A UNIQUE APP that aims to help outdoor workers reduce their exposure to air pollution has been launched today (8 March 2019).
Designed and produced by King’s College London for the British Safety Council’s Time to Breathe campaign, creators hope that the new innovation will provide employers with the intelligence to protect the health of their workers.
Research from King’s College London suggests that more than 9,400 people die prematurely due to poor air quality in London alone. In 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified diesel exhaust as carcinogenic to humans.
Available for both Apple and Android devices, the app, ‘Canairy’, draws on the London Air Quality Network (LAQN) pollution map and the user’s location to calculate pollution exposure on an hourly basis. Once this exposure exceeds World Health Organisation’s (WHO) limits for the concentration of nitrogen dioxide, particulates and ozone, the app notifies the individual and suggests tips to reduce their exposure.
The app will also collect information to enable the mapping and severity of air pollution across the capital. Employers will be able to access the anonymised exposure data and use it to make informed decisions on work schedules to help avoid the worst levels of toxic air.
Andrew Grieve, Senior Air Quality Analyst, King’s College London, said: “As a group, outdoors workers are particularly vulnerable to long-term exposure to ambient air pollution.
“We hope that the information provided by the app can be used to inform health risk assessments and contribute to scheduling work that reduces exposure. Crucially, it can also help employers and workers to monitor their progress in avoiding unhealthy levels of pollution.”
Time to Breathe campaign
Together with the app, the British Safety Council is launching a UK-wide Time to Breathe campaign on 12 March in Oxford Circus, London.
Lawrence Waterman, Chairman of the British Safety Council, said: “Our campaign will highlight every employer’s duty of care for the risks from ambient air pollution. The regulator (HSE) tells us that it doesn’t regulate the ambient environment, and the recent Clean Air Strategy had little or nothing to say about people who spend their working lives outdoors. These workers are caught in a blind spot and we think their health is at risk.
“We are calling on London-based employers to join those trialling Canairy and help us build an accurate picture of the exposure faced by outdoor workers. This information will be a cornerstone of future campaigns for better research into the links between occupation and health data. Given that we don’t even know how many outdoor workers there are in the UK, we need those authorities with responsibility for our health and environment to work together on this issue.”