How to Follow OSHA Air Quality Standards in the Workplace

March 31 2021

Red and gray walk-behind scrubber used to improve indoor air quality

OSHA air quality standards are in place to protect the health of employees and visitors. Poor air quality results in many health concerns, including headaches, fatigue, eye irritation, nose irritation, or trouble breathing.

On top of that, workers who are exposed to indoor air pollutants for an extended time may develop conditions like asthma or even cancer. Improve indoor air quality to prevent these adverse health effects.

Not only are OSHA air quality standards critical to the safety of your workers, but they’ll also protect your business from hefty fines and potential lawsuits. Worker’s compensation can cost you thousands of dollars.

Luckily, following these guidelines is simple. Learn more about OSHA air quality standards and how to comply with them in this article.

OSHA Air Quality Standards

The General Duty Clause of the OSH Act (the law that started OSHA itself) states that all employers must provide workers with a safe workplace with no known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury.

This statement holds true for OSHA air quality standards as well. While OSHA doesn’t have general standards regarding indoor air, it does have standards regarding ventilation and indoor air pollutants.

In addition, California and New Jersey both have specific OSHA air quality standards. Follow these guidelines to improve indoor air quality if you operate in these states.

Similarly, while the EPA does not regulate indoor air, it does offer guidance when it comes to mold, radon, formaldehyde, and other indoor air pollutants. Find indoor air quality solutions from the EPA for those issues here.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

If you’re wondering how to improve indoor air quality, you’re in the right place. Keeping the workplace safe is key to a successful business. Follow these steps to improve indoor air quality at your facility.

1. Clean up spills quickly.

Wet areas can develop mold quickly. Clean up spills right away to prevent this. Keep an eye out for ceiling leaks or rotting areas. OSHA air quality standards address mold in regards to the general, maritime, and construction industries.

2. Conduct air quality tests.

Test your facility’s air quality regularly to ensure that you’re taking proper steps to keep your business safe. Various types of tests are available. Learn more about indoor air quality testing here.

3. Store food properly.

Not only does food attract unwanted pests, but it can produce nasty odors. Empty trash bins and clean eating spaces regularly to improve indoor air quality.

4. Prioritize dust control.

Dust control is incredibly important. Fine dust is a dangerous hazard to the lungs. Clean your floors often to improve indoor air quality and minimize fine dust and dirt. A floor scrubber will help with this.

OSHA has issued two standards regulating silica dust exposure. Crystalline silica is a common mineral from the earth’s crust that is commonly stirred up during construction and outdoor operations. 
Sand, stone, concrete, glass, pottery, ceramics, brick, and artificial stone all contain crystalline silica. Find answers to commonly asked silica questions here.

5. Maintain air filters.

Filters should be changed every six to twelve months, depending on the nature of your industry. Clogged filters will limit airflow. This makes workers susceptible to allergens and pollutants.

6. Keep vents unblocked.

Many indoor air quality solutions are incredibly simple. Move items and equipment out of the way of air vents. These vents help circulate air, and they won’t be able to do their job if they’re blocked.

7. Keep your facility clean.

Many people wonder how to improve indoor air quality, but skip the most basic step: cleanliness. Air quality starts with keeping your facility clean. This eliminates the development of mold and helps with dust control.

8. Invest in the proper equipment.

While you could hire a professional cleaning service to maintain your space, it’s a better financial investment to purchase the proper equipment yourself. Commercial indoor air quality is reliant on the cleanliness of the facility as a whole. An industrial floor scrubber is the perfect tool for the job.

Floor scrubbers use water and cleaning chemicals in combination with brushes to remove dirt and debris and control dust. The dirty water goes into a recovery tank, while a squeegee cleans up the remaining liquid to make it dry. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, improving air quality starts with the floors.

Black walk-behind floor scrubber in front of a yellow wall

Choosing the Proper Equipment to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Commercial indoor air quality starts with the right equipment. Proper floor cleaning equipment can help you keep your air free of minuscule particles or industrial byproducts. Prioritize dust control and protect your employees by investing in an industrial floor scrubber.

Not sure what you need? Browse equipment with ScrubberShop. Compare quality indoor air quality solutions and compare pricing on each of your options.

Improve commercial indoor air quality at your facility today. Follow the previously-mentioned tips and maintain your workplace with the proper equipment.

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