Given we spend most of our lives at work, the air quality within workplaces is essential for public health. Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK work within factories and industrial environments where the air quality is often worse than outside.
Particularly in industrial environments, air pollution can be two to five times worse than outside and in some cases to 100 times worse, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is estimated that over 440,000 workers are suffering from health conditions caused by their exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution within their workplaces.
Current regulations for industrial environments allow hazardous levels of airborne pollution that are detrimental to health and a whitepaper published by Global Action Plan and Zehnder Clean Solutions says the regulations that are there are not adequately enforced. This paper urges the government enforce lower acceptable limits for air pollution within workplaces after research found that airborne hazards can contribute to poor health of industrial workers, causing conditions such as heart attacks, cancer, depression, diabetes and poor cognitive function.
Clean air in factories and warehouses was brought to the forefront of people’s minds after the COVID-19 pandemic hit and factories across the UK had numerous breakouts of the virus. This was partly due to keyworkers being unable to work from home or socially distance, and in some cases not being able to afford time off work to self-isolate.
Although a positive that has come from the pandemic is the renewed focus on air quality, pollution can be just as, if not more, harmful than airborne viruses and with the threat of future pandemics, there has never been a better time for employers to take the matter of air quality within factories and other industrial spaces into their own hands.
We all hope the government take the recommendations made byGlobal Action Plan and Zehnder Clean Solutions but there is nothing stopping employers from being prepared and taking their own measures to protect their workers.
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