March 16, 2007, Newsletter Issue #29: NIOSH Investigates Workplace Air Quality Complaints

Tip of the Week

If your business is the source of an air quality complaint, it is important to understand the process and comply with investigators. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health responds to complaints by workers and employers of poor air quality and other environmental hazards. A NIOSH review examines workplace activities and attempts to measure and track contamination levels and exposure.

Investigators look for pollution sources, and inspect HVAC systems. They check ventilation sources, and see if air flow is carrying pollutants from one room to another. Indoor air quality problems can be caused by poor ventilation, overcrowded work areas, office materials that produce gases, and outside air pollutants, among other things. Improper temperature settings and humid work areas also can produce complaints of discomfort.

Often air quality problems can be fixed by a building's maintenance engineer. You may also want to contact an HVAC specialist. The specialist likely will test the air and offer solutions.

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