A new whitepaper by Global Action Plan and Zehnder Clean Air Solutions finds the quality of the air in the manufacturing sector continues to be underplayed and not acted upon with workers in the UK still being exposed to unhealthy levels of airborne hazards and pollution. The whitepaper further presents a renewed case for tackling air pollution in industry workplaces with urgent actions for policy makers, regulators and manufacturers.
The whitepaper, titled “With Every Breath We Make: Ensuring Healthy Air for Manufacturing Workers”, identifies:
An estimated 440,000 workers with health conditions that are exacerbated by air pollution are still being exposed to unhealthy levels of airborne hazards and pollution in manufacturing workplaces.
The presence of airborne hazards causes production issues, product quality and that impacts profit margins.
Current regulation allows levels of airborne hazards and pollution that are dangerous to manufacturing workers’ health.
Regulation enforcement is not meeting the necessary standards.
Urgent action is required to protect workers who are unable to work remotely given increasing evidence shows that poor air quality worsens underlying health conditions that make a person more vulnerable to complications if they contract COVID-19 and workers in the manufacturing sector are at greater risk of being exposed to dust, toxic particles and pollution.
The most urgent action from the whitepaper, which is supported by the Trade Unions Clean Air Network (TUCAN) and the Hazards campaign, is to call 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) that limits be changed to 1mg/m3 for respirable dust from the current 4mg/m3 COSHH trigger.
In addition to the government call, the whitepaper further advises that regulators review exposure limits of all air pollutants, beyond current regulation and in line with new research which finds that airborne hazards can cause health conditions including heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, cognitive function, and depression. This includes launching long-term research programmes which combine air quality monitoring in manufacturing sites with tracking of workforce health issues.
Manufacturers are also urged to review the business case for action on air pollution, with help from the authorities and adopt measures to eliminate airborne pollution.
For an exclusive overview of the whitepaper, regulators, manufacturers and professionals in the health & safety sector are invited to attend a free virtual seminar, “Every Breath We Make - Ensuring Healthy Air for Manufacturing”. On November 5th at 12pm, Global Action Plan and Zehnder Clean Air Solutions will present an exclusive overview of the whitepaper and provide further detail on the latest scientific evidence as well as what manufacturers can do to protect their workers and advocate for better practices in the sector. Additional guests include MP Geraint Davies, Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution (APPG) and Graham Petersen, Founder of Greener Jobs Alliance.
The full whitepaper, titled With Every Breath We Make: Ensuring Healthy Air for Manufacturing Workers, can be downloaded here: www.cleanairworkplaces.org