Addressing Indoor Environmental Quality Problems:
Connecticut’s School Indoor Environment Resources
By: Kenny Foscue & Joan Simpson, Connecticut Department of
The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for
Schools (TfS) Program was developed by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce exposures to
indoor environmental contaminants in schools through the
voluntary adoption of sound indoor air quality management
practices. The IAQ Tools for Schools Program is a
comprehensive resource to help schools maintain a healthy
environment in school buildings by identifying, correcting,
and preventing IAQ problems. Poor indoor air quality can
impact the comfort and health of students and staff, which,
in turn, can affect concentration, attendance, and student
performance. In addition, if schools fail to respond
promptly to poor IAQ, students and staff are at an increased
risk of short-term health problems, such as fatigue and
nausea, as well as long-term problems like asthma. In
Connecticut, a consortium of 23 agencies and organizations
has formed the Connecticut School Indoor Environment
Resource Team (CSIERT). The CT DOL Conn-OSHA program is a
member agency of CSIERT. This group assists schools with the
implementation of the TfS program throughout the state. For
more information about CSIERT and its members, go to:
Since 2000, TfS has been implemented in
hundreds of schools across the state. School districts that
have implemented TfS find that there are common elements to
successfully implementing the program:
Organizing a team with a committed group of
individuals dedicated to ensuring good IAQ and with
clear support from senior management.
Assessing current IAQ conditions and issues.
Creating a Plan outlining a strategic approach to
iden-tifying, resolving, and preventing IAQ problems.
Actions to improve IAQ in the school that lead to
increased student and staff health and productivity.
Evaluating the IAQ management program by tracking
and assessing results.
Communicating the intent, results, and next steps of
the IAQ management Program.
Program provides materials and guidance at no cost to help
schools implement and maintain an indoor air quality
management program. In addition to the IAQ TfS Action Kit,
specialized fact sheets, brochures, and software programs
are available to provide in-depth information on
Connecticut, CSIERT provides a two part, five hour TfS
implementation training to the TfS team members in school
districts. Each school within a school district forms a five
member team that consists of a teacher, nurse,
administrator, custodian, and parent. The trainings are done
free of charge by trained environmental health professionals
The first training includes basic IAQ information and the
importance of good IAQ for schools as well the steps for
successful implementation. Each school team completes
checklists and compiles the data. At the second training the
team learns how to conduct a building IAQ walkthrough. The
teams then conduct a walkthrough at their school and combine
this data with the checklist data to identify problem areas.
A report is produced that provides recommendations and
establishes priorities for the school administration and
board of education. The next step is to act on the
recommendations. The TfS program emphasizes low or no cost
solutions to indoor air issues. Many small changes can often
make a big difference in air quality. CSIERT also provides a
refresher workshop to assist school districts in maintaining
their program. This is a 2 hour workshop for TfS teams that
have a combination of experienced and new members, and need
to update their knowledge and skills.
Techs: Several CSIERT member agencies – the Connecticut
Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Technical High
School System, the State Vocational Federation of Teachers /
American Federation of Teachers and the UCONN Health Center
launched a program based on TfS: “Tools for Techs.” The
program addresses the unique indoor air quality issues found
in Technical High Schools relating to the many trades areas
in the schools. For more information, see:
Successful TfS programs have seen marked reductions in the
number of visits to the school nurse, a decrease in school
absenteeism (students and staff), and improved health
outcomes. The program also helps to open the lines of
communication between staff, teachers, administrators and
parents. More information about TfS can be found on the web
or the CT Department of Public Health Healthy School
To find out
more about Connecticut’s Tools for Schools program or
arrange for a training workshop, contact the Connecticut
Department of Public Health at 860-509-7740 or
|Reminder … The Hazard
Communication standard has been revised. Do you
still need to train your employees? December 1, 2013
is the training deadline.
Tools For Office Buildings
Tools for Office Buildings is a program aimed
at improving the quality of the indoor environment in office
buildings by conducting a comprehensive building assessment.
It is modeled after the successful Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) Tools for Schools Program. This is a
practical, easy to do program.
Poor indoor air can contribute to multiple
health problems that can result in lower productivity. Many
of the contributing factors to poor indoor air in the office
can be prevented before they begin by having a good
maintenance program that identifies physical plant problems
early, addresses them appropriately in an expeditious manner
and engages the employees of the building as partners in
maintaining space that is conducive to good housekeeping.
Tools for Office Buildings is a proactive, preventive,
team-based program that looks for low cost/no cost solutions
to indoor environment problems.
The Tools for Office Buildings Program will
put procedures in place to maintain a healthy working
environment that complement the existing maintenance
procedures. The program emphasizes that maintaining a good
indoor environment in the office is a shared responsibility
between the occupants and the building management. It
stresses the importance of communication and educates the
building occupants on factors that can affect the office
environment and how they can play a role in improving the
workplace. This raises awareness of indoor environmental
issues and leads to a positive partnership among the
occupants of the office building. A successful program has
the strong support of the office and building management.
To get a program started, call the
Connecticut Department of Public Health Environmental and
Occupational Health Assessment Program at 860-5099-7740 to
arrange for a presentation to the building
management/administration. Once the program is outlined and
support is received, a date for the first training can be
For additional information, contact Joan
Simpson at the Connecticut Department of Public Health
Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program:
Winter Reminders ...
As the snow and ice of winter approach, it is
important to review safe winter work habits with your
employees and your families. The time spent in preparation
will insure that equip-ment is available and in good repair.
Depending on your situation some suggestions include:
up on items such as sand, salt, and shovels. Stores
often run out of these items during large storms.
vehicle maintenance including checking batteries,
windshield wipers, and cooling systems.
that fleet vehicles are equipped with items typically
needed in winter like ice scrapers and emergency
supplies like food, water, and blankets.
equipment such as snow blowers and plows are in good
safe winter driving techniques with all of your
employees; not just your fleet drivers.
employees of the signs and symptoms of exposure to cold
temperatures to avoid hy-perthermia and other cold
mentioned address some basic preparation techniques. For
additional information, OSHA has created a webpage to
provide worker and employer guidance during winter weather.
Visit it at
the Quarterly electronically, contact
firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line
type “subscribe” and provide your e-mail address.
You may also reach us by phone at (860) 263-6900 or visit
our website at
Department of Labor - OSHA
38 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
CONN-OSHA Breakfast Roundtable Discussion Group has its own
After 10 years the Breakfast Roundtable is
For those not familiar with the CONN-OSHA
Breakfast Roundtable Discussion Group, on the third Tuesday
of every month, CONN-OSHA offers Breakfast Roundtable
Meetings that cover subjects ranging from evacuation plans
and fire extinguishers to air quality and ergonomics. The
intent of these free 90-minute workshops is to discuss
safety and health issues in a supportive and informal
environment. The roundtable meetings are held from 8:15 am
to 9:45 on the third Tuesday of the month at the Connecticut
Department of Labor, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard,
Wethersfield, CT 06109, in Conference Room A.
Pre-registration is required.
Beginning with the monthly meeting notice
dated November 19, 2013, notices will now be sent out during
the first week of each month. The notice will include the
subject of the month, a Draft Agenda and information on the
numerous non-CONN-OSHA sponsored Low/No-Cost
Training/Educational Opportunities that are being offered
around the region. These opportunities will be accessed
In the past, if you could not attend the
roundtable in person, the information on the Low/No-Cost
Training/Educational opportunities was lost to you. Now,
this information can be found under the News and Notices
tab. In addition, we are now able to provide access to the
archives of the Breakfast Roundtable meetings back to
January 2013. Go to
access the Roundtable’s Home Page and for the current notice
(November 19, 2013). To be placed on the e-mail distribution
list, contact John Able at
Another exciting feature of the CONN-OSHA Web
Page is we now own the rights to the domains “.COM, .NET and
.ORG”. Now, to get to our home page, simple type CONN-OSHA
into any search engine and CONN-OSHA should be the top hit!
Visit often, and check out the new Globally Harmonized
System Web Page
Young Workers … You have Rights
In 2011, 331 teenagers were killed in
workplace accidents. This is seven percent of the total
workplace deaths of 4,693. Additionally, there is a teenage
non-fatal injury every nine minutes.
In response to these frightening statistics,
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) has developed a teen safety and health
web page to raise awareness among workers and employers. In
addition, the State of Connecticut reaches out to working
teens in a variety of ways, one of which is the Connecticut
Young Worker Health & Safety Team (The Team).
Since 1998, The Team has spread the safety
and health message to teens, employers and parents. They are
a nationally recognized group of professionals dedicated to
promoting and protecting the health, welfare, and safety of
our young workers as they enter the working world. They are
currently working with the State Department of Education on
integrating a curriculum into classroom lessons to promote
workplace health and safety for teens and to prepare them
for workplace learning experiences such as internships and
apprenticeships as well as summer jobs and, eventually,
For additional information visit The Team’s
new web site
or OSHA’s teen worker safety web page
Fatality & Casualty Reporting
State & Town: CONN-OSHA (860) 263-6946
(local) or 1-866-241-4060 (toll-free) Private Employers:
Report to Federal OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA(6742)
Hazard Corner ... Suffocated in a Grain
In 2012, nineteen workers under 16 years of
age died from fatal work injuries. Fourteen of these young
decedents were em-ployed as agricultural workers.
Two young workers (ages 14 and 19) were
killed at a grain storage facility in the Midwest when they
were sent into a grain bin to “walk down the corn.” The
grain bin was being emptied, and the workers’ task was to
break up clumps by walking on them to make the corn flow out
of the bin. The workers were not provided safety harnesses,
and the machinery used for evacuating the grain was running.
The suction created by the flowing grain pulled them in like
quicksand and suffocated them.
Safe practices at grain storage facilities
Turn off, disconnect, and lock out all
powered equipment associated with the bin.
Provide each worker entering a bin with a
body harness. The body harness should prevent a worker
from sinking further than waist-deep in grain.
Equip an observer to provide assistance
and position him or her out-side the bin or silo to
maintain communication with employees.
For the full
developed a webpage to provide workers, employers, and
safety and health professionals useful, up-to-date safety
and health information on grain handling facilities. For
further information on grain handling, visit
Connecticut-OSHA - Training Update ...
Powered Industrial Trucks November 21,
2013 from 10:00 a.m. to noon -
This workshop includes the basic
requirements of the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178 Powered
Industrial Truck Standard which affects both General
Industry and Construction material handling operations.
GHS Hazard Communication December 2,
2013 from 10:00 a.m. to noon -
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)
is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The
major changes of 29 CFR 1910.1200 are hazard
classification, pictograms and safety data sheets.
Construction Site Safety December 11,
2013 from 9:00 a.m. to noon -
Construction managers, first line supervisors, and con-struction
employees will be provided with an overview of four
areas of concern on the construction site. Program
contents include: fall protection, scaffolding and
ladder safety, electrical hazards, and excavation &
OSHA Recordkeeping December 12, 2013
from 9:00 a.m. to noon - At
this workshop, you will learn how to fill out the OSHA
300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
The Control of Hazardous Energy
(Lockout/tagout) February 5, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to
noon - This two-hour course
will help to satisfy the requirements for training as
detailed in the OSHA regulation for those who are
working in areas where Lockout programs are in place, or
whose job requires them to actually perform the Lockout
and isolation of the energy sources.
Roundtable - This discussion group
meets the third Tuesday of every month from 8:15 am to 9:45
am. Pre-registration is required. Visit our web page for
more information: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/DOLWORK/NewsNotes/2013/Roundtable.htm
To be placed on the e-mail distribution list, contact John
Able at email@example.com
free and held at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT
in Conference Room A/B. To register, contact John Able at
or Catherine Zinsser at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Pre-registration is
required. A Photo I.D. is required to allow entry into a
public building. For more training information, visit the
CONN-OSHA web site