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Occupational and Environmental Safety

Indoor Air Quality


Clemson University is committed to providing a work environment that is free of recognized hazards. Good Indoor air quality (IAQ) describes the indoor air environment that protects the health and addresses the comfort of building occupants. CU Facilities is responsible for maintaining and operating each CU building in the condition which they are designed to operate that provides for adequate indoor air quality and occupant comfort within the operating building parameters, keeping in mind that each building has a different system and parameters.

General IAQ Guidelines

  • Proper ventilation is in accordance with the current guidelines established in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Comfort factors (i.e., temperature, humidity, air movement) in a range that is acceptable to most occupants, such as published in ASHRAE
  • Mechanical equipment and building surfaces are maintained in sanitary condition.
  • Significant emission sources, such as machinery and equipment, or outside sources are separated from occupied spaces and air intakes.
  • Major sources of chemical or biological contamination are promptly identified and controlled.
  • Occupied areas are regularly cleaned, and good housekeeping practices are in place.
  • Operations, maintenance, and construction activities are performed in a manner that minimizes occupant exposure to airborne contaminants.

Poor IAQ is a problem when the air contains dust and objectionable odors, chemical contaminants, dampness, or mold which could be related to the physical characteristics of the air: the amount of air movement, the temperature, and humidity. Clemson University is committed to the investigation of complaints that may be related to poor IAQ. All IAQ investigations are conducted and reviewed under the direct supervision of a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). An IAQ investigation is like detective work - defining the problem, looking for clues, and finding a solution through a process of narrowing the possible causes, and developing an action plan. 

Though specific regulations have not been developed for IAQ in the workplace, Occupational and Environmental Safety Department (OES) considers recommendations for investigations from the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), ASHRAE, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). when addressing IAQ concerns.

IAQ Training and Education


How to Minimize IAQ Problems

  1. IAQ problems can be minimized in CU buildings by occupants doing the following:
    • Do not block or shut vents or building returns.
    • Do not block thermostats with furniture or equipment.
    • Dispose of food waste and containers in receptacles that are emptied daily.
    • Do not over water plants and do not allow mold growth to occur in the dirt.
    • Clean up water or other liquid or food-based spills IMMEDIATELY.
    • Report water intrusion and sewage problems IMMEDIATELY to Facilities.
    • Avoid concentrating electronic office equipment within small, unventilated areas including 3D printers. Note 3D printers should be evaluated by OES for placement and type of materials being used.
    • Do not burn candles or have other scent-producing materials.
  2. For more information on preventing IAQ issues see the OES Fact Sheets (In General above).
  3. Learn the 3 IAQ C's...
    • 1 st “C” is CLEANING:  Because microbial growth thrives in wet or humid conditions, cleanliness in the office spaces and common areas can assist in improving air quality and promoting a healthy and comfortable living environment free of odors, mold, pests, and insects.
    • 2 nd “C” is CLIMATE:  Controlling room climate is essential to the success of managing indoor air quality and comfort.  Follow facilities recommendations for your space.During the summer months:
    • Do not adjust thermostats below 72 degrees.
    • Refrain from opening windows and insure they are closed and sealed.
      • DO NOT turn the fan off in your unit but run fan at the lowest speed possible.
      • DO NOT prop open exterior doors.
      • Floor mounted fan coil units draw air in the bottom and discharge from the top so please insure nothing impedes this path
    • 3 rd “C” is COMMUNICATION:  Communication of any leaks or water intrusion to Facilities is required immediately, as it only takes 24-48 hours for mold or mildew growth.  Communicate ventilation issues to facilities as soon as possible when a problem is found.

Reporting IAQ Problems

Reporting an Indoor Air Quality Problem

  1. For temperature, odor or smell complaints, suspected water leaks or visible mold:
    1. The occupant reports their concern to Facilities through the work order system.
    2. Facilities will investigate and determine the source and make any necessary repairs.
    3. Facilities will refer the complaint to Occupational and Environmental Safety (OES) or 864-656-if they cannot remedy the problem. Contact with the complainant will be within 24 hours of notification of a complaint.
    4. OES will interview affected building occupants to obtain more information and may request photos to be send. On rare occasions, if deemed necessary, OES will conduct a building survey
    5. OES will initiate an appropriate review based on established standards for Indoor Environmental Quality.
    6. The occupant may be requested to complete an IAQ log (XLSX)  to track odors, or conditions to better assist in the investigation.
    7. Appropriate personnel such as the department chair or supervisor and the Building Security Coordinator will be contacted and informed of the concern and review.
    8. The occupant(s) may be asked to complete a request for IAQ investigation and an Occupant Survey and submit the request form to
    9. Use the Indoor Air Quality and Request Form (DOCX) if needed.
  2. For IAQ complaints with no visible odors, leaks, or mold:
    1. The occupant will complete a request for IAQ investigation and submit the request form (XLSX) to .
    2. OES will contact the occupant within 24 hours of receipt of the request.
    3. OES will interview building occupants and consult with the Building Security Coordinator and Facilities to determine a potential cause of the complaint. If necessary, OES will conduct a building survey
    4. The occupant may be requested to complete an IAQ log (XLSX) to track odors, or conditions to better assist in the investigation.
    5. OES will contact Facilities when necessary if issues with the HVAC or other building systems are identified during the investigation.

These steps work to assist in determining an appropriate remediation strategy.


  1. Water intrusion events - IMMEDIATELY report leaks or other water intrusion to Facilities. Include, to the extent known, the following information:
    1. source and approximate quantity of water,
    2. affected areas,
    3. water-damaged materials, and
    4. whether the source has been controlled.
Note that even clean water left for more than 24-48 hours can lead to mold and mildew growth.  
  1. Sewage backflows - IMMEDIATELY report sewage backflows to Facilities.
Events involving sewage backflows are very serious. Report the problem IMMEDIATELY to
The Facilities and Custodial Services and do not attempt to clean or remove affected materials.  Facilities and Custodial Services will manage the response.

OES is notified by Facilities of water intrusion incidents that have occurred and which have impacted building materials and provides information that the situation has been repaired and wet materials dried or removed.

Who to Contact:

  • Emergency for natural gas leak call 911! Sewer and other odors should be reported IMMEDIATELY to Facilities or to CUPD at (after hours or on weekends.
  • Non-emergency IAQ complaints can be reported to Facilities (PDF).