Ventilation Surveys Employers’ and Employees’ Well-being
Breathing fresh air is essential to life and well-being, making ventilation surveys in the workplace an extremely important facet of occupational hygiene and good practice. This is especially so in situations where workers handle potentially harmful or toxic substances or perform their tasks under conditions which create dust and airborne debris.
Because South Africa has not yet legislated standards and methodologies for assessments of ventilation surveys, our industrial occupational health company’s specialists utilises international standards for the purpose of evaluating indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality refers to the air in and around buildings and structures and must be of sufficient standard to be clean enough not to cause health problems, allowing occupants to work comfortably. One or two open windows don’t necessarily constitute adequate ventilation, although the basis of ventilation is the replacement of used or stale air with fresh or cleansed air. In order to establish this, we perform computer models of airflow within the buildings we assess.
Clearly, preventing pollutants from becoming airborne at source would be ideal, but this is not always possible, especially when very fine particles, dust, fumes and gases are the culprits. Where pollution does exist, good ventilation is the first step in diluting airborne contaminants.
This may refer to ingress of fresh air and/or air flow, allowing constant in through and outflow. Although dilution is beneficial, it may not be sufficient to provide healthy breathable air, necessitating installation of extraction, filtration or purifying systems. The nature of and levels of contaminants will determine which methods would produce the best results.
In order to establish the existing air quality, scientific methods and tests must be employed, beginning with the collection of air samples and samples deposited on surfaces to pinpoint harmful substances. A known volume of air is passed through a relevant medium which captures the contaminant, the amount of which enables the calculation of its concentration in the air.
The effects on building occupants must also be measured and monitored. Lack of adequate ventilation can result in numerous problems, including lassitude, headaches, allergies, coughs and respiratory diseases, fatigue and other longer term, more serious ailments and consequences.
Stressors that commonly have an adverse effect on building occupants are varied, from microbial, such as mould and bacteria, to gases like radon, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide, and particulates.
Use of chemicals frequently results in vapours, gases and particulates being present and potentially harmful.
It’s incumbent upon all employers to ensure a safe, healthy working environment for employees, without whom their business couldn’t operate. Our company’s business since 2003 lies in seeing to every aspect of our clients’ occupational hygiene, inclusive of ventilation surveys, with our professional, affordable expertise.