England has experienced the highest level of air pollution ever recorded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with level 10 readings reported in northwest London.
This has been caused by dust from the Sahara and domestic/European pollution which has been compounded by low south easterly winds.
As a result people have suffered from coughs, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat and the worsening of pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.
This guide examines measures that you can take to ensure that your employees remain healthy and productive at work during this unprecedented period of high air pollution.
1. Working from home – Consider allowing office employees or those with conditions such as asthma to work from home as a way to lessen the health impact of the air pollution.
2. Face masks – Consider issuing face masks to those employees who are either working outdoors or engaged in more strenuous physical activity.
3. Flexible working – Allow flexible working so employees have the option of coming in earlier and staying later to avoid peaks in air pollution caused by the rush-jour commute.
4. Safe working environment – Distribute fans and try and keep windows closed.
Recently, Japanese electronics giant Panasonic confirmed a pollution-linked pay premium for its expatriate workers in China to compensate them for hazardous air pollution.
Thankfully, such extreme conditions are rare in the UK and with freshening winds set to arrive in from the Atlantic by the end of the week we should all be able to breathe a ‘fresh’ sigh of relief again.