This policy establishes guidance and procedures to protect and maintain safe indoor air quality.
Purpose/Rationale: [Organization] is committed to the safety of all workers and will keep the workplace free of recognized hazards. The goal of this policy is to promote and protect the health and well being of [Organization] personnel, contractors, and visitors, particularly those with asthma, allergies, or chemical sensitivities; prevent work-related injury and illness; and prevent harm to and pollution of the environment.
This policy applies to all [Organization] employees, vendors, clients, and visitors, at all [Organization] facilities, both leased and owned.
Building Operation and Maintenance[Organization] will operate and maintain all facilities using best practices to minimize interruption to workers and protect them from hazards, including:
- Proper maintenance of heating, ventilation and cooling systems (HVAC)
- Ensuring whenever possible off-hours maintenance for work that may adversely impact building occupants (e.g. activities that may create large amounts of dusts; tasks that will generate odors, hazardous or not; or use of hazardous chemicals when no safer alternatives are available)
- Use of integrated pest management practices for both building and grounds, emphasizing non-chemical management strategies whenever practical and the least-toxic chemical controls when pesticides are needed
- Use of soaps, cleaning products, paints, and other housekeeping products that are odor-free or emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the fullest extent feasible. Only green cleaning products (products that are biodegradable, of low toxicity, fragrance-free, and otherwise less hazardous to human health or the environment) shall be used within [Organization] facilities and leased spaces, unless otherwise approved
- Use of housekeeping practices which are deemed safer for building occupants and the environment, including frequent and thorough vacuuming using vacuums with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters; using least-toxic, non-petroleum based, fragrance-free cleaner if carpets must be cleaned; keeping waste containers away from air intakes and assuring their regular emptying; and keeping storage, janitorial, and air handling rooms clean and properly maintained.
- Addressing moisture problems such as roof or plumbing leaks as soon as possible in order to prevent mold growth. Any visible mold will be remediated.
Scented or fragranced products are prohibited at all times in all interior space owned, rented, or leased by [Organization]. This includes the use of:
- Incense, candles, or reed diffusers
- Fragrance-emitting devices of any kind
- Wall-mounted devices, similar to fragrance-emitting devices, that operate automatically or by pushing a button to dispense deodorizers or disinfectants
- Plug-in or spray air fresheners
- Urinal or toilet blocks
- Other fragranced deodorizer/re-odorizer products
Personal care products (e.g. colognes, perfumes, essential oils, scented skin and hair products) should not be applied at or near workstations, restrooms, or anywhere in [Organization] owned or leased buildings.
In addition, [Organization] encourages employees to be as fragrance-free as possible when coming to work. Some fragrances are detrimental to the health of workers with chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and chronic headaches/migraines. Employees should avoid using scented detergents and fabric softeners on clothes worn to the office.
Certain types of flowers can trigger asthma or allergic reactions. Employees with allergies to flowers may submit to [Designated person] the types of flowers that trigger asthma or allergic reactions. A list of such flowers will be distributed to employees. These flowers shall not be allowed in common spaces, and shall be removed from individual work stations if fragrances trigger symptoms in other workers.
The use of tobacco products is prohibited in all indoor and outdoor facilities owned or under full control of [Organization]. [See Tobacco-Free Grounds Policy.]
All building occupants are expected to:
- Refrigerate and store food in airtight containers to prevent spoilage
- Dispose of food waste in break room trash disposal areas
- Keep offices and other areas clean and orderly to prevent contamination of indoor air and conditions conducive to insect or rodent infestations
- Keep supply air diffusers and return air grills free of any obstructions within their workspace
- Clean up spills promptly and properly
- Stay home if you are ill in accordance with [Organization] leave policy
Reporting of Air Quality Concerns
Supervisors will carefully consider and, to the extent feasible and in accordance with [Organization] policies, accommodate the needs of individuals with allergies, asthma, or chemical intolerances. Additionally, any employee may report air quality concerns to [their manager or other designated person] for investigation.
The following resources may help you address indoor air quality in your workplace:
- “Green” purchasing guides are available from the Enivronmental Protection Agency.
- Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that provides information about environmentally responsible building products and services.
- Eco Logo provides environmental certification for products and companies with the Eco Logo label.
- Information about mold management can be obtained from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
- “An Office Building Occupant’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality” describes a learning process for building occupants to better understand the factors that contribute to indoor air quality and comfort problem, and the roles of building managers and occupants in maintaining a good indoor environment.
- “Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers” is a comprehensive National Institute of Occupation Safety and Health guide for building owners and managers to help them prevent and solve indoor air quality issues.
- “Building Air Quality Action Plan (pdf)” is a resource for Large Buildings Indoor Air Quality Management Practices Guidance.
- The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers posts standards for clean and efficient systems. http://www.ashrae.org/