Effects in the Workplace
As the problems associated with poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and its adverse effects on building occupants has increased, building owners, managers, engineers, and maintenance personnel are beginning to realize the need to learn more about these problems.
Poor IAQ, sometimes referred to as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), is a common issue in the workplace today, and can be difficult to assess because so many factors can contribute to the problem. One major factor contributing to this problem is that the construction of commercial property has changed through the years. Buildings are now constructed with more synthetic materials, centralized heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems, and have windows that cannot be opened resulting in closed or "tight" buildings.
These factors, along with an increase in the use of carpeting, personal health care products, pesticides, cleaning agents, deodorizers, herbicides, etc. have contributed to this growing problem. There are many other conditions which may lead to IAQ complaints, including problems with lighting, noise, vibration, thermal discomfort, ergonomics, work related stress, ozone from office equipment, microbiological contamination, glass type insulating materials, and dust mites, all of which can lead to discomfort for some building occupants.
The workplace environment has long been recognized as an important factor effecting employee productivity and well being. Many companies spend large sums of money to create aesthetically pleasing work surroundings yet ignore IAQ! The fact remains that the number one rising cost of doing business in the United States is health insurance, and the workplace environment certainly contributes to this situation.
Beyond the obvious liability issues that poor IAQ presents, employers face rising health insurance premiums, increased worker compensation costs, and the financial drain of employee absenteeism, lower productivity and turnover. When people are adversely affected by poor air quality there is also a greater tendency for accidents.
Adequate prevention and control of IAQ problems require the following steps be taken:
IAQ issues are comprised of
many, many different elements and should be evaluated by qualified professionals.
Written by: :
Written by: :
Daniel Maser, CIH,
Article Provided by: The Argus Group
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