What are the dangers of damp?
Posted on 18th Mar, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
Over the course of your career, you’ll likely to come across damp on more occasions than one. While it may seem like little to worry about, when compared with other workplace hazards, damp is a danger and can have adverse affects on your health. With this in mind, damp is our health and safety topic for this week’s blog. We’ll be dishing out all the safety advice you need when it comes to damp in the workplace and how to minimise the dangers.
What are the dangers?
Moulds produce allergens, irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances. This becomes a problem as, over time and when disturbed, mould particles are released into the air and consequently breathed in by those working in the space. Moulds can also produce toxic substances such as volatile organic chemicals (VOC), proteases, glucans, and other irritants that can have a negative impact on one’s health.
How does it affect us?
Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds also interfere with the respiratory system. This can cause asthma attacks, worsening of asthma conditions, respiratory infections, and coughing and wheezing.
Where can I find it?
Mould and damp are found indoors and out. When mold is present in the air outside, it can even attach itself to clothing and be carried indoors.
Mold will commonly grow in areas of excess moisture – for example, around leaks in roofs, windows or pipes. It can also grow well on paper products and wood, as well as in dust, paint, fabric, carpets and upholstery.
A new-build home is just one of the areas where you’ll be exposed to the risks of damp. This is because the building is usually still drying out – for example, in the plaster on the walls. Excess moisture indoors can also be caused by condensation.
Who is at risk?
A number of tradespeople face the risks of damp on a regular basis, including:
- Risk Assessors
- Roofers and tilers working in attics
Controlling the risks
If you’re working in an area where there’s mold, keep humidity levels as low as you can and be sure to keep the space well ventilated. You can also wear safety goggles to prevent eye irritation as well as respirator mask, to reduce the number of mold spores you breathe in. It’s a good idea to work for short periods of time too, taking breaks in a fresh air, outdoor location
Damp is just one of the many issues you’ve got to be aware of as a tradesperson. To find out how to stay safe when it comes to other hazards in the workplace, take a look at our safety training courses. You discover our range of offerings here and call our Course Enquiries team on 01282 615517 to find out more.