We are constantly reminded by scientists and environmental experts about how important it is to take better care of our planet. Unfortunately, pollution levels are at an all-time dangerous high. In order to slow down the destruction and damage caused by decades of neglect, we must act fast. As employers, there’s plenty of measurements you can put in place to improve your business’ carbon footprint.
What Is Workplace Pollution?
Workplace pollution is a term that covers two areas of concern: noise pollution and air pollution. It also includes general pollution, such as a business’ responsibility to recycle. In many larger cities, like London and New York, pollution has reached unprecedented levels – so high that the toxic air has now seeped into homes and businesses. This means that the public are exposed to harmful air every time they travel into the city.
On the other hand, noise pollution is also prevalent in cities, and larger scale business such as construction sites and industrial industries. Not only does it have a negative impact on the environment, but it can also be detrimental to employees.
What Causes Pollution?
The causes of pollution are vast, but it’s mainly put down to the release of harmful substances into the atmosphere. Cars, factories, landfills and much more are all big contributors. Global warming has shown us the damage pollution has done to ice and rising sea levels. It’s a grave concern for everyone, and there are certainly steps we can all be taking to improve the atmosphere and hopefully stop global warming from getting worse – as it can’t be reversed.
What Impact Can It Have on Workers?
The overall impact of pollution on workers can be extremely damaging. Air pollution has been linked to a number of deaths. People in the UK are “64 times more likely to die of air pollution as those in Sweden and twice as likely as those in the US” according to the World Health Organisation. This is an alarming figure considering the size of the UK compared to the US. Not only is air pollution linked to the causes of deaths, but it’s also linked to low productivity in the workplace. Motivation and sickness absences have been associated with workplace pollution. Poor air quality can make workers feel sluggish and tired, giving them less energy to focus on the task in hand. Profits can be directly impacted by low levels of productivity.
Noise pollution can lead to serious health problems including tinnitus, commonly known as a ‘ringing in the ears’. Workers exposed to high levels of noise pollution are constantly putting themselves at risk of developing hearing problems that could impact them immediately or be brought on later in life.
How Can It Be Resolved?
Due to the dangerous effect it can have on employee’s health, business owners are constantly looking at ways they can improve pollution in the workplace. One solution is to introduce more greenery into the work environment. Plants are proven to improve air quality, making the room feel less stuffy and providing cleaner air. This is a natural way to filter out the toxic air from the work environment and works well for offices and small businesses. For bigger companies, such as those who operate from warehouses or factories, industrial ventilation systems can be a good option to filter air on a larger scale.
To combat noise pollution, ear plugs or ear muffs are an obvious solution. These are paramount if you’re working on a construction site, or any work environment where you’re frequently unprotected against loud noises for an extended period of time. The long term solution could be having an acoustic system fitted in the workplace, these can reduce noise levels, decreasing the chances of employees’ health being at risk.