When Is An Air Quality Assessment Needed?

Air quality is important in the home and in the workplace. An air quality assessment is a protocol used to test the air quality of the workplace. This is an important process, because having poor air quality in the workplace can lead to a range of health problems, some more serious than others.

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In the home, air quality is also important. But, many people take are of the air quality in their homes through whole house air systems, through air filtration, and through the use of air purifiers. The workplace presents a particular hazard, because there are often more people in a confined space. If manufacturing or some other kind of production takes place, this also negatively influences the air quality of the workplace. Add to this the fact that many workplaces, including offices, are located in older buildings with older building materials that do not meet today's building codes.

Typically, air quality testing is performed by an environmental hygienist or environmental specialist. This professional may also check the workplace for workplace hazards other than poor air quality, such as noise, temperature, humidity, and lighting. While these factors are all important, air quality is at the top of the list, because people spend a significant portion of their lives at work and can be negatively affected by where they work, resulting in increased number of sick days and in some workplaces, increased employee turnover or worker's compensation claims. 

When air quality testing is conducted,  the air is generally tested for microbes, dust particles, and other agents in the air. If the air quality is poor, workers may experience fatigue, headaches, watery eyes, stuffy nose, and even breathing difficulties, whether or not workers already suffer from asthma. These symptoms are often a sign of sick building syndrome, which is a general term that acknowledges the environment in the building is contributing to health issues. 

If employees are taking more sick days than usual with sinus and related complaints, if work quality seems to be suffering, or if employees seem unusually tired, it's time to have an air quality assessment done, to see if the air in the building may be causing the problem. In order to have a healthy workforce that performs at its best, a healthy work environment is necessary. Poor air quality is not a good work environment, regardless of whether the workplace is an office or a production facility. Air quality can be affected in either of these workplace examples.

Don't assume the air quality in your workplace is fine, because most employees seem healthy. It's best to have the air quality checked before employees begin complaining or taking more sick days. That way, any minor issues can be remedied before they become more involved and make employees sick. An assessment of air quality in your workplace involves calling an environmental specialist, who knows exactly how to conduct the testing, using the right tools. Many different measures of air quality are checked, so several potential issues can be addressed at the same time.