January 6, 2017 – Hamilton, ON – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Did you know that the quality of air that individuals breathe at work can affect their health, comfort and productivity? The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) has collaborated with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) to develop a mobile app to help individuals find solutions to indoor air quality problems in their workplace.
The app, AirAssess – Improve Indoor Air Quality at Work, provides users with a questionnaire that answers simple questions about their current work conditions such as workplace stress levels, allergies, and environment factors. The answers to these questions provide key information to help uncover issues which may be related to the air quality in the workplace. Once the questionnaire is answered, the app will look for links and provide users with ideas to help their workplace take action on the possible air quality issues.
Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) is a pro-active team of health professionals committed to promoting the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being for workers and their communities. OHCOW strives to accomplish this through the identification of workplace factors which are detrimental to the health and well-being of all workers, through the distribution of excellent occupational health, hygiene, and ergonomic information to increase knowledge among workers, employers and the general public; and through the provision of services designed to produce changes to improve workplaces and the health of workers.
- All jurisdictions in Canada include the ‘general duty clause’ which requires employers to provide a healthy and safe workplace. This includes the provision of healthy indoor air. In addition, indoor air quality is implied in most building codes as design and operation criteria.
- Indoor air quality has become an important health and safety concern. Common issues associated with IAQ include: improper or inadequately maintained heating and ventilation systems; contamination by construction materials, glues, fibreglass, particle boards, paints, chemicals, etc.; increase in number of building occupants and time spent indoors.
- Symptoms that are often linked to poor indoor air quality may include dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, hypersensitivity and allergies, sinus congestion, coughing and sneezing, dizziness, and nausea. People generally notice their symptoms after several hours at work and feel better after they have left the building or when they have been away from the building for a weekend or a vacation.
“OHCOW has been successfully using an Indoor Climate survey since 1993 in over 120 buildings. Now, as a result of our valuable partnership with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), we are very pleased to be launching an app version of this validated survey. Once again, we are putting health and safety in the hands of workers. Assess your air, share the results, brainstorm solutions – and breathe easier!” said Valerie Wolfe, Executive Director, South Central Region, at the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW).
“CCOHS has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with OHCOW and it is always exciting when our shared goals and collaborations produce something that can truly make a positive impact on the health and safety of workers. The app is one such example.” said Gareth Jones, CCOHS President and Chief Executive Officer.