There has been a mould problem at my work for awhile now and no one is getting serious about it. I am at lost with what to do.

Our shower and locker block is not in good condition. The room is always damp. There is black mould and spores on the ceilings and the walls. It smells and has got so bad that people are feeling nauseous. The managers have said we should wear masks if it bother us but won't do anything else.

Mould is a hazard that can cause serious health issues. You already report people feel nauseous and have difficulty breathing – these symptoms cannot be ignored. Repeated exposure to certain moulds can wear down people’s immune symptoms and serious illnesses and reactions may occur. People with health issues are also more vulnerable.

Let's start by highlighting two sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

S. 21 states that “An employer must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain for employees of the employer a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. An employer contravenes that subsection if the employer fails to… (c) maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, each workplace under the employer's management and control in a condition that is safe and without risks to health; and (d) provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, adequate facilities for the welfare of employees at any workplace under the management and control of the employer.”.

S.22 states that “An employer must, so far as is reasonably practicable (a) monitor the health of employees of the employer; and (b) monitor conditions at any workplace under the employer's management and control”.

If your employer does not own the building they have a duty to work with the owners to make your workplace safe. The fact that they do not own the building does not remove or displace he duty to their employees to provide a healthy working environment.

Although there are no specific mould guidance from WorkSafe Victoria, other jurisdictions around Australia have published mould-specific information. We can look at their guidance to establish the 'state of knowledge' around this particular hazard - and what is reasonably practicable when trying to eliminate or better control the risk. As an example, here’s a link to the “Managing Mould” info page from the official Queensland Work Safe website.

In short mould has no place indoors and must be prevented at the source - eliminate excessive moisture and dampness. Given the spread that you describe experts should be consulted and trained clean-up personnel be engaged to handle mould contamination.

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