Exposure to mold can cause many health problems, including severe allergic reactions in affected individuals. Indoor mold can grow anywhere that moisture is present, but many health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warn that it should be avoided. Because of the potential for health risks, employers are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act to provide their employees with a workplace free from health hazards, including mold. Mold is most dangerous when it appears in large clusters, but it can sometimes remain hidden and be detected only by smell. If you suspect your workplace is infected with mold, take action immediately.
Inform your supervisor or a member of your company-sponsored safety committee. Submit an e-mail stating your concern and your reasons for suspecting mold, and politely request that an inspection be done. Copy anyone within your organization, such as your human resources manager, who you believe should also be notified. Follow up by phone or in person to emphasize your concerns. Request a temporary move if your workstation is near visible mold. Print and keep a copy of your e-mail request for safekeeping.
Report the mold problem to the corporate office of your employer if actions are not taken to correct it in a timely manner. Take photos of the mold as evidence, and include them with your letter or e-mail to the head of your company. Again, follow up with a phone call, and request official documentation, such as a report from an air-conditioning company or health inspector, showing that the mold has been inspected and cleaned away.
Report the problem to your state department of health or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration if your employer does not address the problem. Call 800-321-6742 or visit the OSHA website, osha.gov., to file a complaint.
Angela Campbell began writing professionally in 1997 for Easley Publications in Easley, SC, and later for Gannett newspaper properties. A graduate of the University of South Carolina's mass communications and journalism program, she has won numerous South Carolina State Press Association awards for spot news reporting, business reporting, feature writing, photography and page design.