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The risks to workers in conditions that are too hot include dehydration, fatigue, increased heart beat, dizziness, fainting; and heat cramps due to loss of water and salt. Hot, dry air can increase the risk of eye and throat infections, and breathing problems such as asthma and rhinitis.

These are just the physical problems that could be encountered, with additional risks likely to be posed due to increased worker stress. Fatigue can also lead to tiredness or lack of concentration, which, apart from having an adverse effect on individual performance, could result in an increased risk of avoidable accidents in the workplace. Even in the absence of accidents, lowered concentration and motivation will at the very least lead to a downturn in productivity. There is a clear need to keep workers cool enough, even if it isn’t yet a clearly defined legal requirement.

Traditional air-conditioning and ventilation systems have an important role to play, but intelligent solutions are

now available that work in conjunction with the building’s infrastructure to maintain an efficient, effective and productive working environment for all concerned. One of them, from my own company, has been designed and developed to optimise any building by providing technology cooling at the desk. It can be fitted either at the time of initial installation or, in some cases, retrofitted without significantly extending the workplace footprint or having any major implications for other building systems.

It works by drawing ambient air from around the workstation through the computers which transfer the unwanted heat to the air which is then drawn into a fan coil, over a water heat exchanger before being re- circulated at slightly below room temperature. This can play an important role in providing a working environment that is comfortable and productive for staff and reduce energy consumption.

SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT Fragranced products can create clean-smelling indoor environments which are more pleasant to work in and therefore improve how indoor air quality is perceived. But while air fresheners can go some way towards improving perception, they simply mask odours and have little impact on the quality of the air itself.

Endorsed by the British Allergy Foundation/Allergy UK, Cleanaer™ is a wall- mounted, battery-operated air purifier that utilises the

technology of electrostatics to make the air smell better as well as going a step further by actually improving the quality of the breathable air indoors.

A few hours after activating a Cleanaer™ unit, airborne particulates are significantly reduced. One 21cm high Cleanaer™ unit fragrances a room up to 152m3 in size without releasing aerosol gases or ozone and they are also completely quiet, and therefore unobtrusive in the working environment. 37

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