Indoor Air Quality | Risks, Symptoms and Strategies

Health Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality: Risks and Symptoms to Watch Out For


We spend a significant portion of our lives indoors and, for many, a large chunk of that time is spent working in factories, mines or industrial facilities. While safety regulations and hazard control are paramount in these environments and are mostly adhered to, indoor air quality is often overlooked.


IOH Solutions is a leading specialist in this field. We explore a few of the risks of poor air quality in working environments, symptoms to watch out for and a few strategies to facilitate improvement of the indoor air quality.


Industrial Indoor Air Quality and Its Impact on General HealthIndoor Air Quality


Industrial facilities can harbour a multitude of air pollutants generated by various production processes, materials, and activities. Poor indoor air quality in these settings can significantly impact worker health, leading to both short- and long-term consequences. These may include:


  • Respiratory Issues: Dust particles, fumes, and chemicals commonly found in industrial settings can irritate the lungs and airways, causing coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and even exacerbating existing respiratory conditions like asthma.


  • Skin and Eye Irritation: Exposure to airborne irritants can lead to dry, itchy skin, rashes, and conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.


  • Headaches and Fatigue: Poorly ventilated spaces with high levels of carbon dioxide, for example, can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue, hindering worker productivity and focus.


  • Neurological Effects: Long-term exposure to certain chemicals like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been linked to neurological problems such as memory loss and difficulty concentrating.


  • Increased Risk of Cancer: Some industrial carcinogens pose a long-term threat, with chronic exposure potentially leading to various cancers.


Symptoms to Watch Out For


Workers in industrial facilities should be aware of the signs and symptoms that might indicate poor indoor air quality, also known as IAQ. These include:


  • Frequent headaches, dizziness and nausea
  • Persistent respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Dry, itchy skin or rashes
  • Eye irritation, redness or constant tearing
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory problems
  • Unusual fatigue


If you or any of your employees experience any of these symptoms consistently, especially while at work, it is crucial to report this to specialist indoor air quality consultants like the experts at IOH Solutions. Early detection and addressing these concerns immediately can significantly reduce potential health risks over time.


Strategies for Improving IAQ


Several steps can be taken by industrial facilities to improve the quality of air indoors and safeguard worker health:


  • Improved Ventilation:Ensuring adequate ventilation forms the basis of good IAQ. This involves installing proper ventilation systems that provide sufficient fresh outdoor air and remove pollutants effectively.


  • Source Control: Whenever possible, implement measures to control pollutants at the source. This might involve enclosing processes, using open-plant cleaning methods to suppress dust, or substituting less harmful materials.


  • Air Filtration Systems: Installing air filtration systems appropriate for the specific contaminants can significantly improve air quality.


  • Regular Maintenance: Scheduled maintenance of ventilation systems and air filters is essential to ensure optimal performance.


Choose IOH Solutions


Since 2003, IOH Solutions has specialised in industrial hygiene, and environmental and indoor air quality solutions for companies of various sizes in Africa. Regardless of the size of your business, if you are experiencing poor air quality in your facility or any of your workers are suffering from any of the above signs or symptoms, contact us today for affordable, friendly and professional services.