Against Silent Killer In Workplace

The air we breathe around us may appear to be clean, but it carries many types of microscopic particles, such as mineral particles, water droplets, pollen, various kinds of biological material and man-made pollutants, that can’t be seen by the human eye. These particles a.k.a silent killer can affect the health, wellbeing and productivity of people working in your workplace with weaker health conditions such as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and lung cancer and exacerbate the conditions of people who already suffer from them. Studies have found that poor air quality reduces most measures of office performance by 6-9%.

Factors affecting infection risk

Airborne particles can be composed of both solids and liquid droplets, each of which can have a wide range of chemical components derived from natural minerals, man-made materials or industrial pollutants. These particles can also be of biological origin, such as viruses, bacteria, fungal spores (including mould), pollen, particles of skin, hair and dried droppings of animals and humans.

There are several scenarios that cause airborne transmission:

  1. Talking, coughing and sneezing are sources of airborne particles that contain microbes from human lungs, nose, throat and mouth. These common human activities create airborne particles in a wide range of sizes that can be measured in millimetres down to nanometres and either particles land on surfaces or enter ventilation system to be spread around the building
  2. Damp surfaces provide a suitable environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. These can occur in office building ventilation systems, fridges and surfaces made wet by condensation or water leaks. 

iii. Airborne particles can enter office buildings from outside through open windows and doors, ventilation systems, joints and cracks in walls and ceilings, and on clothes, shoes and food. 

  1. Organic gases, usually termed VOCs (volatile organic compounds), are produced by human, animal and plant metabolic processes. These gases are also present in a large number of manufactured products including many building materials and furnishings and consumer products, including carpets, furniture, paints and varnishes, cleaning products, deodorants, perfumers, etc.

Toilet flushing and the spread of pathogens

A news from TheStar shows that when you flush the toilet without closing the lid, up to 80,000 polluted droplets can be released and suspended a metre in the air. These pathogens can linger in the toilet for hours, exposing you and your employees to several types of harmful bacteria and viruses as E.coli, Salmonella, Influenza, etc. Direct or cross contamination happens when they breathe in or after touching contaminated surfaces, or even through person to person eg. hand shake.

How to improve air quality in your workplace

  1. Reduce air pollutants sources in confined spaces

As mentioned earlier, many types of air pollutants are released by materials used in building construction, decoration, furnishings and equipment used in buildings. Since Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) was first described in the 1980s and was found to be related to poor air quality, building standards have reduced the acceptable levels of VOCs emitted. Materials nowadays are available with low levels or no VOCs, so refurbishing with modern materials is one option. 

Besides, regular maintenance and cleaning will also reduce the amount of pollutants released into your workplace air from materials, including those carried through the air-conditioning HVAC system. 

Initial InspireAir 72

2. Improve indoor air quality with Air Purification system

When air in a room has an undesirable level of pollutants, it can be purified through specialised filters. Modern office buildings have HVAC systems but they may not reduce pollutants to levels that ensure the wellbeing of the people working in them. Studies show that 2 out of 3 problems related to indoor air quality are caused by an HVAC system and that 1 in 6 allergies are caused by fungi and bacteria in ventilation systems.

Initial InspireAir 72- Portable devices that purify and sanitise air of a space up to 72m2 by eliminating the 95% of air pollutants can be placed in your rooms to improve the air quality. Such devices can have multilayer filters that remove particulates down to 0.3 microns which include bacteria, pollen and some viruses. It starts cleaning the air immediately and can give a constant reading of the quality of the air in their vicinity. 

With good air quality, it helps to protect you and your employees from harmful airborne diseases while increasing productivity and performance at work. Be sure not to miss out the attractive deal for InspireAir 72. Head on to Initial Hygiene Malaysia now to find out more.


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