Nearly half of workers say their bosses should allow home working to cut their exposure to air pollution during the morning and evening commute.
Environmental charity Hubbub asked workers across the country their views on air pollution which reveals that many are becoming more aware of its dangers and want to see themselves protected better during working hours, with over two-thirds saying employers should make sure the workplace is safe from air pollution.
While professional drivers and outdoor workers are among the most exposed professions, office employees can also be exposed to high levels of pollution, especially if they’re commuting into busy urban areas and travelling to and from work meetings.
When Hubbub asked workers what measures they’d like to see their employers put in place in the workplace to protect them, 42% said flexible or home working, 47% said installing air purifiers in the office and 40% said offering cash incentives to encourage people to cycle, walk or take public transport to work rather than driving.
Having a strategy to improve air quality could also have recruitment benefits for employers, too, with 64% of workers saying they would find a potential employer attractive if they had an air pollution policy in place.
Hubbub is calling on all employers to develop an air pollution strategy to protect the health and wellbeing of their staff and join its #AirWeShare movement to accelerate the process of cleaning up the air in our cities.
Trewin Restorick, founder and CEO of Hubbub, said: ‘Employers have a huge role to play in protecting their workforce from pollution, whilst in the workplace and travelling during the working day and on the commute.
‘Our research suggests that many employers either have no policy on this or are simply not communicating it. We want to empower workers to ask their bosses what they are doing to protect them and to request that changes are made if they are falling short. And businesses need to show that they are willing to take action to support and protect their workforce from the effects of air pollution.’
During the summer heatwave, the British Safety Council called on the government to issue guidance for outdoor workers who were subjected to higher levels of air pollution.
Air quality monitoring carried out by Hubbub in conjunction with King’s College London found that a site engineer at a construction site had air pollution exposure levels six times higher than those of an office worker.
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