Workforce, Pensions and Training

23.10.19

Outdoor workers at risk of air pollution according to new research

British Safety Council has responded to research from King’s College London which illustrates a direct link between air pollution and health emergencies.

They are now calling for more work needed on the effects of exposure on outdoor workers.

The new data released by King’s College London reveals that hundreds of children and adults are needlessly suffering due to air pollution levels being higher in nine major English cities.

The research shows that hospital admittances related to cardiac arrests, strokes and severe asthma attacks increase during periods of high pollution.

Commenting on the data from King’s College London, Matthew Holder, British Safety Council head of campaigns, said:

“The more we learn about the health impacts of air pollution, the more concerning it becomes. The latest research from King’s College London provides evidence that even relatively short-term exposure to air pollution at high levels causes immediate and serious health conditions.”

“At the British Safety Council, a charity focused on occupational issues, we are very concerned about the health of outdoor workers who spend week after week in the ambient environment, breathing in toxic air. Outdoor workers face a potentially higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and acute asthma than many people who live and work in our cities.”

“Although Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said that King’s research provided the evidence of a ‘health emergency’, the government, the regulator and employers are complacent about this risk and are reluctant to take urgent and appropriate action.”

In March 2019, the British Safety Council launched its Time to Breathe campaign, which focused on the protection of outdoor workers from air pollution. At the heart of the campaign is the first mobile app, Canairy, which allows outdoor workers and their employers to gain an insight into the potential pollution exposure and how they can reduce exposure. The app was created in co-operation with King’s College London.

Today (Oct 23) the Mayor of London is hosting the International Clean Air Summit where government ministers and business leaders will gather to agree new strategies for tackling air pollution.

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