Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is a growing issue within the workplace. Reduced airflow and an improvement the seals of buildings have increased the concentration of indoor pollutants including; volatile organic compounds, nitrogen dioxide and microorganisms. Poor outside ambient air quality can also contribute to indoor air quality issues.
Accumulation of pollutants can trigger a range of illnesses including; sick building syndrome (when the general population within the building are complaining of chronic health issues that are resolved when removed from the building), sensory and skin irritations, neurotoxic symptoms or hypersensitivities.
In an indoor environment, the transmission of microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) between individuals increases which can result in illness and lost productivity. Another microorganism which can cause issues in indoor environment are fungi. When given optimal growth conditions, fungi will create visible mould within buildings. An increase in the concentration of mould in indoor environments can have health consequences including towards the respiratory system and allergies. Depending on the severity of the mould contamination, the controls needed may differ.
Within the oil and gas industry, there is a risk that indoor and ambient outdoor air quality could contribute to poor air quality in the workplace. Identification of air pollutants within the indoor environment is important to help create a strategy to manage and reduce human exposure to health risks.
Appropriate ventilation management strategies are important for dilution of harmful pollutants in conjunction with ongoing monitoring of pollutants deemed as being at risk within the environment.