If you are in charge of managing a facility or running a business that uses an industrial facility, your two biggest goals at all times should be making sure that things are running efficiently as well as safely. Part of this is making sure that you have a set list of safety guidelines imprinted in the minds of all your employees, especially if they are handling any sort of hazardous materials. Equally important is making sure that you take the time to have set procedures in place, in case something goes wrong. Ideally, the quicker you can act, the better for everyone. Here are some indicators that an odor in your facility may be a sign of a bigger problem.

As a start, it’s important to understand a few basic mechanics of smell. Smell as we know it happens when molecules from a certain substance travel into the nose. When these molecules come in contact with a certain tissue, the nerve cells there send a signal to the brain so we can react accordingly, whether it’s something good, something bad, or something we’re not sure of. Technically, an odor can’t harm you, as a result. However, when you do smell something from a gaseous compound, it means those molecules are coming into your body, and this can mean harm.

As a result of this, the moment that you see anyone in your facility complaining about issues like shortness of breath, eye irritation, or headaches, it’s best to go into your protocol for detecting the odor and figuring out the root cause, whether it is a spill, leak, or another incident. Note that in other cases, though, odors in your facility may be an indicator of other problems, even if they don’t cause direct harm. For example, the metric of indoor air quality is impacted by a number of issues, from humidity to ventilation to mold. We place special emphasis on mold because it has a distinctive smell of its own. So, if you detect this, you may not need to act in the same way that you would with a hazardous chemical, but you do need to have some sort of plan in mind.

Ultimately, when it comes to odors in your facility, it’s important to mention that no matter how much time you invest in putting together a strong workflow for handling these issues or other potential problems as they arise, you are only as effective as your diagnostic equipment. Remember, in some cases, certain chemicals may have odors that smell like something harmless or no odor at all. In other cases, even potentially exposing yourself to the odor to figure out what it is, could be putting you in potential danger.

This is why it’s important for business owners and facility managers to combine their efforts with odor-detecting equipment that is able to catch issues quickly, as well as give your staff time to act accordingly. This means technology that is both advanced and reliable. Chemtech International is the perfect match—a family-run business with 30 years of experience helping companies around the world with environmental compliance.