Does Your Workplace Have Poor Air Quality?
Many workplaces have poor air quality. This can often end up having a negative impact on the productivity and health of the people working there. Below are just a few ways in which you can improve air quality in your workplace.
What are the dangers of poor air quality?
Poor air quality can have a negative impact on our ability to concentrate. Low levels of fresh oxygen combined with contaminants such as VOCs and mold can lead to headaches and drowsiness. High levels of contaminants such as dust and mold can also lead to irritation of the eyes and nose, as well as causing nausea. Bacteria and viruses can meanwhile thrive in the air and cause all kinds of illnesses (the recent outbreak of coronavirus being the biggest current problem). Certain contaminants can even lead to respiratory problems, which could include anything from asthma to even some forms of cancer.
What contaminants pose the most risk?
Poor air quality can be the result of numerous different contaminants. Some of the most common culprits that lead to health problems include:
· Airborne viruses/bacteria
· Fungi spores (e.g. mold)
· Toxic building material contaminants (asbestos, lead paint)
· Carbon monoxide
How to test air quality
There are companies out there that can run tests on air quality for you. Alternatively, you may be able to buy various test kits yourself for the likes of radon and VOCs (carbon monoxide can often be detected using a carbon monoxide monitor – which should be a compulsory monitor in any workplace). A dust problem or mold problem can usually be detected because there will be visible signs of dust on surfaces or mold on the walls. Materials like asbestos and lead paint may be able to be checked for by a building surveyor.
How to improve air quality
There are many ways to improve air quality in order to make your workplace a healthier environment. Some of the biggest improvements you can make include:
Certain structural improvements may be able to help improve air quality. This could include removing and replacing asbestos or lead paint. When it comes to mold, there are many measures you can take such as adding mold release agents to walls or sealing up cracks letting damp in. Sealing up a building’s foundations can meanwhile help to prevent radon seeping up through the earth.
You can also get rid of many air pollutants by keeping your workplace clean. This could include wiping dusty surfaces, scrubbing mold off walls or simply cleaning desks and keyboards to get rid of bacteria and viruses. You could clean your workplace yourself or hire professionals cleaners to do it periodically.
When a building is well ventilated, it enables dirty air to be pumped out and clean air to be pumped in. Opening windows may not be possible in some workplaces, in which case efficient extractor fans need to be installed. These are sometimes combined into HVAC systems to help air circulate.
There are various forms of purification that you can look into to help get rid of contaminants from the air. Electric air purifiers and HVAC systems with in-built purifiers are the best option. Plants also have purification properties – consider placing some plants around your workplace if possible.
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