Many of the inspections we conduct here at Hawk Environmental on commercial and industrial properties are motivated by an incident or complaint. It’s very common for a business to bring us in because of an employee concern or because they’ve noticed a strange smell, and though it’s good that that business is addressing issue, the best thing to do is to test regularly. Responsible businesses should have their indoor quality inspected regularly to catch any problems before they evolve into incidents. Waiting until an un-ignorable situation arises to have the indoor air quality inspected is a gamble and a hazard for many reasons. Here’s a few:
Health of Employees
Bad air quality rarely leads to serious health complaints, but minor ones are extremely common. Usually, air-related symptoms resemble the common cold: headaches, sinus problems, congestion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat. Bad air quality can be especially hard on people with allergies, even provoking asthma attacks. Further, poor ventilation, which can be detected with testing, contributes to the spread of communicable diseases like the common cold, influenza, and tuberculosis.
It’s often hard for employees to link these kinds of problems with the workplace, leading to chronic issues that are only exacerbated with ignorance and time. Regular testing can nip these health hazards at the bud.
You might be surprised how much environmental aspects contribute to productivity in a workplace. Quality lighting, access to filtered water, or reduction of ambient noise can all contribute to improved employee performance, and ensuring your office has good air quality should be one of your primary concerns for an environment that promotes productivity.
When the air quality of an office suffers, so does its output. Employees are not only more likely to take brief walks outside, feel fatigued or irritable, or be less able to concentrate, but the health issues cause by poor air quality can have serious fiscal consequences. According to Forbes, the US economy loses $576 billion a year to poor health costs, 39 percent of which is from “lost productivity” due to absent employees or reduced performance due to illness.
Prevention of Lawsuits
It is an employer’s responsibility to maintain a safe and healthful work environment for their employees, according to the standards set by Occupation Safety and Health Administration. And though most states lack explicit laws or regulations regarding air quality for office environments, as opposed to industrial environments where those standards are mandated, office employers should still be vigilant because their liability risks are still very real. Lately, several well-publicized lawsuits have brought a lot of new attention to the issue of workplace air quality, and the best thing an employer can do to defend themselves is to test their air quality regularly in order to prove that they have taken all possible steps to ensure the safety of their employees. Ignorance is not a defense, and businesses whose employees suffer temporary or lasting health issues can still sue for damages against a building that was unknowingly harmful to their health.
Air quality is a huge part of a successful office environment, and testing regularly is the safest and smartest thing to do. We recommend testing at least annually. Call Hawk Environmental today about setting up an inspection for your office!
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