Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

The following guidelines apply to indoor or enclosed areas when occupied by workers except when clearly impracticable, such as during some construction or renovation projects.   These projects will be assessed by Risk Management Services on an individual basis.

Individuals with immediate issues related to the functioning of building systems (i.e. too hot today, suspect ventilation has been turned off or broken down) should contact Facilities Management.  In order to ensure that building ventilation systems can function optimally, every occupant is encouraged to keep windows closed at all times. Keep laboratory doors closed as well.

Occupants concerned with the quality of indoor air can complete an IEQ Concern Report. Completed concern reports can be submitted to Risk Management Services at riskmanagement.ok@ubc.ca for review.

The form will initiate investigation by Risk Management Services once received.

Indoor Environmental Quality is everyone’s responsibility.  For more information on how to take control of the air you breathe take a moment to read our Indoor Environmental Quality Brochure.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Guidelines

Temperature

Strive to maintain temperatures between 20 – 24 degrees Celsius in the winter and 23 – 27 degrees Celsius in the summer. These values apply to occupants wearing typical seasonal clothing while doing light, mostly sedentary work. These values are based on ASHRAE Standard 55 – 1992.

Humidity

Approximately 30% relative humidly is appropriate based on the temperature ranges stated above. Although UBC O buildings do not have the capability of controlling moisture concentrations humidity will be measured and considered during an indoor air quality investigation if necessary (i.e. lower temperatures may allow for higher levels of humidity).

Carbon Dioxide

Strive to maintain carbon dioxide levels below 1,000 ppm. Levels that are 650 ppm above ambient outdoor levels (which are normally around 350 ppm) may be an indicator of inadequate fresh air supply and will be investigated as per section 4.79 of the Regulation.

Carbon Monoxide

Strive to maintain carbon monoxide levels below 5 ppm. Concentrations above 5 ppm indicate the presence of combustion products and must be investigated.

Outdoor Air

An adequate supply of outdoor air must be provided to the workplace in accordance with Table 2 or ASHRAE Standard 62-1989, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. As a general guideline, many workspaces will require between 15 and 20 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outdoor air per person.

Air Distribution

Outdoor air must be effectively distributed throughout the workplace. The ventilation system must be balanced to ensure that each space within the building receives an adequate amount of outdoor air and to accommodate the normal occupancy of each space.

Noise

Exposure will be kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Occupants will not be exposed to noise levels above 85 dBA Lex daily noise exposure level or 140 dBC peak sound level.

Vibration

The employer will ensure to the extent practicable that workers are not exposed to vibration in excess of limits specified in the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists publication entitled Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices,dated 2003, for hand-arm vibration; and ANSI Standard S3.18-2002/ISO 2631-1-1997, Mechanical Vibration and Shock – Evaluation of Human Exposure to Whole Body Vibration – Part 1: General Requirements, for whole-body vibration. Except as otherwise determined by the board.

Lighting

Lighting must comply with WorkSafeBC minimum requirements for illumination to ensure safe working conditions, safe passage, and identification of hazards or obstructions.

References:

  1. Health Canada (1995), Indoor Air Quality in Office Buildings: A Technical Guide.
  2. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Standard 55-1992.
  3. Workers’ Compensation Board of B.C., 2005, Indoor Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners, Managers, and Occupants
  4. Workers’ Compensation Board Regulation, Part 7.2, Noise Exposure Limits
  5. Workers’ Compensation Board Regulation, Part 7.11, Vibration Exposure Limits