World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2021

With increasing awareness on the negative impact that poor indoor air quality has on our health in the workplace, continuous accurate monitoring and feedback is now becoming a basic requirement for workers to protect their health, safety and wellbeing at work.

Stuart Davis, Kendra Divisional Director

As many workers in the UK are set to return to the workplace, companies are facing mounting pressure to meet employee expectations to go beyond their legal requirements and act more responsibly to do all they reasonably can to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of people at work.

Companies need to meet rising expectations of the increasing awareness on the negative impact that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can have on health to prevent illness and disease. Creating smart workplaces with continuous monitoring of IAQ to provide feedback of the workspace is now becoming one of the most important basic factors for workers.

The average adult breathes about 11,000 litres of air per day and we spend up to 90% of our time indoors. Substances such as Particulate Matter, CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are known to be harmful at high concentrations, while our body’s effectiveness to defend against airborne virus is affected by humidity and temperature. Being able to control and monitor these factors within recommended guidelines can enhance our cognitive function and reduce illness rates.

The majority of commercial interiors in the UK do not have adequate continuous monitoring of IAQ let alone the ability to feedback these factors to occupants. The CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation guidance adopts a precautionary approach with the objective of ventilating spaces as much as reasonably possible with outside air as one measure to reduce transmission risk. For many building operators adopting this approach cannot truly ensure the effectiveness of these changes without continuous monitoring data.

There is also competing interests for data within the workspace, these are often not located in the correct locations to ensure occupants are safe and the building mechanical ventilation is effective. Consumer grade monitors also tend to be widely inaccurate and provide misleading data.

The good news is that there are now cost-effective solutions with wireless sensors that measure Particulate Matter, CO2, TVOCs, humidity and temperature which can be rapidly deployed to continuously monitor IAQ conditions. Commercial grade sensors that are certified and installed within the breathing space to RESET standards provide the building operator with real data on operational performance and can provide feedback to occupants to instil trust that their workspace is safe.

This can be further enhanced with the integration to the Building Management System to provide demand-based control based on real-time data.

To ensure a safe environment you need good data to make good decisions.

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