Good indoor air quality (IAQ) contributes to the safety and health of everyone who works in your commercial building, from the maintenance crew to the managers. Healthy IAQ can even improve quality of work life for the people who rely on your business for their incomes and livelihood. As a business manager or a building manager, you'll find that people who get sick from the air they breathe at work have more absences from the office, more paid time off, poor productivity and lower morale. It's bad for your employees and for business!
Whether you're a building owner or a business manager, you have an obligation to the people who work for you to maintain healthy indoor air quality. In addition, OSHA requires that workplaces must be safe for employees, and that safety extends to the quality of the air in the building. If you're working to improve your building's indoor air quality, here's what to know.
OSHA Air Quality Standards
According to OSHA, "many common IAQ problems are associated with improperly operated and maintained heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems." Poor IAQ can come from other sources as well, including the cleaning supplies that your maintenance crew uses, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, and more.
In other words, your building's indoor air quality can be affected by everything from the ducts in your building to the way you maintain your building's HVAC system. OSHA requires that businesses mitigate indoor air problems. To help with this, OSHA has supplied businesses with many helpful tips, including:
- Inspect the building envelope on a regular basis. Check the building for water leaks and dampness. Make repairs and keep the environment dry.
- Ensure the building has positive pressure so that air exits the building when the doors are open.
- Maintain the HVAC system to ensure that the system is bringing outdoor air into the building.
- Maintain building cleanliness.
- Maintain a temperature of 68 to 78 degrees and humidity of 30 to 60%.
- Monitor CO2 levels.
- Maintain a preventative maintenance program, especially for building systems like the HVAC system, ventilation system and more.
According to OSHA, people exposed to contaminants in the air may experience symptoms ranging from the flu to colds and more. You can protect your people, if you can protect the air they breathe.
Steps to Improve Air Quality
There are many steps to improving indoor air quality, according to OSHA.
General dilution ventilation systems can control air pollutants if they are properly installed, maintained and designed. This happens through the HVAC systems, which can help control temperature and humidity levels when functioning properly.
Regular testing is required to ensure that your ventilation systems are functioning properly. When conducting activities that could contribute to poor indoor air quality, such as painting and carpet cleaning, it's important to run your ventilation system more. This will help dilute the pollutants and clean the air.
Humidity can accelerate growth of mold and bacteria, so it's very important to keep humidity under control. OSHA addresses this in their publication about indoor air quality in a variety of places.
Sources of moisture in buildings include:
- Plumbing leaks
- Condensation on windows and pipes
- Roof leaks
- Window leaks
- Unvented kitchens and showers
- Steam pipes
These sources of moisture can be controlled in a variety of ways. Maintaining ventilation systems is only one way to control humidity indoors. Other methods of controlling humidity include conducting regular inspections, maintaining the building's plumbing system, addressing condensation issues as they are recognized and monitoring windows and the roof for periodic leaks.
Roof leaks can cause high humidity over time because some roof leaks can go unrecognized for a long time before the problem is addressed. By using roof pipe supports and equipment supports, you can prevent equipment on your roof from causing damage which can lead to roof leaks.
HVAC Systems and Maintenance
HVAC systems provide critical support to indoor air quality, by drawing in outside air, pushing out indoor air, circulating air throughout the building and by controlling humidity levels in the building. This helps keep the air in the building clean and safe for breathing.
Roof duct supports can support better air quality by ensuring the ducts remain in good repair, and by preventing air leaks that can contribute to polluted or unclean air infiltrating ducts.
Know Where to Buy Roof Duct Supports, Pipe and Equipment Supports
PHP duct supports, equipment supports and pipe supports outperform other brands. Our products are designed to be sturdy and long-lasting, to support your roof and other equipment. Contact PHP Systems/Design for information about supports and product pricing.