How could making facility improvements, especially the kind that boost your site’s appearance and comfort, cause your company trouble?
Simple: If the job stirs up dust, dirt and contaminants, you could be looking at indoor air quality complaints. The last thing you need is people staying home from work or filing workers’ compensation claims because their workplace made them “sick.”
Before making significant upgrades, make sure your contractors and facility department have a strategy to reduce air problems.
Reason: A report done by Kimberly-Clark Professional found that common building upgrades can stir up mold and dust mites which then enter the ventilation system.
Those common jobs include:
- installing wiring for networking and IT systems
- removing old sinks, toilets, etc.
- knocking down walls, and
- repairing elevator shafts.
Here are four steps work crews should take to prevent air quality problems:
1. Seal off work areas with plastic sheeting. The plastic should cover the floor, reach as high as the ceiling, and not blow open.
2. Protect ventilation registers and returns from dirt and dust. Some work areas may require shutting off ventilation so there’s no chance of dust contaminating the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.
3. Insist that work crews cover their shoes if there’s a chance of contamination. That way they don’t track contaminants into other areas of the building. Your best bet is getting this step in writing.
4. Consider putting ultraviolet (UV) lamps near or inside wall/ceiling vents. Studies show that UV rays kill off many kinds of bacteria and germs inside vents. Indoor air quality can improve drastically within days of UV treatment.