Risk Management and IAQ Issues
Every business lives daily under the threat of a legal action against them or the multiple governmental liabilities it may face. There is no desire to add to the many concerns an HR person or company management may face, but it is important to set aside as many liabilities as possible.
Here are some facts to consider. First, every building has some level of pollution or toxicity. Whether a low-level threat or a serious, yet invisible, problem; poor indoor air quality is literally everywhere.
Secondly, this problem is ongoing and never gets better on its own. Token efforts of maintaining the HVAC system or that our cleaning service is using a few Green cleaning product is good, but not good enough. The fact that your building is clean and comfortable has little to do with the indoor air quality.
Finally, we now know that about 30% of workers, students, customers, patients, or regular visitor have some form of chemical sensitivities and/or allergies. This is a segment of the population that not company should ignore. Our ignorance of the problem or the health issues of employees is exactly why the Department of Labor and OSHA have established the ADA and included chemical sensitivities as a recognized disabilty.
Since this is existing law, the underlying mandate is the duty to accomodate those with chemical sensitivites which is not unlike modification that must be made for wheelchairs, people with vision impairment, or hearing loss. The good news is that the solution to indoor air quality is actually pretty simple.
The air in every building holds multiple levels of ingredients. There are particulates with is dust, dirt, pollen, lead, asbestos, and such. There are gases known as VOCs that are considered bad for people. We know that the air carries bacteria and virus. In rare cases, carbon monoxide can get into the air duct system that causes immediate reactions. Then there are things like radon, carbon dioxide buildup, mold spores, and myctoxins.
Though a complex mixture, the solutions are actually fairly simple. A trained cleaning service can add a monthly routine that will reduce and eliminate most threats. A professional IAQ service can take real-time measurement and provide a simple routing to detoxify and decontaminate a building.
Of course, the best time to solve any outstanding problem is to deal with it before it become a legal problem or an investigation by OSHA. Contact the National Air Quality Institute to find an IAQ specialist near you.