Mold is an unfortunate occurrence for many businesses and is more than just an annoyance. It has the potential to cause allergies and severe illness in your customers and clients, therefore increasing your risk for lawsuits. If you suspect mold in your business offices, you need to have it inspected and taken care of as soon as possible.
What is Mold?
Mold occurs naturally in the environment and can occur indoors and outdoors. Approximately 1,000 types of mold are found in the U.S. alone. It helps break down organic matter outdoors, making it a natural process. But when it occurs indoors, it puts everyone at risk. The growth of mold indoors can affect materials, smell and even get into the air or water. It is more common in areas where frequent moisture occurs, such as in the basement, bathroom or rooms of certain types of shops, like flower shops.
The Dangers of Mold
Mold has different degrees of health dangers and negative effects on individuals. It can cause allergic reactions, which often lead to more serious health complications and show flu-like symptoms, ranging from high temperature to red eyes and a runny rose. It can also cause skin infections, which is worsened if the person has a significant low immune system from diabetes, certain medications or AIDS. Some people are allergic to mold and it can have more serious complications for them if they are exposed to it. Contamination of mold also occurs if the individual is using cosmetics, drinking, eating or smoking where the mold exists.
If you find mold in your building, you need to get it cleaned, but first it helps to be able to identify it. Mold in your food is fairly obvious, but other types of mold may look slightly different. Here are some common signs of mold in the workplace:
Obvious stains – The most obvious signs are those you can see, including stain that are black, gray or green.
Odor – Next is the odor you might be smelling. It is usually a musty sort of odor, typically in the more moisture-rich areas of your business, such as the bathroom.
Health of co-workers – If you notice you or your employees are suffering from frequent congestion, runny nose, red eyes, skin rashes, fatigue, headaches or nausea, it may be the result of some bad mold in your business.
Hidden places – Many occurrences of mold are well hidden and is the result of bad plumbing, a leaky roof or problem with your building’s heating and air conditioning system.
How to Prevent Mold
If your business hasn’t yet developed mold, that is great. It is also not too late to prevent it. Do so by keeping up with all repairs, especially to your building’s plumbing system. If there are any leaks, get them sorted out immediately. You should also keep an eye out for wet spots or condensation, as this extra moisture can lead to mold. Keep a good humidity level in your business, aiming for 60 percent or lower. Have proper ventilation in bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements and kitchens. Lastly, make sure you have inspections of your building on a regular basis.
If you find mold, don’t try to clean it yourself. Contact a professional to take care of it, especially if it looks like toxic black mold. And protect your business from potential mold-related lawsuits by speaking to an insurance agent.