High levels of CO2 an office danger

Health of staff ‘threatened’ by office CO2

The health of staff could be threatened by high levels of carbon dioxide within the workplace, according to a recent study.

The report, produced in association with KPMG and Middlesex University, found that levels of CO2 within the office typically range from 600-800ppm (parts per million). However, results found that higher concentrations can cause headaches, eye problems, respiratory conditions and general fatigue.

Where levels reach over 1,500ppm, almost four in five respondents said they felt tired, while at levels of over 2,000ppm two thirds of participants said they had lost the ability to concentrate entirely.

KPMG’s health and well-being manager, Julie Bennett, said: “If workers are feeling lethargic, apathetic or unable to concentrate in the office, it may not be the routines and stresses of their job, it could be that the levels of CO2 around them are too high.”

With modern office building structure comprising of sealed windows, draught exclusion and lack of natural ventilation, it is no surprise that air is more likely to be recycled, KPMG said.

Modern, efficient air conditioning systems should not cause any problems, so long as they are well maintained and well designed.

“This is an issue that organisations need to take more notice of,” Bennett added, otherwise staff well-being could be affected, and reduced levels of productivity could cost the business thousands of pounds.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2007

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