Indoor air quality gaining prevalence in Ireland - Chris Mee Group | CMSE

Indoor air quality gaining prevalence in Ireland

Written by CMSE Consultant Aisling Hegarty

Air quality has always been an important factor in the workplace, however since the emergence of COVID-19 there has been increased focus. A recent article by one of our safety consultants, Jake Bumpus, highlighted the importance of ventilation and air conditioning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to identify poorly ventilated areas has gained increased recognition in Ireland. In recent news, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy is seeking to introduce proposed legislation to guarantee a certain standard of ventilation in workplaces to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Under the proposed legislation employers will be required to install CO2 monitor in every workplace, including schools. It would seem the topic of indoor air quality is garnering much needed attention.

Workers exposure to poor indoor quality is a common concern across all workplaces. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the US acknowledges that poor indoor air quality can be hazardous to workers’ health and wellbeing. Indoor air contaminants that affect people in Ireland include gases, vapours and dusts that may accumulate indoors. Examples of such contaminants include CO2, carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), aldehydes, and dust particles from certain processes (i.e. construction activities). Other factors to be considered include indoor temperature, relative humidity and biological contaminates such as bacteria or moulds. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to symptoms like fatigue, headaches, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.

One of the key measures to protect workers from exposure to indoor air contaminants is indoor air quality monitoring. A competent occupational hygienist can carry out the monitoring to identify and assess the presence of airborne contaminants in the workplace in accordance with the relevant 2021 Code of Practice for the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations (2001-2021). Considering we spend 90% of our time indoors and inside buildings where levels of contaminants are much higher (EU, 2003), it would seem such measures are essential.


For more information on Indoor air quality monitoring and other  occupational hygiene services please click here

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