Good housekeeping skills are essential for personal safety. TAMUS-HSC employees are responsible for reducing potential hazards and keeping their work areas safe and clutterfree. Good housekeeping guidelines include keeping aisles and stairways free from clutter, cleaning spills, minimizing combustibles in workplace and storage areas, and keeping all exits free from obstructions.
Maintain clear and unobstructed access to emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers, pull stations, eye wash units, showers, etc.
For more specific information on housekeeping, refer to the section in this manual that corresponds to your workplace (i.e., Laboratory Safety, Office Safety, etc.)
19. Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality refers to the condition of air within an enclosed workplace. The indoor environment of any building is based on several factors including location, climate, building design, construction techniques, building occupant load, and contaminants.
Four key elements are involved in the development of poor indoor air quality:
- Multiple contaminant sources
- Poor ventilation systems
- Pollutant pathways
- Building usage and occupant load
Outside sources for indoor air contaminants include pollen, dust, industrial pollutants, vehicle exhaust, and unsanitary debris near outdoor air intake vents. Other outdoor agents, such as underground storage tanks or landfills, may also affect indoor air quality.
Indoor contaminants are classified according to these categories:
- Combustion products (e.g., smoke)
- Volatile organic compounds (e.g., solvents and cleaning agents)
- Respiratory particulates (e.g., dust, pollen, and asbestos)
- Respiratory byproducts (e.g., carbon dioxide)
- Microbial organisms (e.g., mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria)
- Radionuclides (e.g., radon)
- Odors (e.g., perfume, smoke, mold, and mildew)
Additional examples of indoor contaminants include dust, dirt or microbial growth in ventilation systems, emissions from office equipment, and fumes or odors from any source.
TAMU-HSC follows recognized guidelines for new building ventilation systems and air quality control; however, employees are also responsible for the quality of their indoor air. Because indoor air often contains a variety of contaminants at levels far below most exposure standards, it is difficult to link specific health problems with known pollutants. Employees must minimize all contaminants to reduce the low-level pollutant mixtures that commonly cause health problems.
The following practices will help ensure optimum indoor air quality:
- Fix leaks and drips. (Moisture promotes microbial [i.e., mold and mildew] growth.)
- Clean mold and mildew growths with a bleach/water mixture to prevent regrowth.
- Ensure that indoor ventilation filters are changed regularly.
- Keep laboratory doors closed
- Minimize chemical and aerosol usage. Ventilate your area when chemical or aerosol usage is required. (These compounds include paint, cleaning agents, hairspray, perfume, etc.)
- Do not block air ducts to control the temperature in your office.
- Avoid smoking or cooking in enclosed areas. (Smoking is strictly prohibited within University facilities and vehicles.)
- If possible, open windows when it is cool and dry outside.