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Building Ventilation in the Workplace during Cold Weather and Improving Indoor Air Quality

EMSL Analytical offers air quality testing services, sampling supplies and real-time monitoring instruments to optimize indoor conditions and identify microbial and chemical contaminants.

Cinnaminson, New Jersey – WEBWIRE

Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an OSHA Alert on improving workplace ventilation during cold weather. It shares the agency’s concern that indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace this time of year is especially critical while influenza, cold, and COVID-19 viruses are circulating.

Improving ventilation is a key engineering control that can be used to increase the delivery of clean air and remove or reduce the concentration of viral particles or other contaminants reports OSHA. Key steps to improve ventilation according to the agency include:

  • Inspecting air intake and exhaust ports to ensure they are clean and free of ice or snow.
  • Replacing filters as necessary to ensure the proper function of the HVAC system.
  • Having an HVAC professional conduct all regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance.
  • Adding portable air cleaners with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in spaces with high occupancy or limited ventilation.

OSHA also reports that maintaining a healthy HVAC system requires an HVAC professional to:

  • Ensure all HVAC systems are operating in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and design specifications.
  • Maximize the amount of outdoor air supplied consistent with the heating capacity of the HVAC system. Rebalance or adjust HVAC systems to increase total airflow to occupied spaces.
  • Install air filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) 13 (or equivalent) or higher where feasible. If MERV-13 filters are not compatible with the HVAC system, use filters with the highest compatible filtering efficiency for the HVAC system.
  • Clean HVAC system drain pans, heating and cooling coils, and supply/return registers to eliminate areas where contaminants can settle.

“To provide a healthy indoor environment for workers and other building occupants, it’s important to know what people are breathing,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “In addition to the potential to be exposed to microbial pathogens and elevated carbon dioxide levels due to ventilation issues, other indoor pollutants can also sometimes accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort issues. These pollutants include mold, bacteria, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon, various allergens, particulate matter, and other exposure concerns.”

To help facility managers maximize indoor environmental conditions, EMSL’s testing laboratories offer a comprehensive range of air quality testing services, sampling supplies and monitoring instruments. They also recently sponsored and educational video sharing OSHA’s recommendations for improving workplace ventilation during cold weather that can be seen at:

To learn more about indoor air quality or other environmental, health and safety testing services and supplies, please visit, email or call (800) 220-3675. To access indoor environmental quality (IEQ) test kits, visit

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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