Injuries in the workplace often happen due to defective equipment or to some type of accident causing direct personal injury, but this is not always the case. Recently, a number of employees at a Colorado health care center have filed workers’ compensation claims against their employer. They are alleging that mold in the building is causing them to be ill.
One woman who began working in the facility last November began feeling ill just a few weeks after she started. At first, her physician thought she might have bronchitis, but antibiotics failed to help. However, she later found mold in the building, and she believes that it might be responsible for her condition. Subsequent air samples taken at the facility have shown that there are levels of a “mold-like substance.” In addition, employees have sealed off two rooms in an attempt to protect residents.
The problem may be traced to an issue with a portion of the roof, and that problem may have allowed water in. Black mold has been found growing in one of the affected rooms, and both the Colorado Department of Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the matter. At the moment, the facility says that no residents have been impacted by the problem.
However, for the affected employees, breathing mold can lead to not only short-term respiratory problems but can also cause damage to the lungs that may last for a significant amount of time. They are now in the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits, and their claims are currently under review. If successful, the benefits can go toward their medical expenses.
Source: Loveland Reporter-Herald, “Mold complaints filed against Loveland’s Sierra Vista,” Pamela Dickman, March 31, 2012