Indoor Air Quality Infographic

Conducting an IAQ investigation

Treat IAQ concerns seriously and promptly.
Collect health complaint data using a questionnaire specific for your workplace. You may need assistance from an expert.
Look for patterns.
Meet affected people to clarify your findings.
Check the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with the building operator/engineer.

Sources – Indoor air contaminants

Building occupants - Carbon dioxide, tobacco smoke, perfume, body odours
Building materials - Dust, fibreglass, asbestos, gases
Carpets, fabric, foam chair cushions – Dust mites
Off-gas emissions furniture, carpets, paints, workplace cleaners, solvents, pesticides, disinfectants and glues – Gases, vapours, volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Damp areas, stagnant water and condensate pans - Microbial contaminants, fungi, moulds, bacteria
Photocopiers, electric motors, electrostatic air cleaners – Ozone


Dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
Shortness of breath
Hypersensitivity and allergies
Sinus congestion
Coughing and sneezing

People generally notice their symptoms after several hours at work and feel better after they have been away from the building.

IAQ issues – Common Causes

Lack of outdoor air for HVAC system
Poorly designed or maintained HVAC system
Pollutants from the outdoor air
Emissions from inside sources
Poor temperature and humidity control

What the law says

All jurisdictions 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, IAQ is implied in most building codes as design and operation criteria.

Take a preventative approach to IAQ

Provide an adequate volume of outdoor air
Ensure that air is properly distributed
Prevent outdoor pollutants from entering the building
Provide separate ventilation for special-use areas
Promote the use of unscented products
Choose building materials, paints and furniture with low emissions
Discourage mould growth
Follow standards and best practices for your building’s ventilation, thermal comfort, and pollutant control