Poor ventilation is a hazard, like any other hazards, it poses a risk to worker’s health, equipment, machines, goods, and products. Most workers in South Africa work under harsh conditions particularly those in the mining industries, with poor ventilation most workers are prone to contact airborne diseases such as TB, lung cancer etc, thus increasing the spread of sickness in the workplace.
Proper ventilation of workplace removes excessive heat, fumes, unpleasant smells and dust build-up by continuously replacing the interior air with fresh and cool air from outside and thus preventing stagnation of the indoor air.
Good ventilation is essential in any building, helping to promote good circulation of air and regulating heat. There’s no denying that fresh air is essential for your workers. Good ventilation helps in removing contaminants from the environment. Poor ventilation leads to high levels of carbon dioxide that is dangerous to worker’s respiratory health and low levels of oxygen in the interior can cause fatigue, which affects worker’s ability to concentrate.
Poor ventilation confines interior air and leads to an extreme temperature in the workplace, which leads to discomfort, fatigue, distraction and cam increase accidents in the workplace. Furthermore, poor ventilation leads to low humidity and can cause dry skin, dry throat, and static electricity build-up. It is important to note that high humidity contributes to mould and bacterial growth. All these may lead to increased sickness among employees.
Also, poor ventilation causes Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). The symptoms of SBS include headaches, fatigue, and irritation of eyes, nose, and throat. These symptoms tend to be less severe away from the workplace. Excessive heat and dust build-up is highly detrimental and affects negatively on the performance of machines, goods, products, equipment etc. This can result in severe damages in business and affect productivity negatively.
It can be difficult to ensure warehouses and factories are kept well ventilated, but proper ventilation is very important for both employees and equipment and materials. Adequate ventilation is needed to moderate temperatures, remove hazardous fumes, reduce humidity and maintaining and monitoring moisture levels. Clean and fresh air in a workplace enables a more productive and healthy employees. Poor air quality can actually seriously affect the health of your workers
POOR VENTILATION A DANGER TO WORKERS
According to OCCUPATIONAL CARE SOUTH AFRICA (OCSA) ventilation is the process of “changing” or replacing used air in any space to provide improved indoor air quality. Every building must be ventilated in order to control temperature, remove moisture, odours, dust, heat, carbon dioxide and replenish oxygen. According to the terms of the environmental regulation for workplaces, OHSAct 85 0f 1993 states that employers must ensure that:
- The time-weighted average of carbon monoxide does not exceed one half percent by volume air.
- The air breathed is safe.
- The occupational exposure limit for substances is not exceeded.
- The concentration of any explosive or flammable gas, vapor or dust does not exceed the lower explosive limit for that substance The time-weighted average of carbon dioxide does not exceed three percent by volume air.
The act further stipulates that local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems must be used to control exposure to dust, fumes, gases, mists, and vapors hazardous to health, employers have a legal obligation to ensure that they continue to operate effectively.
” Thorough examination and tests should be carried out at least once every 24 months to ensure the LEV equipment remains in good working order,” as required in terms of Regulation 12 of the Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Substances, OHSAct (85 of 1993).
In South Africa indoor air quality in warehouses, office buildings, mines, have become a significant environmental issue. According to OCSA “The number of Indoor air quality complaints has increased in recent years with greater building tightness, the growing use of synthetic materials, and energy conservation measures that reduce the amount of outside air supply, resulting in an increase in indoor pollutants,” reads part of the Act
OCSA added:” The reactions to these pollutants have led to the phenomenon of sick building syndrome”.
Bluecollar, we are an Approved Inspection Authority for the assessing and evaluation of ventilation and ventilation systems. We conduct general ventilation and local extraction ventilation surveys to assist your company to comply with the South African legal requirements, as well perform indoor air quality surveys, assessments and monitoring in occupied spaces or investigate complaints of poor indoor air quality, to ensure conformance to indoor air quality standards.
We will provide you with a well-detailed report pointing our findings, give reasons why areas did not match to standards and provide practical solutions to the problem.
We can provide you with the following ventilation surveys:
- Sick Building Syndrome investigations.
- Indoor air quality surveys.
- Efficiency of laboratory fume cupboards, extraction ventilation systems, and paint spray booths
- General building ventilation surveys.