Work Safety and Indoor Environmental Quality

Businesses are responsible to protect their employees and customers. There are many obvious dangers in the workplace, but some cannot be seen. Managers and business owners should take a moment to examine their exposure to poor indoor environmental quality. If they do not, they may find themselves at fault with their insurers who are paying for workers compensation insurance and claims.

Indoor environmental quality refers to the quality of breathable air in an office or other room used for business. Poor air quality can lead to a variety of respiratory and other conditions. It is often difficult to trace respiratory illness to a specific cause in the workplace. After all, people are subjected to a variety of airborne pollutants in cities, suburbs, and even rural areas. Regardless, employers can take measures to protect employees and other visitors to their buildings.

Ventilation is more important in office buildings than in homes because more people are moving through and occupying offices. Air conditioning and heating systems should be updated and cleaned. Windows and vents should have outlets to the outside air if air conditioning systems fail.

Dampness and unsanitary conditions also lead to airborne contaminants. Janitorial teams should inspect hard-to-access places monthly to ensure that no mold is growing.

Certain employees will be more sensitive to airborne contaminants than others. Perfumes, cleaning supplies, and cigarette smoke may cause employees discomfort. Employers should attempt to accommodate sensitive employees with isolated workspaces and extra ventilation. Everyone should feel comfortable breathing in his or her workspace.