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  1. #1

    When does office temperature and or ventillation become an OH&S issue?

    The title says it all really

    I work in a building where what was originally a large open plan area has been divided up into many separate offices. As is often the case when this happens, little thought is given to air conditioning routing and balancing. As a consequence some of the offices get very hot and stuffy.

    In the recent run of hot weather in Melbourne my office was so hot I was sweating while just sitting at my desk and the air flow was so poor it was really hard to concentrate and stay awake!

    Is there any legislation around this?

  2. #2
    Sally

    I would recommend you read the Victorian Compliance Code for Workplace Amenities and Environment. You can find an electronic copy on WorkSafe Victoria's website, in their forms and publications area.

    Locate the most recent version of the risk assessment performed in your workplace that assessed the amenities and environment. Check that the assessment included the effects to the workplace across the 4 seasons (summer, winter etc). Check out who completed the assessment, when it was done, what actions were raised, who was invited, when it was done, etc. If the problem has been ongoing there may be an incident report or the issue raised in committee meetings. You will need to dig around and may need to speak with many people.

    People worth talking to, including getting help from include:

    * Discuss your concerns with your manager.
    * Speak with your fellow colleagues, understand how widespread the concerns or issues are.
    * Speak with your health and safety representatives.
    * Raise with your employers Health and Safety Team.
    * Talk to the facility managers of the building.
    * Committee and/or project team responsible for modification of the work environment.

    After any change to a work environment, planning should have identified what risk assessments would need to have been reviewed, and then done. But this is post and therefore a bit late. There should be design studies and consultation records done in the early stages of the project. You should expect that consultation included a health and safety professional and representatives, and employees.

    The above information will vary pending on company size and structure. Check our what your company practices or policies are, especially when it comes to change or modification.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Brisbane, QLD
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Sally M View Post
    The title says it all really

    I work in a building where what was originally a large open plan area has been divided up into many separate offices. As is often the case when this happens, little thought is given to air conditioning routing and balancing. As a consequence some of the offices get very hot and stuffy.

    In the recent run of hot weather in Melbourne my office was so hot I was sweating while just sitting at my desk and the air flow was so poor it was really hard to concentrate and stay awake!

    Is there any legislation around this?
    Hi Sally

    Here are 2 links you might find helpful to assist in dealing with this matter, in a simple answer yes, there are requirements the employer must address.

    http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/safet...-to-comply/fix

    http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__dat...sers_guide.pdf

    Stay safe,

    Brian

  4. #4
    A HVAC engineer should be consulted to get the system designed properly. The basic bible comes from ASHRAE on indoor air quality and the ACGIH (Industrial Hygienists) have heat stress data in the TLV Booklet. To make a long story short, Relative Humidity should be around 30%, with the thermostats set for 20 Winter (minimum), and 26 Summer (maximum) for energy conservation and worker comfort. There are is also a requirement for AC/HR (air-changes per hour) of fresh air into a work space. (You will need to contact an Industrial Hygienist or HVAC professional for the measurements of air flow (using a velometer) and calculate room volumes for each ducted space to assure each meets design criteria. Large central systems usually have between 30-50% recirculated air for energy efficiency. (The fresh air intake damper should never be fully closed.) The last requirement is the use of air deflector grills (baffles) so air is evenly dispersed and air flow is not jetted on someone... no one likes to have air blown on them at high velocity like a fan does.

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