5 June 2003
Investigation. Investigators may conduct interviews, if
appropriate, with employees, building or facility managers, occupational safety
and health staff, facility engineers and public works personnel.
Once information is gathered from affected employees, a complete
inspection and assessment of the suspect area must be made by the facility
manager, supervisor and, if needed, servicing safety and health office. To assist
with this assessment, a Facility Assessment Checklist, Appendix C is provided
for your use.
Assessment. Multiple causes of poor IAQ exist, any one of which
could decrease the quality of the work environment. Some examples are:
Unacceptable Humidity Ranges. Low humidity may lead to dryness
and irritation of the nose, throat, skin and eyes. High humidity aids
in the growth of certain molds.
Insufficient Ventilation. Lack of sufficient fresh air leads to high
carbon dioxide concentrations in workspaces. Lack of fresh air
may cause fatigue, drowsiness, poor concentration and the
sensation of temperature extremes without actual temperature
changes. Increased CO2 levels are an indicator of poor ventilation.
Off-gas Chemicals. Many modern office furnishings and equipment
emit chemicals. Adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, manufactured
wood products, copy machines, pesticides and cleaning agents are
examples of items that emit gas.
Biological Contamination. Biological contaminants such as
bacteria, molds, pollen and viruses may be present in stagnant
water, air ducts, humidifiers and drain pans. Water damaged
material and insect and bird droppings contribute to biological
reactions and some types of asthma and can cause some common
Combustion Products. Combustion products, such as carbon
improperly burning furnaces, appliances and environmental
When performing facility assessments, the above factors must be
evaluated in addition to obvious mold contamination. During the assessment and
remediation of mold, the following precautions should be followed: