The National Institute of Health (NIH) describes sick building syndrome as “a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building.” While employee health is of the highest importance, not staying ahead of the negative effects of sick building syndrome can quickly move beyond health concerns. The results can also affect your bottom line through employee absences, reduced productivity, and increased operating expenses.
There are several factors that can contribute to sick building syndrome. Two primary concerns are biological (or microbial) contaminants and inadequate ventilation. These concerns have long been a contributor to any potential health or safety issue for employers, and are now being treated with even greater awareness. While there is no magic bullet, here are ways that an HVLS fan can help to overcome these two causes of sick building syndrome.
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Liquid
Air quality can deteriorate in the workplace through microbial contamination. This can consist of any combination of microbes including viruses, fungi, bacteria, mold, and other particles. These contaminants are the cause of many health issues in workers, including allergic reactions, infections, and the contraction of viruses. OSHA links the existence of these contaminants to a high humidity environment that can be caused by factors such as water damage in the building, unattended spills, and high-humidity indoor areas.
Managing moisture concerns through increased air circulation is one way to help dry liquids, as well as disperse and reduce humidity. Not only does moisture containment help avoid sick building syndrome, it also keeps employee accidents due to slips and falls to a minimum. An HVLS fan moves air consistently and at a higher velocity than traditional fans, resulting in faster floor drying times and improved overall air circulation, which leads to lower humidity levels. Using an HVLS fan to manage issues with moisture and humidity offers additional safety measures not possible with floor fans, including the removal of visible cords and the ability to operate multiple fans from a single HMI control, allowing you more granular control over run-times, fan speed, direction and more.
Let Your Building Breathe
Another important way to avoid sick building syndrome is to ensure that your building has proper ventilation. From improving air circulation and keeping harmful contaminants at bay to replacing internal air with fresh air from the outside, avoiding stale and stagnant air quality is a key element in keeping your building healthy. In fact, the NIH cites ventilation and air distribution as the number one way to maintain proper air quality, in turn reducing the chance that your employees’ health could be compromised.
Occupational Health & Safety magazine takes this a step further with a recommendation to not just install fans, but specifically an HVLS fan to encourage excellent ventilation and air quality. Because HVLS fans are able to move in some cases above 300,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM), they more than accommodate the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers' (ASHRAE) recommendation of high CFM per person levels. Giving your employees less stagnant and higher quality air will lessen the chances of acute or prolonged illness, resulting in an increase in productivity and fewer employee sick days — all of which helps to save you both time and money.
At Hunter Industrial, we understand that your employees are your greatest asset and that keeping them healthy and safe is a top priority. A Hunter HVLS fan not only helps enhance facility safety and improve comfort by increasing ventilation and overall air movement, it does so with a combined value of one of the lowest first costs to install in the industry and a virtually maintenance-free platform.