Indoor Air Quality

Building Operations and Management

Proper building operations and routine maintenance are critical to ensuring healthy IAQ. NIOSH looked at 500 of the first IAQ investigations that they had done and found that inadequate ventilation, contamination from inside the building, and contamination from outside the building were the top three sources of IAQ problems. These types of issues can be solved by doing things like maintaining the building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, following guidelines for ensuring adequate ventilation as office suites are rearranged, routinely cleaning office spaces and common areas, and properly storing cleaning and other chemicals that are used in the workplace. These actions help ensure proper IAQ and are all part of a well developed building operation and maintenance plan.

Building managers are often the first resource that building tenants and occupants turn to if they feel there is an IAQ problem. The following references provide information about investigating IAQ issues and controlling IAQ in the workplace.

Building Management Resources

Protect Yourself: Cleaning Chemicals and Your Health

  • Protect Yourself: Cleaning Chemicals and Your Health. OSHA Poster (Publication 3569), (February 2012).
  • Protecting Workers Who Use Cleaning Chemicals. OSHA Publication 3512, (February 2012).
  • Indoor Air Quality Building Education and Assessment Model (I-BEAM). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). General guidance and modules for managing IAQ; includes sections on maintenance, housekeeping, renovation, and energy efficiency.
  • Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 91-114, (December 1991). Provides guidance on integrating IAQ-related activities into an organization's practices.
  • Building Air Quality: Action Plan. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (June 1998). Provides an 8-step building air quality action plan for building owners and managers to be used with Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers.
  • OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (January 20, 1999). Includes chapters on indoor air quality, ventilation, standards and codes, various indoor air contaminants, investigation guidelines, sampling methods, and gives recommendations to employers on how to prevent and control IAQ problems
  • Maintaining Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) during Construction and Renovation. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Provides procedures for building managers and owners to take during construction and renovation projects in buildings to protect workers from adverse IAQ effects.
  • A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (October 10, 2003).
  • Ventilation. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • ASHRAE Standard 62.1. Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Specifies minimum ventilation rates and IAQ that will be acceptable to human occupants to minimize the potential for adverse health effects. Whereas ASHRAE Standard 62 has always been considered a design standard for ventilation, building owner/operators should pay particular attention to Section 8 titled "Operations and Maintenance." Section 8 offers guidance to the building owner/operator as to which ventilation components should be maintained, which tasks should be performed, and the minimum frequency for performing those tasks.
  • Recommendations for the Cleaning and Remediation of Flood-Contaminated HVAC Systems: A Guide for Building Owners and Managers. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Guidance for building owners on cleaning and remediating HVAC systems that have been flooded and maintaining healthy IAQ.
Resources for Investigating Indoor Air Quality Issues and Complaints

The following resources provide sampling and analytical methods specific air contaminants: