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How Do You Measure Air Quality in the Workplace?

How Do You Measure Air Quality in the Workplace

As a business leader, one of your most important duties is ensuring a safe, comfortable, and productive environment for your employees. The quality of indoor air should be a top priority. After all, we spend 90% of our time indoors, and poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can negatively impact health, attendance rates, and performance. However, accurately measuring air quality parameters takes specific expertise and technology. Rather than leaving it to chance, partner with the seasoned IAQ experts at Highmark Analytics.

Why Measuring Workplace Air Quality Matters

Monitoring key metrics allows you to identify IAQ issues before they affect your staff. Waiting for complaints means you’ll miss opportunities to provide better air. Consistent, proactive testing is the only way to understand your workplace’s true air quality, which is essential for:

Safeguarding Employee Health and Comfort

Exposure to air pollution triggers short and long-term health issues, including headaches, fatigue, asthma, allergic reactions, and an increased risk of respiratory illness. You owe your team clean, comfortable air. Get ahead of problems through ongoing IAQ testing.

Boosting Productivity and Engagement

Studies show that high indoor CO2 concentrations directly reduce cognitive function, affecting critical thinking, productivity, and decision-making. Poor air quality also increases lethargy and disengagement. Optimize air parameters for an attentive, productive workforce.

Reducing Viral Transmission

Improper ventilation and moisture facilitate the spread of illnesses like flu and COVID-19 on infected aerosols and droplets. Proper IAQ management lowers transmission risks and protects employee well-being.

Regulatory and Certification Compliance

Depending on your location and industry, you may need to comply with occupational IAQ exposure limits or standards like OSHA and LEED. Document your air quality performance to avoid fines or other penalties.

What Metrics Should You Monitor?

Accurately assessing workplace air means testing multiple parameters. Monitor these metrics for complete visibility:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

As employees breathe, they exhale carbon dioxide. Excessively high CO2 indicates inadequate ventilation and risk of “stale air” symptoms. For optimal air quality, target under 800 ppm.

Temperature and Humidity

Keeping conditions comfortable for employees means monitoring temperature and humidity fluctuations. Ideal ranges depend on climate and season but usually fall between 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% to 60% relative humidity.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs off-gas from common workplace products and materials like paint, carpets, manufactured wood, cleaning agents, and office equipment. Monitor total VOC levels along with individual compounds.

Particulates

Airborne dust, smoke particles, vehicle exhaust, pollen, and other suspended particles harm IAQ at elevated levels. Measure PM2.5 and PM10 particulate pollution.

Other Gases

Air pollutants like radon, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen and sulfur also require routine testing based on health concerns, building locations, and proximity to garages or combustion equipment.

Ways to Improve Workplace Air Quality

Once you’ve identified air quality issues through testing, you can take steps to improve conditions for employees:

Adjust Ventilation

Increasing ventilation exchanges stale indoor air for fresh outdoor air. Adjust HVAC systems to maximize airflow and consider operating cycles that run before/after occupancy or overnight. Portable air cleaners also improve air exchange.

Mitigate Pollution at the Source

Replace toxin-emitting furnishings like manufactured wood with safer alternatives. Switch cleaners and office supplies to green, low/no VOC products. Move printers and other equipment emitting particles or gases into separate, enclosed rooms.

Modify Building Operations

Alter room usage to separate pollution sources from employee areas. Relocate staff away from air intakes or exhaust outlets. Refine temperature and humidity set points for better comfort. Open blinds to utilize daylight instead of electricity.

Upgrade Filtration Systems

Improving filtration captures more airborne particulates from recirculated air. Consider high-efficiency HEPA or MERV 13+ equipment. Add gas-phase filtration to remove additional VOC pollution.

Utilize Air Purifiers

Strategically Place portable units in problem areas to remove gases, odors, particles, and microorganisms. Size units appropriately for room dimensions and select models with high air exchange rates.

Leveraging these tactics under the guidance of Highmark Analytics’ experts allows you to breathe easier, knowing your workplace air quality supports employees rather than harms them.

Why Continuous Monitoring Matters

While spot IAQ checks with portable testers provide occasional insight, they miss the bigger picture. Your workplace air quality fluctuates daily and seasonally based on weather, occupancy, ventilation rates, and pollution sources. Only ongoing monitoring reveals the full scope needed for operational decisions through:

  • Exposure consistency issues
  • Long-term effects on health
  • Optimizing for peak employee performance
  • Efficiency opportunities around ventilation and maintenance
  • Documenting changing conditions over time for audits

In short, attempting to extrapolate broader air quality or safety conclusions from periodic snapshots leaves dangerous gaps. Protect your staff and your business with continuous IAQ testing.

Leverage Highmark Analytics’ Expertise

Attempting air quality measurement without relevant instruments or expertise leads to misinformation and wasted efforts. Leverage over 20 years of IAQ experience with Highmark Analytics. Our air quality management solutions feature:

Advanced Monitoring Technology

Our enterprise-grade systems continuously measure indoor air 24/7/365 using an array of precise gas and particle sensors. Cutting-edge technology lets you see conditions in real-time.

Expert Analysis and Insights

Our experienced personnel include chemists, physicists, environmental engineers, and certified professionals. We analyze results in context and offer straightforward recommendations to optimize your air.

Documented Proof of Performance

We deliver the air quality reports required for demonstrating OSHA adherence, LEED commissioning, and other audits or compliance needs.

Better Air Quality Outcomes with Highmark Analytics

Get custom guidance from Highmark Analytics’ air quality experts. We simplify measurement and improvement through tailored solutions:

  • IAQ Assessments: We thoroughly evaluate your building conditions, occupant activities, and pollution emission sources. Then, we create a strategic testing plan reflecting your workplace requirements and targets.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: Once your air monitoring system is commissioned, our instruments run 24/7 while we handle all quality control, calibration, and maintenance. We also provide unlimited online data access and backup records securely offsite.
  • Prioritized Progress Reporting: Along with transparent data access, you receive periodic reports from our experts analyzing results, highlighting issues, and offering straightforward improvement suggestions to protect your employees. We address elevated pollution, meet targets, and discuss operational decisions around ventilation changes, equipment upgrades, or space usage adjustments.

Don’t gamble with your workplace air quality or your staff’s health and performance. Contact Highmark Analytics today for a free consultation on continuous monitoring options and custom solutions for your business. Our degreed personnel look forward to helping you provide the clean, safe, and comfortable indoor air your team deserves.