Toxic mold has become a hot topic and businesses should take notice. Injury claims have shrunk to a nuclear level; compensation for these injuries has exploded.
Indoor air quality has become a big business for personal injury firms and businesses are wise to take notice. The cost of these claims can be crippling. It is critical that businesses take steps to protect themselves against these types of claims.
This may easier said than done for several reasons.
First, mold is unavoidable. “There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces.” – Centers for Disease Control
Businesses should take comfort in knowing that mold in and of itself is not necessarily bad. The name “toxic mold” is a bit of a sensationalized term. It is not the mold itself that causes the problem. It is the mycotoxins that are produced by certain varieties of mold, that has the potential to impact a person’s health.
The second challenge to avoiding mold claims is that mold is hard to prevent. As energy efficient design takes over, less air circulates leading to the increased likelihood of mold developing.
So, how do businesses protect themselves? Minimize the likelihood of its proliferation with these tools:
· Ensure adequate ventilation – Having a ventilation system in place is not enough. Businesses must make sure that their ventilation system is functioning properly and is powerful enough to remove or minimize pollutants. Adequate ventilation has an additional benefit to businesses. Good ventilation has been linked in studies to better performance and productivity in offices. It is worthwhile to invest in a strong ventilation system.
· Control humidity in buildings – Mold depends on moisture to thrive. Reducing and controlling the overall humidity in a building will minimize the likelihood of mold developing. Ventilation systems have the capacity to alter the overall humidity in a building. This must be factored in as well.
· Promptly remediate indoor water penetration – Address leaks through cracks and holes that can introduce moisture which can lead to mold.
· Maintain your equipment and your building – It is not enough to have all of the right systems. It is important that they be properly maintained and regularly inspected. Maintenance records should be kept to keep a business on track. If a business must defend itself against a toxic tort claim, these records can be valuable evidence working in their favor.
While it may not be possible to avoid mold entirely, these steps will help businesses reduce the likelihood of facing a toxic tort claim.