Indoor air quality should be a big concern for all Canadians. And it’s not just because we spend so much time inside of our homes. We spend a lot of time at work, as well. And, for so many of us, work also takes place within the confines of indoor facilities. As you can imagine, some jobs create environments where the air is continuously compromised. Take any manufacturing company, for example.
The processes of welding, gouging, grinding, cutting, painting, sand or abrasive blasting, electroplating and other tasks can send a variety of harmful chemicals into the air. Not to mention, an abundance of noise can also add to the pollution that one endures during the course of his or her day at work. When people are regularly exposed to gases and other fumes, it can result in very serious health issues.
How do workplace chemicals enter the body? No one will be surprised to hear that pollutants in the air can be inhaled throughout each day. But as the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety explains, people can also absorb harmful chemicals in the workplace via skin contact, the digestive system (if they are ingested or eaten) and injection (through accidental punctures from sharp objects).
“The eyes may also be a route of entry,” explains the CCOHS, “Usually, however, only very small quantities of chemicals in the workplace enter through the mouth or the eyes. Regardless of the way the chemical gets into the body, once it is in the body it is distributed to anywhere in the body by the blood stream. In this way, the chemicals can attack and harm organs which are far away from the original point of entry as well as where they entered the body.”
Why is indoor air quality of special importance in the workplace? When people are at home, they are generally in relaxed states. At work, however, they are often more active. This invokes harder breathing which promotes the inhalation of more dangerous chemicals, if they exist in the air. This is especially true for those who work job positions that demand hard physical labour, says the CCOHS.
“In conditions of hard physical work, up to 10,000 litres may be exchanged,” unveils their website, “Air breathed in through the nose is filtered by the nasal hairs so that large, solid particles in the atmosphere are prevented from going any further. Inside the nose there are small bones and cartilages that cause the inhaled air to swirl around. This swirling air can cause some large contaminating particles to be deposited in the nose and trapped by the moisture of the mucus lining.”
Which workplace chemicals are of the greatest concern? There is a wide variety of gases, vapours, mists, dusts, fumes and smoke that can present health hazards at workplaces of all kinds. It should come as no surprise to you that, in some older buildings, asbestos exposure is a major concern too. This is why testing the workplace for the presence of such harmful contaminants is so important for the health of all of those who work within it.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Monitoring Services. They include evaluations of your facility, data collection and the development of solutions to any problems that may exist within the workplace. Our consultants will also answer any direct questions pertaining to exposure. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.