Resolving Indoor Air Quality Problems Through Occupant Participation

Presented by: Scott Lawson, The Lawson Group, Concord, NY

In the last two decades, we have designed a less technical, occupant based model for solving indoor air quality issues that we have found to be very successful, less expensive, in many cases, than expensive and extensive testing and one that generally leaves occupants happy with the resolution of the problem instead of baffled, confused and, in may cases, angry.

The content of this presentation is based on indoor air quality investigations where we have applied the process of interviewing building occupants, sharing the results of those interviews with them, conducting testing/monitoring based on information obtained through those interviews and then sharing that monitoring data with them when finished.

We describe this process to the occupants as a race with a moving finish line and have had inordinate success at being able to isolate problems and solve them. We do not solve them in the “conventional sense” of making them go away but we find that by interviewing a significant number of building occupants and then focusing our testing efforts on what they tell us through the interview process that we are able to isolate the individuals who actually have real symptoms or issues that may or may not be the result of the building and those that do not have those symptoms but agree with the ones that do.

The end result is to determine issues with the building that are either health or comfort related and they may not be what everyone in the building thinks they are or is complaining about, but through the unusual process of involving the occupants in the journey to a solution we have found that they usually become willing participants in the process and the results are more effective than the typical “let’s test the building” model which is often times expensive, does not solve the problem and results in making the problem worse as the occupants feel that their concerns are not being heard and in many cases that is what led to the problems in the first place.

About Scott Lawson

Mr. Lawson is the Founder and President of The Lawson Group (formally The Scott Lawson Group, Ltd.) a consulting firm specializing in Occupational Health and Safety, Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance.

Mr. Lawson is a past member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the New Hampshire Safety Council, Occupational Health Committee. Since 1978, he has conducted hundreds of training sessions and seminars for the New Hampshire Safety Council and numerous other organizations both here in New Hampshire and across New England and the country.

Mr. Lawson has worked in several thousand establishments and companies ranging from manufacturing to construction and educational institutions to health care facilities with an emphasis on industrial hygiene, OSHA compliance, and worker safety and health.  The Lawson Group has conducted thousands of indoor air quality surveys, Asbestos and hazardous material surveys, industrial hygiene monitoring surveys, and a veritable plethora of various health and safety audits and surveys.

Mr. Lawson is also the founder of Comp-SIGMA Ltd. (d/b/a The Lawson Group), a third party administrator for workers’ compensation, self-insurance groups in New Hampshire.  The Lawson Group is currently the provider of workers’ comp coverage for over three hundred New Hampshire companies that employ almost 15,000 workers.

Mr. Lawson also founded Workforce Wellness (d/b/a The Lawson Group), a company that provides wellness coaching to companies of all sizes in an effort to help their workers be healthier, become more educated consumers of health care and, ultimately, reduce the cost of health insurance for their clients.

Mr. Lawson completed his undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and completed his graduate work at the University of Oklahoma where he received a Master of Science degree in Industrial Hygiene.