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Monitoring Indoor Air Quality on the Job

Whether at work or at home, indoor air quality has a significant impact not only on your comfort level butQuality Air 1 on your immediate and future health. You have greater autonomy about air quality in your own home, but that doesn’t mean that you must endure bad air quality at work. Employers are required to provide employees with a work environment that is both safe and healthy. Sometimes, indoor air quality does become an issue at work and, when that’s the case, there are ways to handle the situation.

Indoor Air Quality in the Workplace
There are any number of contaminants which could negatively affect the air you breathe while you are at work

  • tobacco smoke
  • allergens (like molds) and pollutants (like dust)
  • bacteria and viruses
  • carbon monoxide gas
  • solvent vapors
  • chemical fumes

Everyone is better off when the workplace is a healthy place. Therefore, it is important to bring up air quality issues to management and to adopt a helpful attitude toward addressing potential problems. If there are known potential hazards, your employer should have made you aware of them when you were hired.

If you are exposed to things on the above list or other toxins for an extended period of time or in large doses (e.g. a chemical spill), serious health issues may ensue. If you begin experiencing sudden headaches, dizziness, tiredness or nausea it could be because carbon monoxide is seeping in to poison the air. Less deadly contaminants could still cause illness or respiratory problems.

If you suspect that the air where you work may be endangering your health follow these steps recommended by the American Lung Association:

  1. Make your immediate supervisor aware of your concerns and document the conversation.
  2. Talk with your personal physician about the symptoms you are experiencing. If your workplace has a health and safety manager, also make them aware of your symptoms.
  3. It is possible that local or state health authorities should be notified but talk first with your company representatives before contacting them.
  4. Be cooperative with company management as they attempt to uncover any source of poor indoor air quality.

OSHA provides a clear list of steps for checking into reports about poor air quality. At a minimum, OSHA suggests: A) Employers and employees meet in person to discuss problem areas such as possibly inadequate ventilation, malfunctioning heating or cooling systems, or recent building renovations which may have impacted those areas. B) An on-site inspection of the HVAC system including a check for how outdoor sources may be entering and causing problems. C) An air sample may be taken and evaluated for contaminants.

Prevention and Regular Maintenance Key
Obviously, it’s important that companies install high quality HVAC systems to begin with, but equally important is that those systems be continually checked and monitored by professional technicians who know how to identify problems and prevent them. At E&Q Heating & Cooling we have four decades of experience installing and servicing commercial HVAC systems. We understand the risks and can help businesses provide the very best indoor air quality possible. Call us and let us make work air every bit as healthy and comfortable as home air.