Wednesday, 28 April is the World Day for Safety and Health at Work and this year focuses on strategies to strengthen occupational safety and health systems to build resilience in the face of crises, and — based on the lessons learned in 2020 — every business around the world will have a wealth of experience to draw from.
Celebrated annually, this awareness-raising campaign promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally — a pertinent issue, given what the world has been through in the past 12 months. Many offices that have stood vacant are finally beginning to see the return of their employees. However, even with a vaccinated population and basic PPE measures in place, the risk of cross-infection persists, and airborne illnesses are only one part of the problem.
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have drawn attention to the quality of our indoor air and the role it plays in the spread of airborne viruses in the workplace, we continue to face serious indoor air safety and health challenges for which there is no vaccine — indoor air pollution.
Poor indoor air is risky business
Employees spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, exposed to harmful indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene glycol, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) fumes. Other indoor air pollutants like VOCs emitted by electronic equipment such as computers, photocopiers, and printers can reduce an employee’s ability to respond to the day-to-day demands of their work, leading to fatigue, headaches, diminished mental and physical performance, and even respiratory issues.
Traditionally, businesses have worked hard to ensure a strict regime of attendance and punctuality, presenteeism — the phenomenon of staff coming to work despite having an infectious illness — has a major impact on the productivity and wellbeing of healthy employees. In fact, 82% of UK workers reported contracting an infection from their workplace, according to a 2019 study.
By shifting the focus to promoting a positive working culture and developing sick leave policies that reduce presenteeism to protect the health and safety of their staff, especially in the current climate where the airborne transmission of infection is a threat, businesses can mitigate the risk of illness-related absenteeism.
Indoor air quality at work
While health and safety protocols are easy enough to enforce in the office, the quality of the air employees breathe during working hours is considerably more difficult to control. Treating air that is shared and recirculated requires specialized technology that is capable of maintaining high levels of indoor air quality to ensure not only physical health, but also mental performance, comfort, safety, and quality of life for staff.
Traditional air purifiers and filtered HVAC solutions — common in most large facilities — deal with only part of the problem and do little to reduce the threat of airborne viral infection.
All-in-one solution for workplace indoor air safety
By strengthening occupational health services in the workplace with VIRUSKILLER™ clean air technology, employers will be bringing uncompromising clean air performance for the health and safety of their staff to commercial and mainstream sectors throughout the world. By filtering and decontaminating the air in shared offices and workspaces to deliver clean, fresh air to staff throughout the day, this simple plug-and-play solution makes decontaminating indoor air as easy — if not easier — than cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, desks, tables, and shared equipment.
As businesses and their staff return to work, implementing clean air technology as an added safety measure is a long-term investment that can help future-proof the office from indoor air pollution and airborne viruses, including the common cold and seasonal flu. Simply put: Investing in clean air technology is good for business.