Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for the Workplace
Posted in Air Quality, on April 13, 2018
Did you know that office indoor air quality guidelines can help you feel more comfortable and healthy at the office as well as help you work more productively? Office indoor air quality guidelines are about more than just having a scent-free workplace. They also help offer employers and employees create a healthy working environment.
Office Indoor Air Quality Liability
The first thing to know is that many jurisdictions don’t have specific legislation that gives office indoor air quality guidelines. However, your employer must provide a safe and healthy working environment. Indoor air quality is a key part of being both safe and healthy. Indoor air quality is a growing concern for those who work in older buildings where unsafe materials, such as asbestos, may have been used in construction. In new offices, modern building codes generally have indoor air quality systems in place.
Clean Air Increases Employee Productivity
The biggest benefit of having office indoor air quality guidelines in place at work is an increase in employee productivity. That afternoon slump may be more than just a dip in your blood sugar. It could be because of an increase in indoor pollutants, a decrease in air flow, or elevation of carbon dioxide in the indoor environment. This decrease in productivity due to poor indoor air quality isn’t just a myth - it’s being studied by public health researchers at Harvard, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University in the United States. Employees working in environments with elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and CO2 scored, on average, two times lower on cognitive test scores than their colleagues in cleaner environments.
Your Health and Your Employees Health
If you don’t have office indoor air quality guidelines in place yet at your office, you may be wondering what the symptoms of poor indoor air are. You may experience:
- itchy, watery eyes
- sinus congestion
- dizziness or nausea
Unfortunately, these symptoms often closely mirror those of a run-of-the-mill flu or cold. So how can you tell if it’s the flu or poor indoor air quality that’s affecting your health? The most noticeable sign is that your symptoms disappear when you leave the office. This points to the problem being environmental and not something else. Poor indoor air quality can be caused by a number of different contaminants that you may react to. Some of the common causes of indoor air quality problems are:
- Carbon dioxide
- Dust, fiberglass, and other construction byproducts
- Volatile Organic Compounds from cleaners, solvents, pesticides, and glues
- Mold or bacteria
- Ozone from photocopies and motors.
Moving Forward with Fresh Office Air
If you’re an employee or a business owner who’s curious about improving your workplace, it’s never too late to have your indoor air quality tested and to work on creating office indoor air quality guidelines. A certified indoor air quality specialist from SafeAir would be happy to offer recommendations and improvements that can make a huge difference at the office or at home. Give us a call today at 416-414-5690.