Indoor Air Quality — Is Your Office Making You Sick?

Portrait of sick employee in modern office

Regular office cleaning is always a good thing. The trash should be removed, carpets vacuumed, furniture dusted, and restroom sanitized. This sort of practices can keep the office from having a mini-epidemic and a clean office is always better for morale. But sometimes that’s not enough. If you’re a manager or business owner, part of your responsibility to your workers is to check that the indoor air quality of your workplace is up to health standards.

In the last decade or so, many workplaces all over the world have wised up to the fact that secondhand smoke can kill. This has led to many establishments and offices banning smoking within their premises, both by their employees and by the customers. But that’s not the only thing you can implement if you want to make sure that your indoor air quality is right for your workers. Why? Because apart from cigarette smoke, there are other things which can make your people sick.

Defining Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality refers to how the air inside the workplace can effect a worker’s health, comfort, and ability to do their job. Among the factors involved include the temperature, the ventilation, the humidity, and even the presence of allergens and toxic materials.

Is There a Problem with the Indoor Air Quality?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single procedure you can undertake to make sure you don’t have a problem with your indoor air quality. If you have problems in this area, you may see some signs such as:

  • Workers may experience some symptoms that disappear when they leave the workplace.
  • Some symptoms may be connected to a particular part of the workplace, or to a specific time or season.
  • Some symptoms may appear just as renovation or construction has started in the workplace.
  • There are at least two employees who have similar symptoms.

In order to confirm that the indoor air quality in your office is responsible for the symptoms, a doctor may have to check on your worker/s and confirm your suspicions.

Preventing and Solving Problems with Indoor Air Quality

Many employers today seem to follow a reactive policy when it comes to indoor air quality. Essentially, this means they do nothing until required by law or when workers start getting sick. For a conscientious employer who wants to take care of their employees (and who wants to avoid getting sued), that’s simply unacceptable. It may even be against the regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

There’s a lot that can be done not just to solve a problem but also to prevent them from cropping up in the first place. The ventilation should always be checked regularly, and the heating and air conditioning system should also be checked and maintained as well. The workplace should also be checked for water damage to discourage the propagation of mold. The entire workplace should also be checked for pest droppings.

As an employer, hiring a professional janitorial company for your workplace is one of the soundest investments you can make. One of the things that can make a big difference is the use of HEPA high filtration vacuums and cleaning procedures that reduce airborne dust.

This helps keep your workers healthy so that work isn’t disrupted. It also protects you from accusations that you were negligent and that you didn’t do enough to protect your employees from harm. Both you and your employees/tenants know for a fact that you are doing everything you can in keeping people safe and healthy.