Air PollutionIndoor Air PollutionIndoor Air QualityRole of Indoor Air Quality in Occupational Health and Safety

We spend almost 18-20 hours of our day indoors. Out of those, a substantial percentage belongs to the time we spend at our workplaces. Therefore, a healthy indoor environment is important to create a productive workspace. Read more to find out how indoor air quality relates to occupational health and  safety.

What is occupational health and safety?

Occupational health falls under the domain of environmental health and safety as well as public health. It is the study of trends associated with the health and well-being of the workforce of a place. It also includes a management plan containing both preventive and mitigation strategies to deal with unfortunate incidences at the workplace at different levels. Occupational health and safety also chalk out regulations and allows the implementation of standards to provide a wholesome environment to the worker population.

The primary objective of occupational health and safety is to identify the potential risks and limit the occurrences of both short-term and long-term hazards. It is to ensure the comfort of the employees and enhance the productivity of the workplace.

Indoor Air Quality of a workplace

Indoor Air Quality of your office building holds more importance than you can apprehend. Breathing pure air at all times is everyone’s right. Not only does it maintain individual health, but it also creates a positive work environment. High concentrations of air pollutants sketch indoor air pollution as the antagonist which can perturb your physical as well as mental equilibria.

Indoor Air Quality is both a comfort and health parameter for an office. It directly alters the ease with which the workers perform their tasks and affects the overall productivity of the work environment.

Indoor Air Quality increases productivity of the workplace

Indoor Air Quality is both a comfort and a health parameter. Good air increases the productivity by up to 11%.

The most probable reasons that can throw the indoor air quality of your workplace off the balance are-

  • Lack of, or poorly managed space
  • Overcrowding
  • Improperly managed or defect in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system.
  • Overrunning of moisture and dampness
  • Accidental leakage
  • The incursion of outdoor air pollutants through voids, crevices,  ventilation system etc.
  • Generation of indoor pollutants in internal processes and procedures

Health Impacts of substandard Indoor Air Quality

The effect of indoor air quality parameters differs according to the type of pollutant and the length of the exposure.

Short-term exposure to a large concentration of pollutants may give rise to a set of acute symptoms known as the Sick Building Syndrome. It leads the occupants to experience discomfort that can be linked to spending time in a particular building. The complaint may be localized (restricted to a room/specific area) or widespread {in the entire floor(s) or the building}. Sick Building Syndrome is usually common in old buildings or those that have been recently re-modelled/renovated.

Long-term exposure to a low concentration of pollutants can produce mild to symptoms like headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue. It can impact your concentration levels by reducing your attention span and increasing the reaction time. So if you feel tired at your office for no reason or cannot concentrate on the computer screen, it might be because of the indoor air pollution. Yet you might not even know why!

Increased levels of air pollutants can also cause irritation in your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Prolonged exposure can even lead to organ damage. It cannot only adversely affect your lungs and heart, but can even be de