Why your company benefits from good indoor air quality
Are you aware that the indoor air quality at industrial sites is often worse than the quality of the air outside? Far more attention is typically paid to reducing pollutants in outdoor air however, indoor air needs to be an important consideration too. Poor indoor air quality can have a detrimental effect on your business: employees can suffer from health complaints such as black nose syndrome and breathing problems, and the condition of your equipment can decline rapidly. This will effectively result in reduced productivity and a loss of profit.
Indoor versus outdoor air quality
Airborne particles are the biggest cause of poor indoor air quality. While the WHO has some guidelines on indoor air quality, legislation is behind [read more here] and companies aren’t legally obliged to address the issue.
To find out just serious the problem is, Zehnder studied the levels of particle matter within the air at 100 warehouses and logisitics centres across Europe and the results were shocking. At 82% of the locations, the indoor air exceeded the outdoor air pollutant particle limit of 50μg/m³, with levels far beyond 150μg/m³ measured in a quarter of the companies. This means that the quality of air in these workplaces was the same as a busy street in a city with dangerously high outdoor air pollution.
Research by the Insitute for Health Metrics and Evaluation states that 5.5 million people worldwide are dying prematurely every year as a result of air pollution. This has led to many large cities enforcing driving regulations to reduce pollutants caused by traffic.The Supreme Court in New Delhi, India is in favour of imposing an environment compensatory charge on all diesel vehicles and some European cities are temporarily banning cars, trucks and motorbikes on their streets from time to time.
Our study shows that indoor air pollution at an industrial site is even worse than some of these heavily polluted outdoor environments. Yet not enough companies are taking action to fix the problem. To address this issue, you need to first determine the source of the pollution.
Causes of indoor air pollution
Indoor air pollution can be caused by a range of static and dynamic factors. Here are some of the most common causes to look out for:
Dynamic dust sources
Dynamic or mobile sources of airborne particles are found in all indoor environments where activity takes place including forklift truck traffic, unpacking, packaging and general human activity.
Industrial cutting processes, such as cutting cardboard boxes, create volumes of airborne particles that will spread across your warehouse and have to settle somewhere.
Your company’s manufacturing process could actually be responsible for making the air in your facility dirty – especially if it creates a lot of dust and gasses.
Static sources of dust
Static or immobile sources are generally easier to identify. Such sources may, for example, include welding stations in a mechanical production line, dough mixers at a bakery, or printing presses at a printer.
If your storage areas are constantly dusty then take a look at what you’ve got in storage. Some goods like cement or flour will pollute the air of your warehouse with very fine particles.
In addition to static and dynamic sources of dust, most indoor environments are affected by the quality of the outdoor air in their immediate surroundings. As equipment and employees move from inside your warehouse to the outside, and then back in again, they will inevitably bring dust in with them. The dirt can also be blown in through an open window or enter through the ventilation system.
Once you’ve found the cause of your warehouse’s indoor air pollution you need to address it. Here’s how:
Improve your indoor air quality
The most common way businesses try to improve the indoor air quality in industrial buildings is to increase the amount of cleaning. This is time-consuming and expensive, and thus is not a particularly efficient solution. Nor does it address the problem at source.
A much more sensible solution is to install an industrial air purification system, like Zehnder Clean Air Solutions. Such a system will significantly reduce the airborne particles in your warehouse or factory and leave you with a clean working environment.
Don’t be guilty of managing a warehouse or factory with poor indoor air quality. Not only is clean indoor air good for your conscience, it will help improve production levels and ultimately, your business’ bottom line.