It is imperative to understand the potential hazard severity of moulds in the workplace where sensitive individuals may be exposed, according to a recent paper on occupational exposure to mould.
However, where there may have been no retrospective or perceived exposure, it may be justifiable to assume the worst case scenario, rather than eliminating it, prior to taking action.
“Until Australia adopts mould exposure guideline values, such an approach may assist those assessing and managing risks around mould exposure,” said the paper’s authors, Claire Bird, senior environmental scientist at PAEHolmes, Flinders environmental health PhD student Sita Balshaw and EML Group of Laboratories’ Wayne Anderson.
Published in the Safety Institute of Australia’s Journal of Health & Safety Research & Practice (JHSRP), the authors noted that health risks associated with exposure to mould in indoor environments are of increasing concern.
In the current absence of a link between dampness, microbial exposure and health effects, the World Health Organisation recommends that mould should be prevented and where present, remediated.
“Currently no safe levels are set for airborne microorganisms in the residential or occupational setting in Australia or overseas,” said the authors.
Until Australia adopts mould exposure guideline values, they recommended that site assessment tools should be carefully selected to optimally mitigate risks around mould exposure.
“The type of moisture intrusion event and source, mould types, exposure routes and personal susceptibility to moulds vary significantly between individual sites and require diverse solutions,” they said in their paper, Getting the Best Answer by Asking the Right Question – Case Studies in Occupational Exposure to Mould.
The latest JHSRP papers are available to members on the SIA web site.