Research released from the World Health Organisation* shows that air quality is still an issue in work environments across the globe. While pioneering air monitoring systems such as the AIR XD are being introduced in more workplaces than ever, it’s important that employees themselves champion clean air and revolutionary technology.
Being aware of the risks at work can help bring about much needed change in many industries. Experts are calling for air pollution to become identified as a separate risk factor in the workplace** so that more can be done to begin monitoring harmful particulates and reduce the chance of premature illness for workers.
Every employee has the right to work in a place where the risks to health and safety are properly controlled by an employer. However, it can be daunting not knowing where to start when attempting to challenge old workplace habits. It helps for employees to educate themselves on how to implement this in their work environment, whether it be in mining, construction or other heavy industries.
Here are some of the key need-to-know facts and information for employees who want to reduce their risk of air pollution:
· Make the change to renewable energy: where possible, encourage employers to switch to renewable sources of energy as opposed to fossil fuels and coal. This naturally brings down the levels of particulates in the air and will allow for a cleaner environment.
· No environment is too challenging: revolutionary safety technology can reduce risks in even the most polluted work environments.
· Outdoor workers are no less vulnerable: airborne particulates can be found within a 300-metre radius on construction sites which, when inhaled, can damage your lungs and have long-term health implications.
· It affects everyone: it’s not just manual workers who breathe in particulates either. Office workers and other administrative staff who work on or near the site can be breathing in the same harmful air, even from cabins and other portable offices.
· Assess the risks: even when risks appear minimal, it’s all about control. Implementing strategies means your workforce can be aware of any potential dangers and then act on them accordingly.
· Know the facts: 12,000 deaths every year*** are linked to exposure to damaging substances at work. It’s only by addressing these issues that risks can be minimised in the workplace.
· Take it higher: any concerns in the that aren’t addressed by your employer can be reported to the regulator who can take further action.****
The good news is that there are now fewer employers that don’t implement strategies in the workplace where there are increased risks, but there is always more that can be done. With so much awareness being raised about the damaging effects of air pollution, companies are now wising up to the risks, meaning more employees can benefit from a healthier and cleaner work environment – and it’s never too late to learn.
Read more about how to tackle air pollution in your workplace or find out how Trolex dust monitors can help you monitor particulate levels.
*World Health Organisation
****British Lung Foundation