All employers have serious responsibilities when it comes to the health of the people they employ. It’s not just that the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is strict, it also makes a huge difference to business operations when people are healthy. Health and safety issues impact on production and ultimately on the bottom line of every single business, even those that don’t entail what most people would consider dangerous activities.
One of the most important issues in large warehouses and production halls is the quality of air that those working there are forced to breathe in. Certain activities like welding can cause the air quality to deteriorate due to fumes and gases. But there are also many other more common pollutants that put us at risk. The results of inhalation over a period of time can be devastating and can lead to asthma and the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and other very serious issues.
Whatever we do in life it’s better to be safe than sorry and for employers this maxim continues to ring true. Every business where air pollution is a risk should take positive steps to ensure that they do everything possible to keep their employees healthy.
One of the most powerful steps business owners operating warehouses, factories, and production halls can take is to install AirWatch a powerful device that constantly monitors air quality in the working environment.
Polluted Air in the US
Earlier this year the American Lung Association published a report, State of the Air 2017 in which they stated that far too many people in the US are forced to breathe in unhealthy air. Of course, this isn’t only people working in factories, warehouses, and production halls, but also people who are affected by motor vehicle emissions and other common forms of pollution.
The shocking facts are that:
- Four out of every ten people live in environments with unhealthy air and are constantly exposed to air that contain too much ozone or particle pollutants.
- More than 18 million people live where outdoor air is unhealthy and contains particle pollution and/or ozone, even though since 2016 this number has reduced by nearly 1.9 million.
On a positive note three cities in Georgia ranked among the cleanest US cities that had no unhealthy ozone levels or short-term particle pollution – Brunswick, Rome-Summerville, and Savannah-Hinesville-Statesboro. Parts of Atlanta are also listed along with other cities that qualify as the cleanest counties in terms of short-term particle pollution. Chatham, Chattooga, Clarke, Columbia, Glynn, Muscogee, Paulding, Richmond, and Sumter are listed amongst the cleanest counties for ozone air pollution.
The Clean Air Act has been successful to some extent in finding technological science-based ways to reduce pollution and in this way protect public health there is still a way to go.
The 2017 report details what the US needs to do to ensure that the air people breathe is cleaned up:
- Make sure the 45-year-old Clean Air Act remains a law.
- Reduce carbon pollution from power plants that will, in turn help to fight climate change.
- Retain the current standards for clean vehicle emissions.
- Reduce the emissions that come from oil and gas operations, old and new.
- Improve the network that monitors air pollution networks.
While the average man or woman in the street can drive less, use less electricity, stop burning trash and wood, and prompt schools and other operations to keep upgrading buses and other transport and work vehicles, employers have an obligation to ensure that anyone in their working environment stays safe.
Particle pollution includes everything from human hair and fine beach sand to dust, pollen, and mold, and combustion particles that emanate from metals (as in welding). Because the particles represent largely unseen hazards, particle pollution is extremely dangerous.
Some particles cause us to cough and sneeze while others get deeper into our bodies and lungs.
The report warns that breathing in polluted particles can trigger illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Even short-term exposure can be fatal.
The Value of AirWatch
While it cannot help in evaluating outdoor air, AirWatch is incredibly effective in production halls and warehouse environments.
A surprisingly small device, it monitors air quality and delivers information relating to legal limits. This way, employers can see instantly if the air is sub-standard. Better still so can employees, because it has a traffic-light system of lights that alert everyone on the floor.
Quiet and safe, AirWatch picks up pollution from minute particles and the tiniest bits of dust. It can be used with extraction and room-ventilation systems too.
If you run a shop or factory or operate out of a warehouse, it’ll pay you to look at the AirWatch system. Your employees will thank you! Contact Kemper America for more information.