Indoor Air Quality

In most workplaces, indoor air quality (IAQ) relates to the proper functioning of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the building. Good IAQ increases comfort for workers and contributes to good health. The design, construction, operation and maintenance of ventilation systems can ensure workers have an acceptable quality of indoor air.

Air Quality Issues

Managers must make sure that employees are aware of their responsibility to report any air quality complaints. In the event of an air quality complaint, managers must determine if the IAQ concern presents an immediate health hazard requiring immediate action (such as a gas leak). If it presents an immediate health hazard follow the appropriate emergency response plan.

For non-imminent danger to life & health IAQ issues

  • Investigate the complaint using the Supervisor Initial IAQ Investigation form (PDF, 315KB) to try to determine the cause
  • Communicate to staff you are investigating the concern and that further concerns need to be logged to help determine if there is a pattern relating to a specific work area or task (study the IAQ Complaint Log (PDF, 202KB) for such patterns)
  • Take action on IAQ concerns within your ability. If your actions resolve the concern and the investigation is complete
    • Communicate the finding to staff
    • Record the findings in the Initial Investigation Form

If concerns can’t be resolved by your actions, ask for assistance from

  • Ministry facilities managers
  • AskMyHR, requesting an occupational health and safety specialist for IAQ concerns
  • Work with an IAQ team, including ministry facilities and an occupational health and safety specialist, if the IAQ concern is complex
  • Retain documentation for at least seven years and have it accessible for a possible request from the WorkSafeBC office

An IAQ review should be completed with ministry facilities staff when occupancy in the workplace changes substantially or renovations involve significant changes to the ventilation system.

IAQ problems may result in physical symptoms ranging from headache and fatigue to respiratory tract and skin irritation. Some people may be more at risk of the effects of indoor air contaminants, for instance

  • Allergic or asthmatic individuals
  • People with respiratory disease
  • People with compromised immune systems

What Is Too Hot or Too Cold?

WorkSafeBC does not specify a certain temperature; instead, they refer to the comfort range created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. Whenever practicable an office should be kept in the following range:

Season

Humidity

Temperature

Summer

30%

23°C to 27°C

50%

23°C to 26°C

60%

23°C to 26°C

Winter

30%

20°C to 24°C

50%

20°C to 24°C

60%

20°C to 23°C

Comfort is important, and complaints will be responded to by Integrated Workplace Solutions. However, the comfort range is only a guide.

If you require more information or help, contact AskMyHR and we'll put you in touch with a safety specialist. Learn more about WorkSafeBC indoor air quality regulations.