Indoor Air Quality at Work

Indoor air quality at work is as important as air quality at home because bad conditions can affect health, well-being, and workers’ productivity. Although serious health problems related to indoor air quality are rare, the knowledge of threatened health is increasingly common among building occupants.

Indoor air should be free of odors and dust. It should not contain any harmful contaminants. It should be comfortable with temperature and humidity. Here are 7 short guidelines to get good indoor air quality:

1) Ventilation is the most important.

2) Comfortable temperature, humidity, air movement

3) Construction materials and building surfaces are kept in a sanitary condition.

4) Notable emission roots are isolated from occupied spaces.

5) The main sources of pollution are promptly controlled.

6) Working spaces are always clean, and good housekeeping practices are in place.

7) Services, maintenance, and development activities are conducted in a way that minimizes occupant vulnerability to airborne contaminants.

Most common indoor air quality complaints.

1) Temperature. It is hard to work if you are cold or you are too hot. The temperature should be constant and comfortable all the time.

2) Air movement. The air cannot be too drafty or too still.

3) Humidity. The air cannot be too dry or too muggy.

If the conditions are not good enough, it can affect health. The worker can have headaches, sinus problems, congestion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat. Such symptoms are usually difficult to correlate with the workplace.

Most common indoor air quality sources

Indoor pollutant sources may be:

  • Dust mite feces
  • Mold Spores
  • Pollen
  • Pet Dander
  • Germs, odors
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Building materials such as asbestos, formaldehyde, and lead
  • Household products and pesticides such as perfumes, cleaning products, air fresheners
  • Gasses such as radon and carbon monoxide

Indoor air pollutants can cause asthma attacks and itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. According to the American Lung Association, radon and tobacco smoke can cause even more dangerous health effects, including lung cancer.

What can be done about indoor air quality complaints?

First, have to specify:

  • What are the complaints?
  • Where are they (in one office or the whole building)?
  • When the problem occurs?
  • Who is harmed?
  • What are the health impacts or discomfort occupants experience?
  • Do the health effects stop soon after leaving the building or over the weekend?
  • Have those concerned seen a doctor, and, if so, what were the diagnoses?

Second, assess the information. Discover if there is a time or place pattern to the complaints. Manage a walk-through of the district to recognize potential sources of contamination or foreign conditions. Also, think about whether the problem may be associated with an activity or condition inside or outside the construction or a malfunctioning HVAC system. In several cases, the source of the complaints may be immediately apparent upon investigation, such as HVAC system air inputs next to exhaust or a charging dock, the recent addition of large photocopiers in a tiny room without ventilation system adjustment, a mistakenly set or broken thermostat, or recent remodeling.

Air testing? Home Air Check

I suggest a Home Air Check. You can get an affordable and complete read on the air you breathe. These air check kits are used in more homes and apartments than any other air test kits. You can easily use it in your workspace too. The company offers accurate, easy-to-read results and a simple process in four easy steps.

  1. Order the test kits you need
  2. Test air. Use a test kit to collect air samples. (Video how-to is available).
  3. Return the test kit together with the samples within 14 days using the provided pre-paid shipping label.
  4. Get results by e-mail, along with guidance for improving your air.

Why Home Air Check? Read my Air Quality Testing post.

How do prevent and control indoor air quality problems?

1) Good building design.

2) Effective building maintenance (particularly of the HVAC system).IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier

3) Intelligently designed and executed remodeling projects.

Every building manager should develop a building ventilation system’s performance profile, including analyses of comfort, ventilation, and sanitation.

4) Keep humidity between 30 to 50 percent to keep dust mites, mold, and other allergens under control. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to keep the desired humidity level.

5) Don’t smoke inside.

6) Use indoor plants that improve indoor air quality. 

7) Air purifiers can make the air healthier by filtering out allergens, odors, and other pollutants from your space.


It is not possible to satisfy every occupant at all times, especially in warm comfort. It is possible and necessary to implement a work atmosphere that is healthy and safe. Satisfied workers will end with better results.

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