Recently, new cases of Silicosis have been recorded in Sydney. Silicosis is a life-threatening, dust-related lung disease that can be obtained from rising sandstone and brick dust. The sudden spread of dormant industrial lung diseases like Silicosis has alarmed the Australian health care industry. How can the manufacturing industry prevent industrial disease cases like this from worsening?
Why are industrial diseases happening?
Industrial diseases can be classified from occupational respiratory diseases to cancer. Occupational respiratory diseases in Australia’s industrial sector is making a huge social and economic impact. Australia has one of the highest percentages in occupational asthma sufferers. The culprits are self-inflicted and environment-related—cigarette smoking, outdoor air pollution, and poor indoor air quality. A complacent employer who practices incompetent health and safety regulations in plants is more likely to endanger employees’ physical and psychological well-being.
Industrial Ventilation and Health
Industrial ventilation is a key element in the industrial design. Without proper industrial ventilation, workers’ rights are sacrificed and progress in day-to-day tasks is hindered. Poor industrial roof ventilation systems are considered as a hazard. Poor ventilation in an industrial building leads to various diseases from mild to life-threatening such as extreme carbon dioxide exposure, biological contaminant build-up, and fatigue. It also causes Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
As for infrastructure impairment, poor ventilation traps unnecessary moisture that causes corrosion. An employer’s credibility may be sacrificed, as failure to comply with a state’s OHS requirements are duly penalized. This month, Workplace Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) reported that a Brisbane roofing company was fined A$100, 000 for exposing their employees to Asbestos. Each of Australia’s states and territories has authorized OHS agencies that enforce safety regulations on industrial sectors.
Meanwhile, improving air quality doesn’t only impact health, it also affects productivity in workers. Standard air quality doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. A study by Harvard found that employees who were exposed to a green condition work environment performed 61% better than those who were retained in normal working environments. Click here Airocle
Incorporating Safe Design Principle in Plants
In Safework Australia, Australian Constitution mandates to prioritize safety in designing plants. When designing fixed plants, responsible people like building designers and architects are required to practice a safe design approach in the earliest stage of design process. A Safe Design Principle means giving utmost importance to hazard identification and risk assessment. The principle suggests strategic design considerations such as foreseeing misuse and designing a plant that will fail in a safe manner.
Industrial ventilation is also one of the most crucial factors that serve as a foundation for effective plant design. Natural ventilation in plants has been proven to have numerous benefits in energy saving and improving the plant’s indoor air quality. Paper, glass, and aluminum smelters factory have long since used natural ventilation in their plants. Modern industrial roof ventilators and industrial roof vents in Australia help plants reduce their heat load and carbon footprint.
Power Engineering magazine has also reported that since 2010, Power Plants have recently joined in using natural ventilation despite having doubts in the earlier years. The magazine reported that one power plant had problems with hot stagnant air during the afternoons which cut employee productivity. After installing weatherproof roof vents, the air properly circulated, making the inside of the plant a more comfortable space to work for the plant personnel.
Natural ventilation works with the gravity and natural air flow’s principles. Of course, natural ventilation is not suitable for all types of industrial facilities, but its benefits to cultivating safety and health in the industrial architecture are undeniable.