INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
What workers can do
When workers suspect their health problems are caused by exposure to building-related dampness or mold, workers should:
- Report concerns immediately to supervisors or those persons responsible for building maintenance.
- See your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Ask your doctor whether you should be medically restricted from the affected environment.
What management and building owners can do
When health problems are believed to be caused by exposure to dampness or mold in the workplace, owners and managers should:
- Always respond when occupant health concerns are reported.
- Establish clear procedures for recording and responding to IEQ complaints to ensure an adequate and timely response.
- Log all complaints or problem reports.
- Collect information about each complaint.
- Ensure confidentiality.
- Determine a plan for response.
- Identify appropriate resources for response.
- Apply remedial action.
- Provide feedback to building occupants regarding the complaint and response actions.
- Follow-up to ensure that remedial action has been effective.
- Regularly inspect building areas for evidence of dampness; take prompt steps to identify and correct the causes of any dampness problems found.
- Conduct regularly scheduled heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system inspections, and promptly correct any problems.
- Prevent high indoor humidity through the proper design and operation of HVAC systems.
- Dry any porous building materials that have become wet from leaks or flooding within 48 hours.
- Clean and repair or replace any building materials that are moisture-damaged or show evidence of visible mold growth. Follow remediation guidelines such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildingsexternal iconexternal icon
- Encourage occupants who have developed persistent or worsening respiratory symptoms while working in the building to see a health care provider.
- Follow health care provider recommendations for relocation of occupants diagnosed with building-related respiratory disease.
- Establish an indoor environmental quality (IEQ) team consisting of a coordinator and representatives of the building employees, employers, and building management who would oversee implementation of an IEQ program. The EPA Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schoolsexternal iconexternal icon can be used as a model for such a program.
Page last reviewed: September 1, 2015
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health