How does mould affect worker health and productivity?

How does mould affect worker health and productivity?

Mould, it may seem completely harmless at a glance, but dependant on the environment this may not be the case. It can be a serious problem if it grows indoors.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends executing moisture control measures to prevent the growth of mould in offices, schools, homes and other buildings. Areas that are prone to humidity result in high levels of moisture. These damp, humid environments are the perfect conditions for mould to grow. Therefore building managers need to monitor and check humidity levels. Smart tools can be used to measure temperature, HVAC R system air velocity and air volume to further help technicians determine where mould growth could occur.

But why put so much effort into eliminating the fungus? Mould can introduce several health hazards that not only affect employee productivity but can also induce illness.

Spores and ailments

There is a vast range of debilitating effects associated with mould growth in indoor spaces. When it comes time for mould to procreate, it develops spores. These tiny particles travel through the air and enter into the nasal passages of those working in the mould-infested areas.

The effect the inhalation of these spores can have initially can be relatively moderate, inducing a runny or blocked nose. However, mould spores are also known to irritate the eyes and skin, specifically in people who are allergic to mould. Whilst rare, mould is capable of causing lung infections, prompting victims to require medical attention. Rashes, fatigues, sneezing and coughing are also symptoms associated with mould exposure.

But perhaps an even bigger concern is the particularly harmful effects associated with mycotoxins. There are toxic moulds that produce these mycotoxins and therefore present even more severe health hazards. When people come into contact with areas with high levels of mycotoxins there's a possibility that person will suffer neurological issues.

Illnesses and productivity 

The "just tuck in and get it done" attitude of Kiwis means employees often work even when they don't feel optimal. A study conducted by researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands concluded that job demands prompt some employees to be present at their jobs even when they should be taking sick days, and here in New Zealand, employees are no different. This behaviour eventually leads to burn out, which can intern induce high staff turn over as these employees seek out different employment. Overall, contracting HVAC R technicians to detect mould should be considered part of a companies staff retention policy. Testo offers a range of smart tools to detect humidity, temperature and airflow rates. This gives administrators the ability to determine where mould may be growing and eliminate it. Therefore, they are reducing the risk of workers becoming ill.

For more information about Testo range of Smart Tools to create the ideal working environment, get in contact with the Testo New Zealand team today!