A leading trade union is pushing for improved monitoring of air quality in built-up areas in a bid to protect workers.
The GMB claims street cleaners, refuse workers and parking staff are among those at risk of high levels of pollutants.
It follows research that found workers in the UK are being exposed to “dangerous” levels, with a number of areas including parts of London, Cambridge, Aberdeen, Bath, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Chepstow classed as unsafe.
The study measured levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air using data from 110 official monitoring stations nationwide.
Nitrogen dioxide is a contributor leading to the formation of smog, which can have a significant impact on human health.
Breathing in raised levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory problems, like lung infections, while it can also have a hugely negative effect on people with asthma.
Wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis are all common by-products of inhaling nitrogen dioxide.
The GMB wants councils to do far more to identify the areas and times of day when the problem of pollutants is worse and to inform workers, as well as local people, in an effort to keep them safe from the damaging effects.
It recommends, for instance, that street cleaning and refuse collection routes should be changed to avoid the times when air pollution is at its worse.
Personal injury compensation
If you’ve developed a pollutant-related illness, either at work or in the public domain, you may be entitled to claim personal injury compensation.
You could find out how much you could claim in as little as 30 seconds by getting in touch with Accident Advice Helpline.
Not sure how to identify lung diseases? Check out this literature on spotting the signs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Date Published: June 10, 2014
Author: David Brown