Your employees need certain essentials in order for them to do their jobs properly and efficiently. They need safety equipment, computers, software, paper, clean bathrooms, parking to name a few. One of the most important employee needs that doesn’t readily come to mind is clean air and a healthy environment. This is important not only for industrial businesses, but for service, hospitality, and office workplaces as well. Common allergens and irritants can make a long day at work difficult, especially for employees that have breathing and lung issues. Pollutants in our indoor environments can increase the risk of illnesses.
Is healthy air required by OSHA?
Not directly. Although OSHA doesn’t have individual indoor air quality standards, they do have standards on ventilation and certain air contaminants. The general duty clause of the Occupational Safety Hazards Act (that created OSHA) requires employers to provide their employees with a safe workplace that does not have any known hazards that are likely to cause death or serious injury.
How can an employer make sure the air quality in their building is adequate?
All occupants in a building can influence air quality but a building owner or business can help create a comfortable, safe environment in a number of ways:
Establish and enforce a tobacco-free environment policy – Even if it isn’t specifically mandated by local laws, all workplaces should be 100% tobacco-free. A clearly-defined workplace tobacco policy is important for all employees and customers, not just those who have respiratory difficulties or do not want to be exposed to smoke at your business.
Do not block air vents or grilles – The air vents may not always be placed in the most convenient of locations in your office. And if you are short on space, it is easy to move a desk, cubicle, or filing cabinet over a floor vent or in front of an a wall mounted air intake. But when you restrict the airflow in your offices, it unbalances the air flow throughout the entire system which affects the ventilation of neighboring offices. This also makes the HVAC system work harder to maintain an even flow of air.
Maintain a positive relationship with your building management and maintenance staff – Sometimes the HVAC in a leased space is the responsibility of the tenant, if not, you will have to work with the building staff to remedy a lingering HVAC issue. It helps to be as knowledgeable about the issue as possible.
Store food properly – Perishable food can spoil and create unpleasant odors and even grow mold, which can be unhealthy for sensitive groups sensitive people. Refrigerators should be regularly cleaned and sanitized to prevent odors. Garbage should also be disposed of promptly and properly.
If you have any concerns about the air quality in your business, your HVAC system might be the culprit. To be absolutely sure, call Legacy Mechanical today to schedule a consultation.