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Climate assessment at the workstation

Physical and personal factors play an essential role

Here, we would like to explain the approach when determining the causes of mental aberrations. Likewise, you will obtain information that is helpful when planning, implementing, and evaluating climate measurements at the workstation.

Safety and health protection of the employees, as well as the well-being at the workstation are influenced essentially by the room-climate conditions. For this, there are comprehensive scientific studies and many definitions (comfort criteria) are being made in the field of legislation and standardisation, respectively. However, the employees frequently complain about conditions such as dry mucosae, draught, dry or stale air, or the improper room temperature in office buildings.

In this, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires the employer to perform a risk assessment systematically capturing, evaluating, and documenting the hazards and strains related to the work of the employees. However, it becomes obvious that: this assessment is difficult to implement in practice – also applying to the derivation of suitable countermeasures as a consequence. This is because so-called personal factors also play a role in addition to physical variables.

Physical variables and personal factors

When assessing the room climate, one assesses the quality, temperature, humidity, and velocity of the air, as well as the thermal radiation. Bad room climate influences the performance, the attentiveness, the ability to react and think, for example. Furthermore, it may have adverse effects on the health and the risk of accidents.
In addition to these physical variables, so-called personal factors such as work hardness and clothing must also be taken into consideration – just like individual factors such as acclimatisation and personal condition.
When analysing the work situation within the framework of the risk assessment, it is hence necessary to consider all influencing factors in their complex interaction. Only then it is possible to identify the actual causes for the mental aberrations and increased number of accidents and diseases, respectively, and to define suitable measures.

How does one deal with this difficulty?

Hence, it is not easy to attribute mental aberrations to the room climate. As a consequence, it mainly is not about meeting thresholds from the legal provisions. Rather, ways have to be shown as to how causes can be identified within the framework of the risk assessment and which measures can be taken.

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