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How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in The Workplace

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

Working environments that are prone to poor indoor air quality are usually those that have the greatest ventilation equipment installed. These include sources of combustion and cooking odours in commercial kitchens and some industrial processes such as paint spraying or industrial cleaning. However, often it is the places where air quality effects are least expected that they cause the greatest impact.

Which workplaces are most prone to issues with indoor air quality?

Offices, particularly in older buildings, often are not well ventilated and in many cases, ventilation is simply provided by opening windows. As such, chemicals from furnishings, photocopiers, dust, decorations and paints can cause discomfort and health effects such as headaches. Carbon dioxide breathed out in cramped offices can quickly build up and cause lethargy and general feelings of being unwell among staff.

The importance of measuring indoor air quality in the workplace

Many air quality assessments are reactive, occurring when staff complain or when a health and safety audit notices an employer doesn’t actually know the quality they are expecting their staff to work within. However, technological advances have made real-time air quality monitoring much cheaper than it used to be.

Coupled with the abundance of research linking poor indoor air quality to reduced productivity and increased sick days, the benefits to proactive employers are convincing many to more regularly or continually monitor air quality in the workplace.

Many businesses don’t currently measure their indoor air quality. However, this is changing as more guidance becomes available from bodies such as CIBSE and IAQM and as monitoring techniques have improved. If you don’t know the quality of the air your workers are exposed to, you won’t know how you might need to improve things.

How to improve air quality in the workplace

Solutions can be simple and relatively cheap, from installing passive vents or reactively opening windows when thresholds are reached, to increasing volumetric flows through air handling units by simply increasing fan speeds. The effects of doing these things can have marked impacts on staff health, wellbeing and productivity.

Phlorum is experienced in providing our clients with detailed indoor air quality monitoring and assessment services. We can measure a wide variety of pollutants and comfort factors in order to understand what the impact on staff might be.

Our air quality consultants can then tailor solutions that meet our clients’ needs and cost budgets. Whatever your business, your staff need clean air to keep them safe and well and to help them do their best at work.

About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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