Can you pass the IAQ test for your Workplace?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, poor indoor air quality inside offices, schools, and other workplaces has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Some specific diseases, like asthma, have been linked to specific air contaminants such as mold, or poor indoor environments, like damp indoor climates. In addition, not all exposures cause immediate symptoms. Exposure to asbestos and radon can go unnoticed, but often lead to cancer after many years.
If an employee approaches you and complains about headaches and eye irritation (two symptoms commonly associated with exposure to mold) that only seem to come about during work hours, do you know what to do?
Can You Pass the IAQ Test for Your Workplace? How many of these questions can you answer?
Do you know the person in your building who is responsible for addressing IAQ concerns? Is it the facilities manager? The building owner? Or your health and safety officer? Do you know where to check the ventilation system for possible water damage that could have led to mold growth? Have you familiarized yourself with the laws and regulations set forth by the OSHAct?
If you can't answer all these questions, you're not alone. Indoor air quality (IAQ) can be an overwhelming topic for employers - that's exactly why it's important to have an IAQ plan in place.
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Develop an IAQ plan and Pass the IAQ Test for Your Workplace:
- Familiarize yourself with OSHAct. As stated in the Act, "Employers should be reasonably aware of the possible sources of poor air quality, and they should have the resources necessary to recognize and control workplace hazards." Additionally, "It is against the Act for an employer to fire, demote, transfer, or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights."
- Establish an IAQ point-person. This is the person responsible for scheduling mold inspections, estimates, and remediation projects; air duct, dryer vent, and coil cleanings; and water damage estimates and mitigation projects. Typically, these responsibilities fall to the company's facilities manager; but if you work in a rented workspace, the building owner most likely has delegated this role to a property manager.
- Check the ventilation, heating, and air conditioning systems for signs of water damage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that mold growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding.
- If you've found a problem, work side-by-side with your IAQ point-person to contact a certified environmental services company. AdvantaClean works with a variety of commercial building owners, property managers, and facilities managers to develop customized programs that help manage all environmental and IAQ needs. Call US at 877.282.2663
More info? For information on commercial indoor air quality issues, check out our post on Got Mold? Commercial Landlord Liability for Mold.