Some workers can be injured by consistent exposure to an environment that causes them to breathe in dangerous substances.
Local news for the Greenville, South Carolina area reported on employees who were concerned with air quality and the possible health issues it may cause at Clemson University.
Clemson has a serious mold and air quality problem
A number of molds and allergens have been found on the campus, especially in offices and other employee areas. It will cost the university millions of dollars over the next few years to clean up.
Many faculty around the university filed formal requests to look into the air quality in various parts of the campus. Student housing may have similar issues, but a separate department will investigate those buildings and report their findings.
An initial complaint from October of 2017 included one employee who complained of severe respiratory irritation. An investigation of her office revealed a large amount of mold spores. Shortly afterward, mercury was found in the floors of certain rooms that are rarely used anymore by a third party air quality testing company. By 2019, elevated mold spore counts were reported in additional buildings as well following similar tests. In total, over 36 buildings on the campus were tested as of the time of the report. While not all of the buildings have problems with mold or air quality, there seemed to be widespread issues with air conditioning and ventilation systems as the main culprit for the reduced air quality. Some of the HVAC systems are decades old, and replacing them will take millions out of the university’s budget.
Some of these areas have remained isolated or closed off, but the age of the infrastructure on the campus creates serious problems for administrators attempting to find a solution. Heating and air conditioning systems will have to be cleaned, replaced, or refurbished to maintain humidity levels that are not as conducive to the growth of mold.
Faculty at the University of South Carolina has already studied these issues, and concluded that people with asthma and compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to respiratory problems.
The relevant duty of care and employers
Employers have a duty to maintain safe workplaces for those who come in to work every day. If they fail to do so, they may find themselves named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit when someone can no longer work due to any kind of injury or health problem that was caused while they were on the job.
Other significant issues with respiratory problems for workers in the past have included cases related to mesothelioma and asbestos. These are significant health concerns, and employers who allowed their workers to develop these problems had to pay out various kinds of damages.
Get help from a local lawyer who deals with workplace injuries
There are attorneys in Greenville and surrounding areas who focus on helping people who are hurt at their jobs. The Hayes Law Firm is available to speak with you about your situation and the possibility of filing a lawsuit.