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Preventing sick building syndrome

Michigan workers may realize that their workplace is the cause of illnesses. A previous blog discussed sick building syndrome and its symptoms. It is just as important to know how to keep sick building syndrome from occurring.

The causes of sick building syndrome can stem from many factors. Occupational Health and Safety says that 52 percent of incidents can be attributed to inadequate ventilation. This means that improving a workplace’s ventilation can help reduce the chances of incurring sick building syndrome. One step that may help is air filters. Although filters work best when a small portion of the work environment is causing the problem, they can be effective in removing emissions and fumes from areas which house contaminating equipment. Additionally, regularly maintaining ventilation systems ensures that everything works properly. Companies may also want to clean spaces which are damp so that mold and mildew do not grow.

Many companies may find that by selecting different interior materials, they can eliminate the problem. Carpeting and paints which contain volatile organic compounds can usually be switched for ones without toxins. Preventing sick building syndrome may sometimes be as easy as ensuring that buildings have plenty of natural air circulation. To achieve this, employees may want to open windows.

Because ventilation is responsible for so many cases of sick building syndrome, it is important to check a building’s indoor air quality. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there is no test which can be used to determine IAQ. However, employers should regularly check HVAC systems. Leaks and odors can usually be detected by examining every inch of a building. Asbestos or radon testing may sometimes be required to ensure that there are no unseen hazards. If employees suspect that IAQ is poor, it is best to speak to supervisors. If employers do not want to look into a problem, workers may need to contact OSHA themselves.

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