Breathe Cleanly – Steps to Purify The Air In Your Home

Indoor air quality is one of the most common causes of complaints in offices. The EPA notes that concentrations of some pollutants are commonly two to five times higher indoors than outdoors - and Americans spend around 90 percent of their time indoors.

Tips for Boosting the Air Quality in Your Office

Indoor air quality is one of the most common causes of complaints in offices. The EPA notes that concentrations of some pollutants are commonly two to five times higher indoors than outdoors - and Americans spend around 90 percent of their time indoors. Keeping offices clean and pure requires a multifaceted approach, ranging from keeping HVAC filters in optimal working condition, to choosing non-toxic design features. Ultimately, ensuring indoor air is of optimal quality is a matter that employees, managers and all office staff need to work on together as a team.

Thorough Evaluations Are Key

Indoor air quality should be evaluated by a professional, since obtaining accurate readings requires state-of-the-art equipment and experience in using this equipment. The professional should be able to test for everything from mold spores to VOCs and other gases that can harm human health. Reliance on professionals will ensure that problems are identified and a strategy is formulated to make necessary changes.

Key Relationships Should Be Built and Maintained

Office management should create good working relationships with building management to ensure the latter is informed of any problems that need addressing. The leasing contract should clearly indicate which parties are responsible for which aspects of HVAC maintenance. A schedule should also be established in order to change filters and replace necessary components when necessary. Office management should also ensure that building management is familiar with the report, Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers, drafted by the EPA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This report provides a wide range of measures to be adopted by building management, and also provides solutions to common air quality problems.

Reducing Toxic Buildup and Choosing Optimal Design Features

Management needs to give importance to everything from the type of furniture selected to the cleaning products used by cleaning staff. Bleaches and other toxic items, for instance, can be almost completely avoided by the use of top standard steam vacuum equipment. Soft furnishings containing flame retardants should be replaced, since they can emit gases that are harmful to human health. Many offices are also opting to include plants and indoor water features to reduce pollution. Research has shown that plants can absorb many gases apart from carbon dioxide, including VOCs, benzene, pesticides, plastic emissions and formaldehyde. Water features, meanwhile, can help to ionize fine particles, working in a similar fashion to ionizing air filters.

 

Receiving Feedback from Employees

Management should request feedback from employees regarding possible symptoms of respiratory issues from poor indoor air quality. Frequent sneezing, fatigue, headaches and nausea should be considered a sign that change is needed - particularly if these complaints are shared by people working in one particular area or on one floor of the building. Management can then work alongside professionals to test key areas such as Radon concentrations, dampness, mold and potential HVAC problems. The problem may also be overcrowding, or even ineffective protection against outdoor pollution.

Americans spend around one third of their life at work, which makes indoor air quality a matter of vital importance. Office management should make air quality a priority, establishing good relationships with building management and increasing awareness of the matter amongst staff. In addition to regularly checking HVAC systems, other measures can help - these include using HEPA or ionizing filters, purchasing non-toxic furniture and cleaning equipment, and establishing strict policies in regards to smoking and other potentially harmful activities.

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OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2019

    October 2019

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