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What should the air quality be like at work?

Indoor air quality is of the utmost importance in work environments. When there is poor air quality inside a workplace, employees could suffer from illnesses or diseases as a result.

Indoor air quality doesn't just refer to the number of toxic chemicals or particles in the air. The quality of the air also depends on things like the overall temperature of the environment, the presence of mold or chemicals, humidity or a lack of ventilation.

What makes the air quality in a workplace good?

Good air quality is easy to recognize. It is a comfortable temperature in the workplace, and the humidity is within standard levels for indoor locations. There is a lack of mold or mildew present, and there is good ventilation to the outside. Good indoor air quality may require controls to keep pollutants from other parts of the building or from the outside environment at bay. For example, if there is a risk of particles from dust, there should be a vacuum running to pull that dust out of the air when it's present.

Why do some businesses have indoor air quality problems?

The problem with some buildings comes down to a lack of ventilation. Without good ventilation, particles, like dust or spores, build up inside the building. These particles can make people sick. With good ventilation, people breathe in fewer particles, so they're able to have healthier air make its way to their lungs.

If you suffer an injury as a result of poor air quality at work, you can pursue workers' compensation or another type of claim. It's your right to get the medical care you need and to have support while you do.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Indoor Air Quality," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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