Indoor air quality monitoring is important for employees’ health and safety. Invisible pollutants such as carbon monoxide, traffic toxic fumes. And other harmful chemicals may cause some health problems. As well as lower organizational productivity.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), indoor air pollution, including exposures in the workplace, is estimated to be responsible for approximately 3% of the global burden of disease. We spend up to 90% of our time indoors, whether at home, school, or work.
Consequences of Poor Indoor Air Quality Monitoring
Pollutants can lead to a slew of health issues. Ranging from respiratory symptoms to the poorly understood sick building syndrome. Failure to track and regulate workplace air quality will result in the following consequences for the employer and the workplace:
- Employee health issues, which result in absenteeism, decreased productivity.
Indoor air quality is critical, not for workers’ comfort. But also for their well-being in offices, classrooms, and other workplaces. Headaches, exhaustion, difficulty focusing, and inflammation of the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs have all been linked to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). Following the Coronavirus pandemic, the staff is increasingly concerned about the effect buildings have on occupants’ health and well-being. Employees’ health can be affected by poor indoor air quality, which is expressed in absence rates. This occurs because germs disperse even faster when air isn’t replaced. Which results in the rise of chances of many individuals contracting and spreading an illness.
This is why investing in a quality ventilation system and indoor air quality monitoring system is a much more cost-effective option than missing key team members for extended periods. According to the Office for National Statistics’ survey. Illness in the workplace cost the UK economy 137 million working days in 2016, equating to about £18 billion. The most common explanation for illness absence was Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms such as coughs and colds. You can enhance productivity by preventing SBS And stop virus transmission by controlling air quality in the workplace.
2. Unhealthy workplace, which can result in discomfort and stress for the workers.
The most challenging aspects of office work are becoming more prevalent. Partially as a result of different aspects of office automation. Due to this employees often manifests symptoms of job stress such as:
- Physical discomfort
- Stomach or gastrointestinal irregularities
- Muscle, and Psychological tension
Bad indoor air quality doesn’t just trigger physical psychological discomfort but also actual illnesses like Asthma. Environmental pollutants or enclosed spaces with humid indoor environments, temperature extremes, and too little or too much air circulation may cause serious health problems for the workers.
Major Factors Affecting Indoor Air Quality
The following are the factors that can affect IAQ in workplace buildings:
- Bad ventilation (lack of outside air)
- Temperature control issues
- High or low humidity.
- Refurbishing/ Repainting
- Dust from renovation
- Cleaning materials
All of these factors usually lead to poor indoor air quality.
Importance of Indoor Air Quality Monitoring in the Workplace?
There are various reasons you would want to keep an eye on the indoor air quality in your workplace. Some of them are the following:
- Ensuring that regulations do not exceed defined limits.
- Verifying that control measures are functioning properly.
- Following the recommendations of Health and Safety inspectors to provide proof of requested changes.
- Assisting workers in choosing the required level of personal protective equipment (PPE). For processes that may place them at risk.
- Assuring workers that their health and wellbeing are a top priority. In cases, there are potential hazards.
Suggestions for Indoor Air Quality Monitoring:
- Occupational health signs and causes must be determined.
This should be addressed through discussions with staff. A survey of employers maintained histories of worker accidents and illnesses, and the creation, delivery, and interpretation through a health questionnaire. One of the best ways to determine the incidence and, in some cases, causes of employee health conditions is to communicate with colleagues about the use of toxins in the workplace, the occurrence, and the type of health symptoms. And the time of day, week, and year when health symptoms occur most often are all examples of details that may be requested. Workplace injury and sickness reports kept by the employer should be submitted and checked. Such data will often reveal the incidence of trends of related health symptoms caused by air pollution and poor ventilation.
- The ventilation system’s quality should be reported.
It’s a smart idea to ask for copies of maintenance reports. This data would be sent for analysis to see if the equipment is being serviced daily and is functioning properly.
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) also provides ventilation system design operating criteria. As well as fresh outside air specifications. The ASHRAE standard endorses the relevance of worker concerns in assessing indoor air quality. ASHRAE describes enough air quality as which there are no documented pollutants at hazardous concentrations. The overwhelming majority of people exposed (80% or more) do not show dissatisfaction.
This data is given to management for evaluation and solution after collecting materials. To classify worker health symptoms and their causes. Adjusting airlifting equipment and varying the volume of re-circulation could be used to treat health symptoms.
- Determining the workers’ health symptoms also requires identifying contaminant sources.
Such information is often collected by requesting copies of the employer’s indoor air quality monitoring results. The analysis of this data could reveal potentially dangerous sources of contamination. As well as the resulting health symptoms of workers when contaminant concentrations are low, but, monitoring data may be insufficient to clarify detected or confirmed health symptoms.
Even if no contaminant sources are discovered, an indoor air pollution problem can still occur. Stale air is caused by unnecessary re-circulation of air. Stale air contains more carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide than fresh air. Carbon dioxide is often produced by the living occupants of an enclosed space. When ventilation is insufficient to account for the increase in the number of employees, stale air may become a problem. The AKCP Wireless Tunnel Air Quality Sensor constantly monitors the quantity and size of particles in the room. The sensor also monitors the temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). With a battery life of up to 10 years, the wireless, battery-powered sensor is simple to install. It has Set and track user-defined thresholds for alert and critical levels, with instant alerts if the limits are exceeded.
There are many advantages to evaluating and enhancing the workplace’s indoor air quality. There’s a low-cost way to boost employees’ satisfaction and productivity while still improving operational efficiency. To help you with that, you can rely on your environmental monitoring needs and solutions at AKCP.
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