British Safety Council is urging employers of outdoor workers, one of the vulnerable groups identified in research cited by today’s air pollution awareness day, Clean Air Day, to join its Time to Breathe campaign.
Initial exposure data from Canairy, the charity’s new mobile app, shows workers breathing air that regularly exceeds levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The British Safety Council is concerned about the health of thousands of people, from construction workers to couriers, exposed to illegal levels of air pollution day after day. Employers are reminded they have duty of care obligations and immediate action is required.
Matthew Holder, Head of Campaigns at the British Safety Council, said: “The Time to Breathe campaign, as well as the recent air pollution monitoring trial by the environmental charity Hubbub, have clearly demonstrated that outdoor workers are one of the most vulnerable professional groups. They spend their working lives close to city traffic and pollution-emitting machinery.
“Outdoor workers have also been overlooked in the air quality debate. Neither regulators or employers have committed themselves to monitoring outdoor workers’ exposure to air pollution and measuring its effects on their health and wellbeing. Yet, there is no time to lose."
Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, a paper by the Royal College of Physicians, explicitly stated that people who work alongside busy roads are a highly vulnerable group to air pollution.
The research is included in a new ‘knowledge hub’ launched today for Clean Air Day, aiming to raise awareness of the impacts of air pollution on the body and to give tips on how people can protect themselves.
The campaign’s creators at Global Action Plan, says that air pollution can cause everything from asthma and stroke, diabetes and dementia, to pregnancy loss and cancer.
Professor Holgate, Medical Research Council Clinical Professor at the University of Southampton, speaking in support of the Clean Air hub said: “The risks to our health from air pollution cannot be understated, so making people aware of this and the simple things they can do to protect themselves, is an important part of solving this public health crisis.”
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