Employees should be safe while on the job; that includes healthy air quality. Whether you work in an office, a factory, a hospital or a small business you may be exposed to sources of indoor air pollution that are potentially hazardous to your health. Depending on the industry, these hazards may include tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, allergens, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals that build up indoors. Workers may also be exposed to airborne contaminants on the job such as dusts, welding fumes, gases, solvent vapors and mists.
Although laws and policies exist to protect workers, problems with air quality on the job are often overlooked. Breathing unhealthy air at work can be dangerous, but it's also preventable.
Understanding what makes indoor air unhealthy and the specific pollutants that might be present in your workplace is the first step to addressing the problem. Then, you can take action to protect yourself from indoor air pollution.
These additional resources can help you address air quality in your workplace:
For more information about solving indoor air problems, check out these tools available online. They are designed to help building professionals investigate and solve indoor air problems in the workplace.
- Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction, and Commissioning from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
- OSHA Technical Manual from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides technical information about workplace hazards and controls.
- Health Hazard Evaluation Program from the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) provides free investigations of some workplace health hazards. Search for similar cases on the Health Hazard Exposure Database.
Page last updated: November 2, 2023