Does your office have a strong smell to it when it is humid outside? Have you noticed strange discolorations on the walls and ceilings of your workplace? Have people around your job been getting sick with increased frequency lately? Dangerous mold growth and the exposure to it could be the underlying cause. It might even be harmful enough to take you off the job for a while, making you eligible to receive workers’ compensation in the meantime.
Black Mold Growing in Workspaces
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black mold – scientifically named Stachybotrys chartarum – is a potentially harmful strain of mold that is “not rare,” meaning it is more common than most people realize. In other words, it can grow and spread in most moist, humid, and damp environments. Black mold, in particular, thrives where there is excess moisture, like under a breakroom sink that has a leak.
Black mold has also been known to grow rapidly on:
If your office is not continually dusted and cleaned, then it could be harboring black mold growths. Each time you come into work, you may be unknowingly exposed to black mold and suffering the health consequences of it.
What Harm Can Black Mold Do?
Repeated exposure to black mold spores in the air can cause you to develop mycotoxicosis or mold poisoning.
Symptoms of mold poisoning in most people include:
- Full body pains
- Chronic headaches
- Memory and mood issues
In some cases, it is believed repeated black mold exposure can cause life-threatening symptoms, such as respiratory failures. People with allergies to mycotoxins weakened immune systems, asthma, and other pulmonary diseases are more susceptible to developing severe mycotoxicosis symptoms.
How Can You Tell If There is Black Mold in Your Workplace?
There are dozens of known strains of mold that can grow in the average indoor climate. Many are known to be benign, but a few like black mold can be dangerous. How can you differentiate between black mold and another form of mold?
The CDC warns that you probably cannot. Unless you have a scientific laboratory at hand and the right training, you are unlikely to be able to distinguish black mold from another strain since most appear to be dark green or black under the naked eye. If you see mold in your workplace, then it is better to assume it is dangerous, remove yourself from the area, and notify your supervisor or employer immediately.
If you don’t actually see mold, there are other warning signs it might be growing in your workplace:
- The air smells musty in a particular room, especially when it is humid outside.
- Walls or ceiling tiles are discolored, and the stain seems to be growing as the days go by.
- You or your coworkers are developing unexplained skin rashes.
- You or your coworkers are suffering from chronic coughing and fatigue.
Can You Get Workers’ Comp for Mold Exposure?
It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure you are provided a clean and safe workspace free of hazards of all types, including potentially dangerous mold growth. If you do develop symptoms of mycotoxicosis from black mold growing in your workspace – be it an office, retail store, the agricultural field, etc. – then it can constitute an occupational hazard. As such, exposure to it and the symptoms suffered were caused directly due to your job duties. Therefore, black mold exposure can be grounds for receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
If you live in Orlando and the surrounding Central Florida region and need help pursuing workers’ compensation benefits due to black mold exposure, you can come to Van Dingenen Law for legal guidance. For more than 25 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys have been by the sides of workers just like you in a situation much like yours. Discover the difference our representation can make for your workers’ comp claim by calling (407) 967-5377 today to schedule a free consultation.