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The Links Between Humidity and Worker Health

Humidity control for many businesses is, quite simply, utterly vital. From a building maintenance point of view, it can help save tens of thousands in costly repairs, whilst for manufacturing firms it can mean the difference between a viable product and a waste of money and time.

However, those aren’t the only areas that humidity has an effect on your business. We speak, of course, about the health and comfort of your staff.

There’s no doubting that happy, healthy and comfortable staff make for more effective workers, but the effects of humidity levels on your staff are often overlooked.

Health problems arise in workplaces when the RH (Relative Humidity) in the air is either too low or too high. Low RH levels are linked to a number of issues, including dry and itchy eyes and dehydration thanks to the drying out of the respiratory system. It’s a situation you’ve likely encountered if you’ve ever spent extended periods in aeroplanes, which often have RH levels of 12% in economy and 5% in business class, leading to dehydration and discomfort.

Low RH environments are also highly advantageous for airborne pathogens, which thrive in low humidity environments. Take, for example, the influenza virus, which spreads easily in low HR settings, but struggles to spread at 40 to 60% HR areas at room temperature – the ideal conditions for a working environment.

There are also strong indications that low humidity might be linked to Sick Building Syndrome, which includes nausea, eye and throat irritation, lowered concentration levels, fatigue and headaches amongst its symptoms, and can grind a workplace to a halt.

All of that is without even getting into the fact that in low relative humidity level environments, the rate of distribution for gasses is significantly higher, leading to potentially dangerous working environments for staff who work in businesses which make use of chemicals and gasses.

High humidity environments also have their threats, primarily acting as a breeding ground for microscopic organisms, which thrive under high RH offices and spaces. In turn, those organisms can have a dramatic effect on the health and productivity of your staff.

Needless to say, these aren’t exactly desired conditions for your staff to endure. Still, the issue remains for many businesses with specific humidity requirements, how exactly do you ensure that your staff don’t pay the consequences? Well, the answer lies in site specific humidity control options, which let you tightly control humidity in one area, whilst allowing other staff to enjoy a healthy, comfortable humidity level of between 40 and 60%.

Source by Alec James

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