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National Safety Month Building safer facilities for our communities

building

 

Since the 1860s, workers have fought for safer working environments to curtail safety hazards and unintentional injuries. In honor of their fight for worker safety, the National Safety Council founded National Safety Month back in 1996.

 

This month-long celebration aims to spread awareness and prompt employers to stay proactive and vigilant in providing safe working conditions. Learn more below about improving indoor air quality for workers by increasing airflow and reducing indoor pollutant sources.

 

How can I improve ventilation?

 

Natural ventilation

 

Supplying fresh air into a building or room using wind speed and internal and external pressure without mechanical assistance.

Mechanical ventilation

 

Circulating fresh air using ducts and fans rather than relying on natural airflow.

 

Natural ventilation can be as simple as opening windows and doors to encourage airflow, while mechanical ventilation is often associated with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. They both can dilute or extract indoor pollutants and help regulate indoor temperatures.

 

How do HVAC systems work?

 

HVAC systems take in the fresh air and use a mechanical ventilation system to heat or cool at the desired temperature within a space. Besides affecting the temperature of commercial or residential areas, HVAC systems address air quality issues by increasing air circulation and removing dust, debris, and allergens with filters. Make sure your HVAC systems are in tip-top shape by regularly checking filters and scheduling maintenance.

 

What indoor pollutants should I watch out for?

 

Everyday household items and equipment can emit respiratory irritants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and formaldehyde (HCHO). Using proper ventilation strategies can reduce respiratory irritants lingering indoors and short and long-term health effects on humans. Common sources of indoor pollution include:

 

      Gas stoves

      Gas water heaters

      Household cleaning agents

      Construction activities (painting, welding, sanding)

 

If unable to switch gas appliances to their electric counterparts, turn on nearby exhausts to manage air quality, and install CO2 sensors close to gas burning appliances to indicate ventilation quality. 

 

Identifying indoor sources of pollutants and knowing the different options for ventilation can help you decide what will work best for your agency. Breathe easy knowing that your indoor spaces provide a safe working environment by upgrading to the latest energy-efficient HVAC systems. They reduce the risk of health effects in your employees and provide your agency with lower energy bills and reduced maintenance costs in the long run.

 

Interested in upgrading your HVAC systems to improve indoor air quality and save energy? Reach out to your SoCalREN Project Manager or register here to get started!