The Warren County Courthouse employees’ are risking chronic laryngitis and respiratory problems just by showing up for work at the Warren County Courthouse. It seems the building that houses the Warren County court has a mold problem apparently caused by repeated flooding. But mold isn’t the only problem. One member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors points out the Board is also having to deal with electrical and plumbing problems. Several employees have been using the bathrooms at a nearby restaurant. Juries are being picked in the Board of Supervisor’s meeting room and then they are bused to other courthouses to conduct jury trials.
While the one employee who was interviewed said she personally does not want to consider suing it is only a matter of time before those made ill by the workplace will have to file workers’ compensation claims. They will have to because the health insurer will refuse to pay for medical treatment caused by a work injury when that should be covered by the workers’ compensation insurer. Then the WC insurer will figure out whoever insures the building owner should be paying and the lawsuits are heading to the courthouse, but for the fact they are in some other county because of the mold situation.
- Warren County Court House in Indianola, Iowa
- Federal OSHA laws do not cover state and local workers. See “Am I covered by OSHA?”
- A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace, U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA
- Preventing Mold-Related Problems in the Indoor Workplace, OSHA’s guide for building owners, managers and occupants
Am I covered by OSHA?
Private Sector Workers — OSHA covers most private sector employers and workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state plan. State-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program. To find the contact information for the OSHA Federal or State Program office nearest you, see the Regional and Area Offices map.
State and Local Government Workers — Workers at state and local government agencies are not covered by Federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in one of the 22 states and territories that have an OSHA-approved state program. Five additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved plans that cover public sector employees only: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands. Private sector workers in these five states and the Virgin Islands are covered by Federal OSHA.
Federal Government Workers — OSHA's protection applies to all federal agencies. Federal agencies must have a safety and health program that meet the same standards as private employers. Although OSHA does not fine federal agencies, it does monitor these agencies and conducts federal workplace inspections in response to workers' complaints.
Call IOSHA to complain by phoning Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- 1000 E Grand Avenue
- Des Moines, IA 50319-0209
- (515) 242-5870
And, Health Effects from Breathing Mold [From the OSHA Guide listed above.]
Health Effects - Currently, there are no federal standards or recommendations, (e.g., OSHA, NIOSH, EPA) for airborne concentrations of mold or mold spores. Scientific research on the relationship between mold exposures and health effects is ongoing. This section provides a brief overview, but does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information, consult a health professional or your state or local health department.
There are many types of mold. Most typical indoor air exposures to mold do not present a risk of adverse health effects. Molds can cause adverse effects by producing allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions). Potential health concerns are important reasons to prevent mold growth and to remediate existing problem areas.
The onset of allergic reactions to mold can be either immediate or delayed. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms such as runny nose and red eyes.
Molds may cause localized skin or mucosal infections but, in general, do not cause systemic infections in humans, except for persons with impaired immunity, AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes, or those taking immune suppressive drugs. An important reference with guidelines for immuno-compromised individuals can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Molds can also cause asthma attacks in some individuals who are allergic to mold. In addition, exposure to mold can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat in certain individuals. Symptoms other than allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold in the indoor environment.
Some specific species of mold produce mycotoxins under certain environmental conditions. Potential health effects from mycotoxins are the subject of ongoing scientific research and are beyond the scope of this document.
Eating, drinking, and using tobacco products and cosmetics where mold remediation is taking place should be avoided. This will prevent unnecessary contamination of food, beverage, cosmetics, and tobacco products by mold and other harmful substances within the work area.
Warren County Courthouse Employee: ‘We’re sick, we’re all sick’
POSTED 5:16 PM, AUGUST 15, 2016, BY SONYA HEITSHUSEN, UPDATED AT 05:17PM, AUGUST 15, 2016
Do the Warren County Courthouse employees know I and many other lawyers, practice in the area of workers' compensation? For employees who have no control over the building it is pretty simple. Get a doctor to write a work excuse and file a workers' compensation claim. If the excuse restricts you being around mold you cannot be forced to work and should receive weekly compensation benefits for being absent while under a doctor’s orders. No lawsuit, just a workers' compensation claim. Restrictions would be "no working around mold". Period, end of story. It's like working in a coal mine.
Tennessee Ernie Ford, 16 Tons “I owe my soul to the Warren County Board of Supervisors…” do-do, do-do, da-da-da….
If you would like to sing along just look up the lyrics. They are in many places on the Internet.