Proper ventilation for indoor workplaces remains important since volatile organic compounds (VOCs) could be 10 times more concentrated indoors, according to a report.
This means that employees have a higher risk of exposure to respiratory illnesses compared to field workers. Those who work outdoors may not be subject to the same level of VOCs, but personal protective equipment such as a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) should still be a necessity.
A PAPR respirator provides another layer of protection for people who work indoors and constantly expose themselves to harmful chemicals. Take laboratory technicians as an example. These workers regularly receive samples for analysis, and hence poor ventilation and an inefficient safety equipment doubles the risk of respiratory illnesses for them.
Ordinary office employees may not suffer from the same impact, but consider how better ventilation may reduce absenteeism among your workers. Some sources of VOCs in a typical office include air-conditioning units, computers, and printers. As many Australians spend most of their time indoors, the concept of improving air quality will always be a relevant workplace issue.
The Australian Department of Environment and Energy said that the country doesn’t enforce specific regulations on indoor air quality. However, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission has certain standards when it involves workplace environments.
Poor air quality causes up to $12 billion in losses per year, according to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. This estimate likely involves workplace claims for respiratory illnesses and sick days among employees.
Employers should consider the effects of poor ventilation on their employees’ health and wellness, while also recognising it as a way to comply with workplace regulations. If your employees deal with harmful chemicals every day, it’s important to conduct regular assessments about the usefulness of their personal protective equipment.