How Can Industrial Air Pollutants Affect Your Workforce?

There is a wide range of hazardous materials that can be defined as industrial air pollutants. They can be visible or invisible, including substances such as gases and vapours, chemicals and fumes, fibres and dust. Even a high level of noise can be classified as an industrial air pollutant if it affects the health and well being of your workforce. In this blog, we take a look at the effects of industrial pollutants on both human health and on productivity, as well as solutions to these problems.

What are the Most Common Causes of Industrial Air Pollution?

The most common causes of poor industrial air quality are process waste and chemical waste.

  • Process waste is generated by industrial processes such as the washing of raw materials. This waste may be inorganic or organic, depending on the industry and the raw material used.
  • Chemical waste consists of the substances created as by-products while a product is being made. These toxic substances include detergents, heavy metals, acids and alkalis.
  • The causes of workplace pollution are numerous. They include gas boilers, heaters, generators, cookers, paint, solvents, wastewater incinerators, laboratory fume cupboards and many other scenarios. When not checked and managed, these things can dramatically impact industrial indoor air quality, which can in turn have a negative impact on both employees and visitors.

    The Impact of Industrial Pollution on Human Health

    What are the effects of industrial pollution? Workplace pollution has a significant impact on human health. This is why it is so important to address any issues you may have, as well as taking preventative measures too. We believe in testing industrial indoor air quality, and identifying problems before they become hazardous. The effects of industrial pollutants on your workforce may include:

    • Irritation of the respiratory tract, eyes, nose and throat.
    • An increase in the morbidity and mortality rates.
    • A wide range of particulates, such as pollen and dust, can cause asthma attacks.
    • High concentrations of NO2, SO2, particulates and photo-chemical smogs aggravate chronic pulmonary disorders such as COPD, asthma and bronchitis.
    • Poisonous heavy metals such as lead may enter the body via the lungs and cause severe health problems.

    The effects of industrial pollutants on human health cannot be separated from the impact it has on productivity. If the workforce is depleted by sickness, this represents a significant cost to the business. It may seem like an unnecessary factor to consider, however, when indoor air pollutants begin to affect your business, as well as your employees, you may re-evaluate its importance.

    Which Jobs are Most Likely to be Affected by Industrial Air Pollution

    What are the effects of industrial air pollutants in different jobs and how high is your risk of suffering from industrial pollution? By knowing this information, it may help you to realise the urgency and necessity for air quality testing in specific environments. The following employment sectors are most likely to be impacted by industrial air pollutants:

    • Mining and smelting.
    • Foundries.
    • Construction.
    • Chemical industry, including chemical manufacturing, chemical repackaging and chemical storage.
    • Car manufacture and many other manufacturing categories.
    • Aerospace.
    • Dry cleaning.
    • Vehicle repair workshops.
    • Petrol stations.
    • Retail, including convenience shops, supermarkets, department stores and shopping malls.
    • Textile industry.
    • Offices - the level of risk will vary depending on the job and the materials used in the construction of the building.
    • Research, where technicians might be exposed to hazardous materials if the case of an accident.

    The Best Solution to Industrial Air Pollution and Ensuring the Health of the Workforce

    When considering how to control industrial pollution, and minimise indoor air pollutants, policies should ideally be based on recovering and recycling hazardous materials. Measures to control industrial air pollution should be considered as an integral stage of the production process and policies to mitigate the impact of industrial pollution on human health should always be seen as an asset rather than a liability. This will inevitably ensure that minor problems do not become major hazards and therefore inconveniences.

    Measures to Reduce Workplace Pollution Include:

    • Source control: using the latest technology and training the workforce to dispose of waste safely.
    • Site selection: the environment of the site should be a major factor in selecting where to locate a business.
    • Regular assessment of the safe disposal of waste.
    • Testing and checking air quality: when considering how to reduce industrial pollution, checking indoor air quality should be high on the agenda.

    How to Reduce Industrial Air Pollution

    So now you may be wondering, ‘what’s the next step?’ ‘how do I tackle industrial air pollutants?’ It has never been easier, or more effective than with us. At Air Quality Planning, we can advise you on how to control industrial pollution and ensure good industrial indoor air quality. So that you can be comforted with the peace of mind that your business is not being negatively impacted.

    Controlling Industrial Air Pollutants With Us

    Since 2013, we have helped many companies and organisations gain their BREEAM building sustainability certification. We offer a range of high-quality solutions for testing and maintaining industrial indoor air quality. Our air quality testing plans identify any pollutants and we can help you to prevent them from returning. This ensures that your employees are not being affected in terms of health and also that there is no reduction in productivity. To find out more about the solution to industrial air pollutants please contact us by telephone: 01489 663081 or send us an email to

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