J. J. Keller® Compliance Network Logo
Start Customizing Your Profile for Free!
Update to Professional Trial!

Experience Everything Compliance Network Has to Offer

Already have an account?
Thank you for investing in EnvironmentalHazmat related content. Click 'UPGRADE' to continue.
Enjoy your limited-time access to the Compliance Network Professional Trial!
A confirmation welcome email has been sent to your email address from ComplianceNetwork@t.jjkellercompliancenetwork.com. Please check your spam/junk folder if you can't find it in your inbox.
Thank you for your interest in EnvironmentalHazmat related content.
You've reached your limit of free access, if you'd like more info, please contact us at 800-327-6868.
Indoor air quality
  • Under OSHA’s General Duty Clause, employers are responsible for controlling pollutants indoors to provide a safe workplace for employees.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce the risk of indoor health concerns.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have a specific standard to regulate IAQ. However, employers must follow the General Duty Clause of the OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) Act, which requires them to provide workers with a safe workplace that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury, even when there is not an OSHA standard that applies.

Therefore, employers should be reasonably aware of the possible sources of poor IAQ, and they should have the resources necessary to recognize and control workplace hazards. It is also employers’ responsibility to inform employees of the immediate dangers that are present. Specific state and local regulations also may apply.

The two main causes of IAQ problems are indoor pollution sources and improper ventilation. Some common pollutants found in the workplace include:

  • Tobacco smoke,
  • Asbestos,
  • Formaldehyde,
  • Cleaning agents,
  • Air fresheners,
  • Mold,
  • Radon,
  • Carbon monoxide,
  • Paints,
  • Pesticides, and
  • Adhesives.

Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in sufficient outside air to dilute emissions from indoor sources, and by not carrying indoor pollutants outside of the facility. High temperatures and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of certain pollutants.

In addition, poorly located vents can even pull in outdoor air pollutants such as diesel exhaust, boiler emissions, or fumes from dumpsters. Dirty ventilation systems can harbor biological indoor air pollutants such as molds, germs, and other contaminants, and they can circulate dirt and soot throughout the workplace.