In Oklahoma and elsewhere across the nation, employees who work in buildings that are subject to high humidity levels or dampness from water leaks or flooding may want to be aware of the health risks that could be exacerbated by poor indoor air quality or mold. According to an article published by the National Safety Council on July 24, research studies show that asthma, bronchitis, rhinosinusitis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and other respiratory symptoms and infections are associated with exposure to these factors. These findings have been noted in a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health alert.

NIOSH directs a number of recommendations to managers, supervisors and building owners regarding mold and improved safety in the workplace. These suggestions include the regular inspection of their building’s HVAC system and the timely repair of any problem as well as the cleaning and replacement of any building material that appears to have been compromised by the presence of water or mold. The need for establishment of an indoor environmental quality team composed of a coordinator and representatives selected from among the employees, employers and management officials who work in the building is also indicated.

Workers are encouraged to report any musty odors or signs of water damage, mold or ventilation problems to their supervisor immediately upon detection and to visit their health care provider in the event that they are experiencing respiratory issues that may be rooted in the workplace. Employees should also become familiar with their company’s indoor environmental quality program or strive to have one established in its absence.

Oklahoma workers who have experienced health-related issues in connection with air quality and damp or moldy conditions at their place of employment or who may otherwise be concerned about workplace safety may find it beneficial to consult an attorney who is experienced in workers’ compensation law. The attorney could help the client seek compensation in the event that any responsible party has neglected to provide safe working conditions as required.