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Six ways poor ventilation can affect your employees' health

by , 12 June 2013
Poor ventilation is a hazard. And like all hazards, it poses a risk to your employees' health and you must eliminate or control it at all costs. If you don't, it'll slow down productivity in your workplace and result in increased sick leave. But these aren't the only consequences. Read on to discover the six ways poor ventilation will affect your employees so you can protect your employee's health.

According to the Health and Safety Advisor, office ventilation removes unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, introduces outside air to keep interior building air circulated and prevents stagnation of the indoor air.

That's why you must ventilate your workplace either by natural (wind) or mechanical (aircon, fans) means. Failure to do so will increase the health and safety risks of your employees and can lead to a fine of R1 000 or imprisonment of up to six months.

Not only does poor ventilation affect the physical health of your employees, but psychological effects like stress also arise when your employees are constantly exposed to ventilation hazards.

The consequences of this can be dire.

Poor ventilation affects your employees in these six ways

Here's a look at some of the consequences of poor ventilation to your employees:

  1. High levels of carbon dioxide and low levels of oxygen can cause fatigue and affect your employee's ability to concentrate.
  2. Build up of chemical and biological contaminants that cause poor indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality can lead to employees suffering from headaches, fatigue, hypersensitivity and allergies, sinus congestion dizziness, shortness of breath, coughing and nausea.
  3. Extreme temperature in the office causes fatigue, discomfort and distraction and can increase accidents in the workplace as a result.
  4. Low humidity can cause a dry throat, dry skin and static electricity build-up. High humidity contributes to bacterial and mould growth. This can make your employees very sick.
  5. Excessive and irritating workplace odours cause discomfort and affect concentration. For example, ammonia and chlorine.
  6. Poor ventilation causes Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). The symptoms include irritation of eyes, nose and throat, headaches, fatigue, and a susceptibility to colds and flu. Symptoms tend to be less severe away from the workplace.

There you have it. Knowing how poor ventilation can affect your employees' health will ensure that you make ventilation a top priority on your company's health and safety list.

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