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How to Fight the Annual Winter Mould Attack

Posted by Kim van Wamel on 6 July 2023

Winter is upon us and with an increase in rain, so too does the tendency for moisture ingress into building envelopes also increase. In turn, this can lead to increased risks for mould growth within the workplace. In Australia, mould is a significant occupational health and safety concern, especially in industries such as healthcare, construction, and hospitality. This article will discuss the impact of mould in the workplace and provide tips to prevent and manage mould growth.

Seasonally attributing factors aside, mould is a common problem in Australian workplaces. It can grow anywhere, including in wall and ceiling cavities, on carpets and other furnishings, and within air conditioning systems. Mould is often not visible and can go undetected for a long time. Furthermore, there does not need to be visible mould for a mould problem to be present. The first indicator of a mould issue is often a musty odour.

Mould growth can have various impacts on the workplace and employees. It can cause significant property damage and impact the aesthetics of the facility. Moreover, if left unchecked or incorrectly remediated, mould can cause a range of illnesses. Here are some of the most common health issues that can arise due to exposure to mould:

·         Allergies: Mould spores can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and headaches.

·         Respiratory issues: Mould spores can irritate the respiratory system and cause various respiratory issues, such as wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. This can be particularly dangerous for individuals with pre-existing conditions such as asthma.

·         Infections: Mould can cause infections, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems or immunocompromising illness.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your workplace is free from mould and that the health and safety of your employees are not compromised. As such, it is important to take active steps to prevent and manage mould growth in the workplace. Here are a few tips on how to prevent mould in the workplace:

1. Fix water leaks immediately: Leaks provide a perfect environment for mould growth. Ensure that all leaks are promptly fixed to prevent mould growth.

2. Keep the workplace clean and dry: Ensure that the workplace is regularly cleaned, and any spills or leaks are promptly cleaned up. Schedule seasonal cleaning of air conditioning systems and ensure filters are changed regularly.

3. Monitor humidity levels: Mould grows in humid conditions. Installing dehumidifiers can help maintain ideal humidity levels in the workplace.

4. Educate employees: Educate employees on the dangers of mould and how to prevent its growth. Encourage employees to report any signs of mould growth immediately to management.

It is essential to take a proactive approach to prevent mould growth in the workplace. As an employer, providing a safe and healthy workplace is not only essential for the well-being of your employees but also ensures compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety regulations. By taking steps to prevent mould growth, you are taking a proactive approach to employee health and safety.

Some of HAZCON’s consultants are nationally accredited mould testing technicians who can assist with professional testing and advice for any mould or indoor air quality related concerns.

Author:Kim van Wamel


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