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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Indoor Air Quality Hazards

Indoor air quality hazards are a pain in the brain! In this podcast, learn how to avoid worker headaches by ensuring clean air in the workplace.

Hear how employers and building owners need to be aware of dangerous gases and substances that could cause employee illness. And that HVAC systems are the biggest culprit.

Workers have a responsibility too. Each individual is capable of causing indoor air pollution, and Dan offers advice on how to avoid doing so.


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Tips_For_Falling_Safely-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250Dan Clark: Indoor air quality: there’s quite a range in the workplace—from good, to so-so, to Sick Building Syndrome.

Hi there, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Indoor air quality issues can cause health problems for employees and are often difficult to pinpoint. Employers have to understand what factors contribute to IAQ, Indoor Air Quality, and workers need to know how to avoid contributing to indoor air pollution.

Indoor air can be dangerous when it contains carbon monoxide, ozone, radon, asbestos, VOCs—Volatile Organic Compounds—and other dangerous gases.

Poor indoor air quality can cause breathing problems, headaches, eye and skin irritations, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.

Solutions come from two distinct camps:

1. THE EMPLOYER ACTION PLAN – Company owners and managers need to understand the common causes of indoor air quality hazards.


  • Poorly maintained HVAC systems.
  • Mold problems from flooding or leaking.
  • Outdoor pollutants coming into the building.
  • Cleaning products.
  • Mechanical equipment.
  • Painting and renovations.

A good first step is to check the HVAC system, which causes most indoor air quality hazards.

Take employee complaints seriously. Investigate and consider:

Air movement pathways.
The building’s air pressure – keeping air pressure slightly positive prevents outdoor air from entering.
The building’s temperature – avoid the thermostat wars. The comfort range is 68 to 78°.
A pattern of complaints – if multiple employees are reporting something from the same location, or at the same time of day, be aware.
And finally, employers should consider work processes that could emit air contaminants.

2. THE WORKER ACTION PLAN – Understand that your behavior can create indoor air quality hazards.

    • Don’t wear too much perfume or cologne.
    • Don’t smoke indoors.
    • Don’t block air vents.
    • Dispose of food waste and trash the right way. Do you know how strong a banana peel can be?
    • Let your supervisor know about potential air-quality issues.

If you have any of the symptoms that we’ve mentioned here, especially on a regular basis, there could be a serious problem with air quality.

When a source of IAQ can’t be determined it’s sometimes called Sick Building Syndrome.

In situations where indoor air quality hazards can’t be avoided, wear PPE—your Personal Protective Equipment—as directed.

That is all for this episode on Indoor Air Quality Hazards. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply.


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