If employees at the workplace feel impaired by dry air on a sustained basis and there are regular occurrences of symptoms and complaints, a specific dialogue to this effect must be sought within the company. However, employees with complaints about excessively dry air often feel that they are on their own. One of the reasons for this is that, at present, the technical rules for workplaces do not define a binding minimum humidity. A company risk assessment can be used to initiate solutions to improve the indoor climate and tangibly improve the work of employees. In accordance with ASiG, the German occupational safety act, the employer assigns these solutions to occupational physicians and occupational safety specialists, while also involving works or staff councils in the process.
Implementation of a risk assessment
A systematic risk assessment consists of seven steps. First, the work areas are defined. These can be individual workplaces or departments, such as call centres or customer service. The potential health hazards and exposures are then summarised and subsequently assessed. Allowance should be made here for how likely a hazard is and what consequences result from it. In the case of humidity, measurements over an extended period of time are essential. In the next step, the TOP principle is used to define measures to improve health protection – primarily through technical solutions. The most important element of the risk assessment is the written documentation and follow-up: once it has been implemented and its impact verified, the process is continuously updated.
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