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Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is indoor air quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ, also called "indoor environmental quality") describes how inside air can affect a person's health, comfort, and ability to work.  It can include temperature, humidity, lack of outside air (poor ventilation), mold from water damage, or exposure to other chemicals. 

What hazards are associated with indoor air quality?

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a variety of symptoms. Some workers complain about symptoms that happen at work and go away when they leave work, like having headaches or feeling tired. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath can be symptoms of a more serious problem. Asthma and some causes of pneumonia (for example, Legionnaires’ Disease and Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis) have been linked to IAQ problems.

Solutions

Solutions

What can I do to protect myself?

If a specific air contaminant is known to be present, ask your employer if any air monitoring has been done and if so, ask for a copy of the test results. If you observe the sudden appearance of mold on walls or begin to experience symptoms such as irritation of the throat or other respiratory symptoms, bring this to the attention of your employer.

What resources are available to assist employers?

  • This example program for hazard communication can also assist the employer with the development of a program.

Other resources can be found on the A-Z topics page for hazard communication. In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.

Regulations

Regulations

Which standards apply?

There are no specific OSHA or N.C. occupational safety and health standards for Indoor Air Quality. However, specific OSH Division standards may apply to particular contaminants.

Other OSH standards pertaining to indoor air quality include:

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.