While poor air quality in the workplace is known to be closely linked to conditions such as asthma, only 15% of companies questioned in a new survey  said they monitored and measured indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is closely linked with respiratory conditions such as asthma, which affects 5.4 million people in the UK – or 1 in 11 adults. Asthma is a very serious condition with three people in the UK dying from an asthma attack every day, yet 72.8% of respondents admitted that their organisation doesn’t keep a record of who is affected.
Further more, a surprising 68.8% also revealed that they did not know what the key triggers of the condition were in their place of work and – while perhaps unsurprisingly, existing data shows that nearly a third of people with asthma stated that their employer wasn’t doing enough to protect them.
The new research from floorcovering manufacturer Desso and health campaigner Asthma UK is part of Desso’s ‘Great Indoors’ campaign, which sets out to raise awareness of the importance of healthy indoor environments. The global carpets, carpet tiles and sports pitches company, which manufactures its own patented carpet tile that reduces the concentration of fine dust indoors, launched this initiative supported by Asthma UK to highlight the fact that fine dust can be a trigger for some people with the condition.
Laura Shand, corporate partnerships officer at Asthma UK, comments:
“Dust is one of the most common asthma triggers, affecting 90% of people with asthma. The partnership with Desso is important as it helps us reach more people to highlight that dust and other indoor triggers can cause asthma attacks, while raising vital funds to support our world-leading research, award-winning information and services, and life-changing campaigns.”
Asthma is not only a painful condition to live with – it is also costly for employers with over a quarter of people having missed days off work because of their condition. In fact, The European Environment Agency estimates that bad air quality costs €630 billion for health care and €169 billion for lost productivity every year.
The DESSO and Asthma UK survey also highlighted some common misperceptions, which suggest that organisations are not taking full advantage of the resources available to help manage asthma. David Nicholls, sales and marketing director for Desso in the UK & Republic of Ireland, comments:
“These results paint a worrying picture and highlight the need for further education about the importance of indoor air quality within organisations – especially considering we spend over 90% of our time indoors.
“For instance, our survey shows that 79% of the respondents believe that hard flooring is the best solution for reducing the amount of dust in the air; however DAAB research reveals that carpets are a far better option.”
Desso is helping to raise essential funds for Asthma UK by donating 0.5% of the earnings from its Desso AirMaster® UK sales to the charity.
 DESSO and Asthma UK survey October 2013 – 300 respondents in an online survey carried out by People Management Magazine, the media arm of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development  Asthma UK. NationalAsthma Panel. 2006  Asthma UK. NationalAsthma Panel. 2010  ‘Most EU city dwellers suffer bad air days’, Euractiv.com, 24 Sept, 2012. http://www.euractiv.com/sustainability/third-eu-city-dwellers-suffer-ba-news-514957  Source: Study performed by Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund e.V. in 2005.