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The importance of workplace air quality

10/19/22 3 min reading time Fine dust & coarseHealthCleanliness

The quality of the air in your workplaces isn’t something you can take for granted. Poor quality air affects the health of your employees, so here’s what you need to look out for and what you need to do. 

indoor air quality workplace air quality

Good air quality: much more than just a ‘nice to have’

We spend around a third of our lives at work, on average more time than we spend with our friends and families. So, our working time is something we need to take seriously, right down to the air that we breathe there.

However, the air quality in production halls and warehouses contains a number of dangers, some of which we can’t even see. The global pandemic showed exactly how dangerous the air we breathe can be, and we can’t afford it to restrict or endanger our lives with our loved ones.

As employers we bear that responsibility for our employees.

Even worse than urban air pollution

We all know that cities can have dangerous levels of air pollution because of the emissions of standing traffic. But did you know that some industrial workplaces can have even worse air quality than that? 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air pollution in the workplace is often two to five times higher than outdoors, in extreme cases even up to 100 times worse. This is because of the dust that gets generated and spread throughout the workplaces, ending up in the air that’s then breathed in by employees. 

 Spending eight hours a day in this kind of environment is clearly not going be good for anyone’s health. 

Which pollutants affect the air quality in the workplace?

Here are some of the most common – and dangerous – pollutants you might find in the air in your workplace: 

  • Particulate matter  
    This consists of the tiniest floating particles of different sizes and can come from a wide variety of materials. 
  • Nitrogen (NO2)  
    Air pollutants can come from outside too, and nitrogen from nearby heavy traffic can enter the workplace. 
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC)  
    These gaseous and vaporous substances can come from cleaning agents, paints, varnishes and adhesives and are very dangerous when inhaled. 
  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)  
    Sulfur dioxide is produced when burning fossil fuels, in the smelting of metal or in the processing of pulp into paper. 
  • Mould  
    Mould forms quickly in rooms with high humidity and insufficient ventilation and can be deadly if left untreated. 

What regulations are there for air quality in the workplace?

dirty manufacturing worker with mask

You might assume that the regulations for air quality in workplaces would be even more strict than those outside, but actually the opposite is true. This leaves employees even more at risk of having to spend their days in unsafe environments and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has campaigned for better laws to control workplace air pollution.

But just because the laws might not be strict enough, you can still take action to protect the health of your employees. So why not get in touch today to take that first step towards cleaner air? 

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