Salem VA Hospital says mold infestation fully cleaned up

SALEM (WSLS 10) – The Salem VA Hospital says it has fully cleaned up a mold issue in three of its buildings.

Last month, Federal OSHA investigators called the issue in Building 75 “serious”, after two staff members reported health problems.

Two more buildings were reported to have problems last week.

It’s a problem that was first reported by staff members at the VA Hospital back in November.

At that time, the hospital replaced ceiling tiles to abate the mold, but it wasn’t enough.

That’s why last month, OSHA gave the facility 30 days to fully come into workplace compliance.

That deadline is a week away, but the hospital says, the work is already complete.

Hospital Spokesman Brett Robbins said a contractor has worked in Building 75 all week.

“The contractor went in and cleaned the ductwork and the ventilation system. If there were any kind of water leaks, those were corrected at that time as well,” said Robbins.

But just as that work was being scheduled, the Medical Center received notification last Wednesday that two more buildings, number 7 and 170, also had mold issues.

He said contractors worked fast.

“Building 7, one room that was identified, and that mold was re-mediated immediately and it was actually completed yesterday. And in 170, there was mold that was identified in three rooms, three shower rooms, and, but at the same time, we were doing construction on those, and those rooms are still under construction,” said Robbins.

Robbins denied WSLS 10’s request to get video inside those buildings.

He said Buildings 7 and 170 house patients with acute mental illness who are not used to cameras and Building 75 houses classified materials.

He said staff are doing a full inspection of the entire facility.

“We’ve been going around to every building and looking to see if we can identify any type of mold or anything else, and fortunately we have not,” said Robbins.

But Robbins said , the hospital is glad that staff brought the issue to its attention.

“We rely on our staff. We cannot be everywhere at one time, so if our staff comes to us and says hey look, there’s some potential mold growing, then our safety department is going to take action,” said Robbins.

Robbins did reiterate that there is no longer any threat to the health of staff at the VA.

According to online records, the OSHA investigation is still open, but it is listed as coming to an informal settlement with the hospital.


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