-term mould more persistent and difficult to remove.

If the mould continues to spread, it can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing as well as respiratory infections in those nearby. Mould can also cause headaches, itchy or watery eyes and skin irritation but there are risks of severe and chronic conditions. Most common moulds will only cause mild issues, particularly if resolved quickly, but dangerous moulds like toxic mould can cause shocking effects to your health. To avoid a serious workplace health and safety hazard, the mould must be removed, and any moisture or humidity issues must be resolved quickly.

The first steps to take when mould is spotted

If you see signs of fungus or notice a musty smell, there are steps to take to ensure your workplace is free from mould and the issue does not reoccur.

  • Inspect areas prone to mould and check the ventilation systems currently in place. Open windows and ensure the exhaust fans are functional in humid spaces like the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • If any areas often appear damp, assess if there are any leaky pipes or building faults that can be repaired. It could be a simple fix like a leaking pipe in the bathroom sink or an older air conditioner unit in need of repair.
  • To prevent the mould from resurfacing, remove any porous materials that have mould on them that cannot simply be wiped away. Remove any mouldy wallpaper, timber or soft materials and replace any carpets or ceiling tiles that have been affected by mould or dampness.
  • Ensure that your insulation and air conditioner is effective to avoid creating stagnant air conditions that encourage mould growth.
  • If the mould issue appears small and manageable on a non-porous surface, such as a small patch near a sink in the office kitchen, it can be cleaned away. Wipe away the mould with a damp, clean cloth and diluted vinegar. Ensure the site is completely dry afterwards to prevent the mould from regrowing.
  • Mould thrives on organic matter, such as dust or skin cells, so it’s important to clean your workplace regularly to prevent a mould outbreak.

Still concerned about mould in the workplace?

If you’ve attempted to clean the mould from non-porous surfaces and it keeps returning, the mould is across a very large space, or you suspect the mould is more sinister and toxic, it’s best to call the professionals.

Deep mould infestations, particularly after flood damage, require professional environmental consultants like the team at Alpha Environmental to assess the site. Our mould assessment services include sampling the air and surface, providing remediation strategies and post-remediation verification so you can rest assured that your workplace is safe and free from mould.

Are you in need of environmental consultants in Melbourne?

Alpha Environmental are professional and experienced environmental consultants in Melbourne. Our dedicated team delivers cost and time effective solutions with an upfront and personal approach for Melbourne businesses dealing with mould infestations, asbestos issues or in need of environmental site assessments.

To learn more about our environmental services, get in touch with us today by calling 1300 039 181 or by filling out our online contact form.