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1687d Role of occupational health services in the assessment and management of indoor air quality problems
  1. Paolo Carrer
  1. Dpt. of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy


The indoor air quality (IAQ) and its impact on health comfort, and work-performance is an issue of increasing concern in office workers. The role of the occupational health services in the assessment and management of IAQ problems has been discussed by experts of the Scientific Committee on Indoor Air Quality and Health of the ICOH and the following has been proposed.

  • Collaboration in risk assessment – risk management. Information meeting and Inspection by walk–through of the workplaces. Questionnaire survey (see below) and assessment thereof. Collaboration at the technical building assessment, definition of the IAQ measurement protocol if required, and evaluation of the results. Evaluation of the combined results and definition of the risk management activities.

  • Questionnaire survey. The questionnaire should cover questions about the indoor climate, symptoms and psychosocial working aspects. The results can be used for mapping the perceived IAQ and to prioritise the order in which the problems should be tackled.

  • Health surveillance. Individual health surveillance in relation to IAQ is proposed only when periodical health surveillance is already performed for other risks or when specific clinical examination of workers is required due to the occurrence of diseases that may be linked to IAQ (e.g. Legionnaire’s disease), recurrent inflammation, infections of eyes, respiratory airways effects, and sensorial disturbances.

  • Health promotion. Workplace health promotion programs should include smoking cessation and stress management; programmes for a better IAQ management may also be considered.

A team approach with cooperation between medical and technical experts is recommended in the assessment and management of IAQ problems. Further, synergies with other risk factors, e.g. psychosocial stress may potentially also be important and need to be evaluated.

  • Office buildings
  • Occupational health services
  • Indoor air

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