Indoor Air Quality & the Return to Normality
Updated: May 22, 2021
As life is finally beginning to get back ‘normal’, more and more companies are reopening their doors to allow their employees back into the office. This has led to more and more people (quite rightly) requesting an indoor air quality monitoring report for their workplace. With the loosening of restrictions and more people going back into the office, we thought it might be helpful to provide some insight into the importance of good indoor air quality.
Good indoor air quality is essential to ensure the health and comfort of building occupants. There are many parameters that effect the air quality of a building such as:
Temperature and excessive temperature variation during the shift.
Our key objectives when supporting clients with indoor air quality monitoring services are not only to safeguarding employee health and maintaining compliance with relevant regulations and guidance but also to help achieve optimum productivity amongst the staff.
Adverse Health Effects
When any of the above parameters are outside the desired range then building occupants can experience adverse health effects. Sometimes the health effect can be directly linked to a specific parameter such as asthma with damp indoor environments. It is becoming more and more common to for occupants to report a range of symptom but only whilst they are in a particular building. The is known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and the symptoms can include:
Hoarseness, wheezing, coughing and other respiratory irritation
Skin rashes and irritation
When carrying out Indoor air quality monitoring services, Blue Turtle staff look to ensure that the aforementioned parameter are all within their given ranges. For example:
Where mechanical ventilation is used, there should be a minimum airflow of 8 litres of fresh air for each person. Carbon dioxide levels may be investigated to indicate whether adequate fresh air is available and where levels are below 1000ppm so it may be assumed that ventilation is adequate.
Air movement throughout the building is also required to prevent stagnation. Typically, air should flow at 0.1 - 0.15m/s and up to 0.25m/s in the summer months.
Temperature is another important factor in providing a comfortable working environment. The typical range of temperature that will provide a comfortable working environment is between 13 and 30 degrees Celsius, but this is dependent on the activity level of the occupants. It is important that temperatures do not fluctuate greatly and the difference between floor and head-height temperatures should not be greater than 3 degrees.
Relative humidity should also be maintained between 40 and 70%.
In addition to the standard parameters above, we also look at the fabric of the building and the equipment used within it to ascertain possible causes of ill health as poor ventilation, mould, and even outdated display screen equipment can contribute to occupants’ symptoms. A review of cleaning regimes and the products used is also undertaken to assess if any of these maybe contributing to the environment. Typical contaminants that we sample for include:
Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Vehicle exhaust emissions.
How we can help
Our Indoor air quality monitoring services can help you to better understand your workplace environment, potentially identifying the cause of any reported symptoms. We provide you with a detailed, easy-to-understand indoor air quality monitoring report to explain the findings and give a clear action plan on how to improve the air quality.
At Blue Turtle Ltd, we provide a range of occupational hygiene monitoring services to help businesses of all types manage their workplace health hazards. Our experienced consultants can provide practical advice on how to achieve adequate control through process changes, improvements, or adopting/changing work practices to reduce the risk as low as reasonably practicable.
Whatever your Occupational Hygiene needs are, Blue Turtle Ltd is here to help your business protect your workforce and help you meet your legal obligations.
Give us a call today to discuss your needs or if you prefer, complete the online form with a brief outline of your business needs and/or concerns.
Blue Turtle - The missing cog in your business health!