Do you smell that?? Spring is in the air.
The Earth’s axis is starting to tilt more toward the sun, the days are getting longer and warmer and it’s a season of rebirth. During Spring, much new life is welcomed – including buds bursting, flowers blooming, baby animals being born and all sorts of seeds, dusts, pollens and other organisms.
It’s no co-incidence that the term “Spring Cleaning” has been coined. Whilst cleanliness and hygiene is important year-round, Spring is the perfect time to take stock and assess and focus on the cleanliness and hygiene of your business’ plant, equipment and environment.
Breathe Easy with better Indoor Air Quality
Spring might be in the air…. but do you know what else is??? How clean is the air surrounding you, your colleagues and customers in your workplace – especially indoors?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is the quality of air within and around buildings and structures.
Indoor air is defined as ‘air within a building occupied for at least one hour by people of varying states of health’. This can include the office, classroom, transport facility, shopping centre, hospital and home.
The quality of the air around you has such a significant impact on your health, wellbeing and comfort. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to health conditions such as ‘sick building syndrome’ (excessive chronic conditions and illnesses within an environment), reduced productivity in the workplace, impaired learning in schools and education institutions and health impacts in hospitals and aged care facilities.
The cost of poor IAQ has been estimated by the CSIRO to be as high as $12 billion per year in Australia and the US EPA has ranked poor IAQ among the top 5 environmental risks to public health.
The Risks of Common Indoor Air Pollutants
Air pollutants aren’t just reserved for factories emitting smelly smoke plumes or the grey exhaust from cars or trucks…. Hidden indoor air pollutants may be much less visible but much more dangerous, as we’re potentially exposed to them for longer periods of time without being aware of them.
Major contributors to poor indoor air quality include the use of gas cookers and unflued gas heaters as well as air conditioners. These sources can often contribute a large percentage of the pollutants found indoors.
Indoor air quality can also be adversely affected by other pollutants such as fungi, microbial contamination, dust mites, particulates and air toxins such as formaldehyde.
Increasingly, as buildings have become better sealed from the external environment, pollutants being released from indoor sources are being found at higher concentrations which poses greater health risks.
Let’s take a closer look at a few common pollutants:
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) – CO is an odourless, invisible gas produced by the combustion of fossil fuels. It stops your body from using oxygen properly and may cause tiredness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and confusion as well as other physical symptoms. At high levels of concentration, it can be fatal.
- Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – NO2 is a common oxide of nitrogen and a toxic and corrosive gas. It irritates the throat, eyes, nose, and respiratory tract. Moderate exposure can lead to bronchitis and in serious situations exposure can lead to pulmonary edema or lung injury. Even low-level exposure can impair lung function for people who are already at risk, such as asthmatics, people with chronic obstructive lung disease, and children.
- Mould – Moulds are types of fungi that grow indoors and outdoors. Some types of mould are harmless, while others are quite dangerous. Mould can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms can include nasal stuffiness, eye or throat irritation, swelling, coughing or wheezing, headaches, or skin irritation. Severe reactions can lead to fever and trouble breathing. Mould can also trigger asthma attacks.
- Second-hand smoke – This pollutant comes from incompletely burned tobacco products and is referred to as environmental tobacco smoke. It may contain over 4,700 chemical ingredients. In the short term, exposure to second-hand smoke can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. In the long-term, it can cause many of the same health problems as smoking, like wheezing, pneumonia, bronchitis, and lung cancer. It can also trigger asthma attacks.
What can you do?
There are some simple things you can do to reduce the risks of indoor air pollutants impacting your workers, customers and business:
- Ensure that all heating, cooling and other electrical or gas appliances are correctly installed. Have the installation checked by a qualified safety professional.
- Ensure your heating and cooling systems and other appliances are in good repair and checked for safety compliance by a qualified professional regularly – at least yearly.
- Ensure appliances are used only as directed and for their intended use. For example, don’t use a cooking appliance to try to heat an area.
- Ensure indoor areas are appropriately ventilated and emissions can easily flow outdoors – especially when using combustion appliances.
- Reduce mould and bacteria through regular professional cleaning and maintenance and by keeping moisture and humidity levels in check. Fix leaks and clean up spills properly and promptly. Make sure appliances that create moisture are well vented. Keep fans on or windows open to avoid condensation.
- Avoid secondhand smoke by not allowing people to smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipe tobacco in or around any indoor areas or confined workspaces.
To find out what base you’re working from, Jaymak can organise independent air quality testing including:
- Carbon Monoxide
- Carbon Dioxide
- Fungi & Mould
- Volatile Organics
Jaymak is also the only ISO 22000 certified company for specialised cleaning services to the hospitality and food service sectors in Australia. Trusting your cleaning needs to Jaymak will result in better indoor air quality, better energy and appliance efficiencies, reduced fire and safety hazards, and a sanitised work environment that meets Australian standards.
Book in a free consultation with one of our expert technicians who will be able to answer any questions you may have and provide an obligation free quote on 1300 529 625 or read about our products and services at www.jaymak.com.
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