Healthy Workplace Air Quality

The arrival of spring presents all sorts of new possibilities—and potential problems.

On the pros side, grass is growing, trees are budding, flowers are blooming…

On the cons side, grass is growing, trees are budding, flowers are blooming…

Huh? Oh, that’s right: POLLEN.

Pollen can be a real spring buzz-killer, on account of how it can make up to 25 percent of your workforce sick as a dog with spring allergies.

Even worse, as your employees file into work each morning, they bring the pollen indoors with them on their clothes, hair, shoes, and even skin. Before you know it, pollen is circulating widely throughout your building, making ready use of your indoor air duct system to reach even the staffers tucked away in remote corners of your office.

Is there anything you can do about the inevitable onset of spring allergies and the worker absenteeism that results? The answer is YES. Read on to learn how!

The Link Between Outside Air and Inside Air

Happily, there are actually several things you can do to control the spread of spring pollen at your workplace.

The first is to learn a bit about the connection between your outside and inside air.

For instance, every time a window or door opens at your workplace, two things occur:

  • Your building gets a much-needed dose of fresh, oxygenated outside air.
  • Whatever pollen is circulating outside also comes inside and begins circulating in the air supply.

So how can you get the first (fresh ventilation) without also having to endure the second (hideous allergies)?

We have two suggestions: landscaping and air duct cleaning.

1. Choose your landscaping carefully

What you plant near your office building can impact your workers’ health. For example, CBC News states that birch tree pollen can be particularly aggravating for employees who are prone to spring allergies.

By re-evaluating your near-exterior landscaping to ensure a low-pollen, low-allergen score, you can at least make sure employees aren’t getting a huge lungful of nearby irritating pollen every time they walk in and out.

2. Keep your indoor air duct system squeaky clean

Some of the pollen that comes inside your building will find its way inside occupants’ nostrils, eyes, and lungs for sure, but where does the rest go?

Everything that enters your building that is not air will eventually make its way into your indoor air duct system. As that debris flows in, your HVAC system’s air filters will trap some of it. When you clean or change those filters, that debris will get safely removed from your building.

The rest of the debris typically gets lodged inside the air ducts themselves, building up over time to form a significant barrier to air as it passes through the air duct system but also blowing out every time the furnace or fan kicks on.

If you have occupied your building for some time now and have not yet had your indoor air duct system professionally cleaned, can you imagine what kind of debris might be hiding inside the ducts right now?

We’ll give you some hints: dust, mould, bacteria, fungi, mildew, VOCs, dander, bug feces and parts, particulate matter, residue from chemicals or adhesives, fibreglass, and, of course, pollen.

As this debris becomes more and more densely packed inside your air ducts, your HVAC unit will begin to struggle to do its job well and will be unable to avoid pushing larger quantities of this collected allergy-triggering detritus out of your air registers along with the regular flow of temperature-controlled air.

Having your indoor air duct system professionally cleaned is the only way to remove all of that trapped debris in one fell swoop and prevent it from re-entering your indoor air supply.

The effect of scheduling a professional indoor air duct cleaning service is not unlike hitting a reset button for your indoor air quality—or having a completely new indoor air duct system installed.

Happily, unlike having a new air duct system put in, a professional indoor air duct cleaning service typically takes just one day and is much cheaper, too! We can even come in on a weekend so your regular business operations will not be impacted at all by the service.

Evaluate Your Indoor Air Quality With This FREE Mobile App!

When it gets to the point where your workers are dropping like flies, we can come in to conduct a professional air quality monitoring test to see what precisely is causing the problem. (We advise doing this before everyone suffers, though!)

Severe absenteeism can often be traced back to bigger air quality issues like carbon monoxide or radon leaks, high levels of chemical residue from manufacturing operations, or wide-scale air duct-based toxin leakage between different on-premises work sites.

But before you take that step, why not give this FREE mobile app a whirl?

The app is called “AirAssess – Improve Indoor Air Quality at Work.” (iOS, Blackberry, and Google Play.)

When you install the app, it will guide you step by step to learn more about common workplace triggers for poor indoor air quality and how that can impact worker stress, productivity, and absenteeism.

The app is the result of a partnership between the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW).

The goal of the app is to help all employers comply with the “general duty clause” that requires employers to provide a safe, healthy workplace for their staff. We think it will be a great tool for our commercial clients!

Give Us a Call

Because of all the new air particulates, like pollen, spring is an ideal time to upgrade the purity of your indoor air at work.

We always recommend scheduling your spring HVAC inspection and maintenance service (contact our sister company, Shipton’s Heating & Cooling, to schedule that service) at the same time you schedule your indoor air duct cleaning service for maximum indoor air quality impact.

To schedule your indoor air duct cleaning service, contact us today!

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