Industrial hygiene monitoring, turning the workplace into a safe place

September 29, 2023
Category: Articles
Industrial hygiene monitoring, turning the workplace into a safe place

The air you breathe while working can damage your health and reduce your productivity.

Few companies today dispute the need to ensure their employees’ well-being and guarantee both safety and environmental protections in the workplace. And in order to achieve this, an industrial hygiene monitoring strategy, where air quality management is vital, will play an essential role.

So in this article we invite you to discover Kunak’s solutions and their potential for improving well-being at work.

Why monitor air quality at work?

Managing air quality at work is about more than just controlling the temperature, although this also has an impact on people’s well-being and can be measured by our solutions.

Air quality is also about the harmful pollutants that people are exposed to during the working day:

  • Particulate matter (PM10, PM4, PM2.5 and PM1), such as those found in dusty, smoky or aerosol-filled environments.
  • Gases (CO, NO2, O3, SO2, H2S, NH3, etc.) resulting from the incomplete combustion of fuels or other industrial processes.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are common in workplaces using organic solvents (iron and steel industry, paints and varnishes, cosmetics, etc.)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2), which is not harmful to human health in itself but is a perfect indicator of the levels of ventilation in a room.

Recommended CO2 levels in the framework of an industrial hygiene monitoring strategy

Furthermore, in several countries and industrial sectors, air quality monitoring in the workplace is mandatory.

Measuring pollution levels as part of an industrial hygiene monitoring strategy

Environment, health and safety (EHS) strategies aim to establish a framework that enables companies to maintain:

  • the healthiness of the workplace;
  • the welfare of staff; and
  • the natural conditions of the environment.

In the specific case of employee health, the identification, assessment and control of risks form part of

  • industrial safety, an area aimed in particular at reducing the risk of accidents at work; and
  • industrial hygiene which, with respect to air quality, is one of the areas where real-time air monitoring could make a difference. Ultimately, its main objective is to prevent the occurrence of occupational diseases, a potential consequence of continuous exposure to harmful levels of pollution.

How to assess air quality in the workplace

Measuring air quality makes it possible to identify and assess the pollutants present in the workplace and take the most appropriate measures to control them (ventilation, PPE, etc.)

One of the most efficient ways to accomplish this task is by relying on Kunak solutions. Our systems are internationally recognised and stand out for their precision and reliability.

Implementing a real-time monitoring network using one of our stations (Kunak AIR Pro or Kunak AIR Lite along with external probes as required) makes it possible to:

  • Monitor and warn of the presence of harmful levels of suspended particulate matter, gases or other harmful agents, all using our software Kunak AIR Cloud.
  • Assess the exposure of workers in their immediate environment.
  • Improve the effectiveness of control measures by continuously analysing whether decisions taken to protect employee health are sufficient or whether additional measures are required.

Benefits of implementing an industrial hygiene air monitoring system

Industrial EHS management focuses on proactive management, seeking to reduce environmental, health and safety risks in the workplace. Air quality monitoring is an integral part of this strategy.

But what are the benefits for companies that opt for this framework? Some of the clearest benefits include:

  • Healthier workers: reduced risk from harmful exposure to pollutants mean fewer sick days and higher productivity.
  • Cost savings: prevention of air quality problems helps to reduce potential medical costs or compensation.
  • Improved reputation: demonstrating a strong commitment to employee welfare and environmental responsibility will improve the company’s public image.

These benefits are evidenced by a number of studies. They show that improvements in environmental variables affect performance and increase productivity. In fact, an analysis carried out on people working in buildings with the highest certification standards revealed that:

  • 26.4 % scored higher on cognitive tests.
  • 6.4 % showed improved sleep quality.
  • 30 % had fewer symptoms associated with “sick building syndrome”.

In summary

Controlling air quality in the workplace is essential for reducing occupational hazards. This is not just a legal requirement. It is also a way of showing the company’s commitment to employee welfare and, therefore, enhance the business’s public image.

The best time to act is now.