IAQ in Open Plan Offices

Thursday 27 March, 2014

The risk of airborne microbials, exacerbated by poor ventilation and open plan office design, should be considered coming into the cold and flu season.

As this recent news article from the Sydney Morning Herald indicates a report published in the Medical Journal of Australia outlined , “a 34-year-old male chief of staff in the large open plan office was diagnosed with tuberculosis."

The Victorian Department of Health was notified and screened the man's family, friends and 89 of his work colleagues. A quarter of the man's co-workers tested positive for tuberculosis, and when those who had previous exposure to the disease had been discounted, 10 per cent tested positive. Of these, two had used the same desk as the chief of staff.

Health workers concluded ''workplace transmission had occurred in this group'', and suggested the design of the office was partly to blame for the spread of the disease.

The study highlights the importance of workplace Indoor Air Quality and the need for facilities managers to regularly monitor and manage the indoor conditions to best protect the health, wellbeing, and productivity of their occupants.

To read the full article.

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Mycometer for rapid onsite testing for microbials

Airborne microbials