An estimated 440,000 workers are suffering from poor health conditions due to dangerous levels of air pollution in the workplace, according to a new whitepaper published by Global Action Plan and Zehnder Clean Air Solutions.
According to the report, current regulation allows for dangerous levels of air pollution in the manufacturing workplace.
The researchers have highlighted that not only is this affecting the health of the workers, but it is also impacting product quality and profit margins.
Based on this, the researchers have said that urgent action is needed to protect workers, they have highlighted that this is especially important given that increasing evidence has shown that poor air quality may worsen the severity of Covid-19.
The whitepaper calls on the government to update regulation to lower the acceptable limits for air pollutants in the industrial workplace, echoing the call from the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) and Trades Union Congress (TUC) to change limits to 1mg/m3 for respirable dust from the current 4mg/m3 limit.
In addition, the whitepaper also advises that regulators review exposure limits of all air pollutants.
This includes launching long-term research programmes which combine air quality monitoring in manufacturing sites with tracking of workforce health issues.
Chris Large, co-CEO of Global Action Plan said: ‘Manufacturers are increasingly paying attention to employee wellbeing, especially as workplaces look to become COVID-secure, but the quality of the air and the working environment continues to be underplayed as a foundation of good employee wellbeing.
‘Regulators must enforce lower limits to protect the hidden heroes who have continued to work throughout the pandemic, especially given ongoing research increasingly links poor air quality to the worsening of COVID-19 symptoms. Current regulation continues to allow unacceptable levels of airborne hazards and pollution that are dangerous to manufacturing workers’ health.’
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