OSHA finds 'serious' mold growth in Salem VA Hospital building

By Rob Manch - Reporter

SALEM (WSLS 10) - The Salem VA Hospital has been cited for serious workplace violations in regards to mold.

OSHA investigators discovered the problem in Building 75 and have given the hospital 30 days to correct the issue.

Two employees have reported health issues in regards to the mold, according to OSHA area director Stanley Dutko.

According to the citation, those could include allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and aggravation of existing health conditions. CLICK HERE TO READ THE CITATION

OSHA said it has classified the mold growth as "serious" and said employees who feel the mold could affect them can request the hospital to accommodate them, either moving them to another workplace or immediately installing air filters.

"Our position is it was made aware of it some time ago and there should have been some action taken to fix the situation long before it got to the point that one of the employees had to file a complaint with federal OSHA," said Dutko.

Building 75 is called the Wellness Center on the hospital's campus.

The hospital stated that the Wellness Center is not used for patient care.

The Salem VA Medical Center sent us this statement:

Salem takes all reports of safety concerns seriously and will continue to provide a safe working environment for its Veterans, visitors, and employees.

Salem VA Medical Center's Safety Office conducted an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) review of a non-patient care building in November 2016 related to potential mold.  Following the review, the facility removed any items with visible substance identified, completed plumbing repairs and ensured scheduled maintenance on the HVAC system was accomplished.  These actions were all completed within 30 days of the initial concern being raised.  Following additional recent concerns raised by employees, an external review was conducted, we have contracted a local company to clean ductwork and vent systems as a precautionary measure.  This cleaning will commence on April 1, 2017 and should be completed no later than April 5, 2017.

Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved