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Could your air-conditioning be the cause of a workplace illness epidemic?

by , 29 September 2014
In this day and age nearly every office building has an air conditioning (AC) system. In the hot South African summer and cold winters, these are invaluable.

But do you ever stop to think about the down side of your air conditioning. After all, the air-conditioning unit affects the air your employees breathe.

If your employees seem to fall sick all the time, maybe you need to look up at your AC unit to spot the culprit because it could cause this workplace illness epidemic...


Here's how your air-conditioning could make your employees sick

Your AC unit filters air from outside and runs it past a water system to cool or heat it. If your AC filter system is full of dust it could make your employees very sick.
This happens because, as the air goes through the filter, instead of it catching the dust in the air, it just picks more up.
This means when the air moves into your office, it's full of dust, bacteria and other airborne particles. When your employees breathe this air in, it can cause serious lung and chest infections.
Your employees will struggle to breath and need medical attention.
But this isn't the only way the AC can make your employees sick.
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Three tips to get your employees to comply with health and safety laws
Employees think that safety is something 'management' must do. They're wrong. Employees also have duties to comply with the OHS Act.
It's your responsibility to make sure your employees comply. Don't know how to do it? 

Here's the other way your AC unit could make your employees sick

If your AC unit doesn't pull clean water into its cooling and heating system that water can stagnate. This breeds some rather nasty bacteria. If, due to age and bad maintenance, the water pipes are open, the air can pick up the bacteria as it moves through the system.
This again means your employees breathe in bacteria that can make them seriously ill.
To prevent this problem, maintain your air-conditioning system and change the filters regularly. 

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