Blog5 April 2022

More than half of Brits worry about poor air quality in the workplace, study finds

Have you ever taken the time to consider if there are any deficiencies in the way your company approaches health and safety? Perhaps you’ve encountered an incident that didn’t prompt the response you expected?

We asked 2,000 adults about their workplace experiences, and some staggering revelations encouraged us to create our own quiz on the subject.

71 per cent of those polled said their desks are not configured properly, meaning they regularly suffer aches and pains.

More than half (55 per cent) openly complain about poor air quality, with many believing they often forgo breathing in fresh air for the entire day.

The survey has been commissioned by Andrews Air Quality, with one of our experts explaining: “There’s no doubt that health and safety protocol – and its implementation – varies from workplace to workplace.”

“And while there are lots of really obvious dangers that can befall you at work, like being in a busy warehouse environment, many risks are a lot more low-key.

“Things like not sitting at a properly-configured desk day in and day out, for example, can play havoc with your back.

“And air quality is also tremendously important, especially now we are in a world where Covid exists and fresh air is absolutely vital.”

The main cause of injury risk was deemed to be mental – overworked employees at risk of burnout (27 per cent).

Another 23 per cent regularly work around cables they believe could be a tripping hazard, while 19 per cent say they don’t get any natural light.

A further one in five have worked in places where spillages have not been cleaned up, and 15 per cent have seen plug sockets overloaded with electrical items.

One in four respondents confess to not knowing their company’s fire policy – and the same amount have reported a health hazard, only to see it ignored.

As many as three in 10 have actually quit a job because they felt it was too dangerous, according to the OnePoll.com data.

More than a tenth (13 per cent) of office workers report their office windows don’t open, depriving them of a fresh breeze.

And yet, 34 per cent believe the only ‘really dangerous’ workplaces are those in which manual labour or physical activity is undertaken as part of the job – not offices!

More than two thirds say offices are simply not dangerous workplaces at all.

A member of Andrews Air Quality’s technical team added: “The research shows there’s definitely some more education to be done in terms of dangers at work.

“Just because you’re not at risk of being run over by a forklift, doesn’t mean you can’t be at risk in other ways.

“All workplace managers should – especially as offices start to re-open – be working hard to ensure everyone’s safety.”

 

 

 

1. Have you ever been injured (this constitutes any injury, from a scratch to a broken bone) at your workplace?

% n
Yes – more than once 26% 519
Yes – once 25% 505
No – none 48% 956
Prefer not to say 1% 20
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

2.  To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “It’s only a matter of time until I get injured in my workplace.”?

% n
Strongly agree 2% 15
Somewhat agree 8% 81
Neither agree nor disagree 22% 211
Somewhat disagree 27% 257
Strongly disagree 41% 393
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 957; total n = 2000; 1043 missing
 

3. Which of the following health and safety breaches, if any, have you ever seen in your workplace? [Please select all that apply]

% n
Overworked employees who may succumb to stress and burnout 27% 541
Cables that could trip someone over 23% 450
No natural light 19% 382
Spillages that nobody is clearing up 19% 373
Bad ventilation 19% 371
Wet floors without a ‘wet floor’ sign 17% 343
Loose flooring 17% 342
Overloaded plug sockets 15% 307
Blocked fire escapes 15% 302
People not wearing the proper safety equipment 15% 291
Exposed wires 12% 233
No fire training 11% 225
Windows that don’t have safety catches 11% 217
People operating heavy machinery without proper licensing/training 9% 189
Electric equipment next to water sources 9% 177
No emergency lighting 8% 169
A fire extinguisher that you know doesn’t work 8% 151
Mislabeled chemicals 7% 145
Fire alarms that don’t work 6% 127
Broken air purifier 6% 124
None of the above 27% 547
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

4. Do you know your company’s fire escape policy?

% n
Yes 75% 1494
No 25% 506
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

5. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “My workplace is an accident waiting to happen.”?

% n
Strongly agree 9% 176
Somewhat agree 21% 428
Neither agree nor disagree 20% 400
Somewhat disagree 21% 417
Strongly disagree 29% 579
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

6. How many days in a working week, if any, do you encounter something you consider hazardous in your workplace? [Please select best match, where 0 means this does not happen every working week].

% n
0 26% 520
1 15% 298
2 13% 263
3 10% 194
4 7% 138
5 5% 93
6 1% 26
7 1% 20
N/A – I never encounter something I consider hazardous in my workplace 22% 448
Average 1.8
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

7. Have you ever reported a hazard to health and safety at your workplace?

% n
Yes – and it was sorted out 31% 488
Yes – but it was ignored 24% 378
No – I have not done this 38% 595
I can’t remember 6% 91
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 1552; total n = 2000; 448 missing
 

8. Do you think your employers/management should be doing any more than they already are to keep staff safe?

% n
Yes – a lot more 17% 335
Yes – a bit more 32% 631
No – they are doing enough 43% 857
I don’t know 9% 177
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

9. If you use a desk at work, has it been properly configured for you in terms of the screen height, chair height, etc.?

% n
Yes – it has been properly configured 31% 620
Yes – but it is still not completely right 24% 486
No – this has not happened to me 30% 590
N/A – I don’t use a desk 15% 304
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

10. If you use a desk at work that has NOT been properly configured for you, do you ever feel aches and strains in your back, wrists or shoulders?

% n
Yes – often 17% 178
Yes – sometimes 54% 583
No – never 23% 244
Not sure / can’t recall 7% 72
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 1077; total n = 2000; 923 missing
 

11. How would you describe the air quality in your place of work (e.g. have you ever walked into a room and felt the air was stuffy or unhealthy)? [Please select best match]

% n
Very good 14% 279
Good 33% 656
Average 37% 730
Not very good 10% 194
Not good at all 3% 67
N/A – not sure / my work is fully outdoors 4% 74
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

12. Do you ever go full days at work without breathing any fresh air?

% n
Yes – often 17% 336
Yes – sometimes 38% 765
No – never 41% 827
N/A – not sure / my work is fully outdoors 4% 72
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

13. Have you ever left a job because you felt the environment (e.g. the nature of the work, the air quality, etc.) was too dangerous?

% n
Yes – more than once 11% 211
Yes – once 19% 385
No – never 68% 1362
Prefer not to say 2% 42
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

14. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “The only really dangerous workplaces are physical ones, like building sites or warehouses – not offices.”?

% n
Strongly agree 9% 176
Somewhat agree 25% 490
Neither agree nor disagree 24% 479
Somewhat disagree 27% 543
Strongly disagree 16% 312
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

15. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “Offices are not dangerous workplaces at all.”?

% n
Strongly agree 20% 135
Somewhat agree 48% 317
Neither agree nor disagree 20% 135
Somewhat disagree 10% 67
Strongly disagree 2% 12
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 666; total n = 2000; 1334 missing
 

16. If you work in an office, do the windows open?

% n
Yes – all of them 17% 335
Yes – most of them 23% 460
Yes – some of them 27% 543
No – none of them 13% 260
I don’t know 2% 48
N/A – I don’t work in an office 18% 354
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

17. Does your workplace have any health and safety rules or laws that you think are overly cautious?

% n
Yes – many 13% 254
Yes – one or two 31% 621
No – none 45% 897
N/A – I am unaware of health and safety rules or laws at my workplace 11% 228
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000
 

18. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “I think the health and safety laws in my workplace are too strict.”?

% n
Strongly agree 10% 176
Somewhat agree 22% 390
Neither agree nor disagree 24% 432
Somewhat disagree 26% 455
Strongly disagree 18% 319
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 1772; total n = 2000; 228 missing
 

19. Have health and safety regulations got stricter or less strict at your workplace in the last five years?

% n
Much more strict 11% 189
Somewhat more strict 34% 595
Neither more nor less strict 43% 770
Somewhat less strict 4% 70
Much less strict 1% 10
N/A – I was not at my current workplace 5 years ago 8% 138
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 1772; total n = 2000; 228 missing
 

20. Have you ever used the phrase “It’s health and safety gone mad” at your workplace?

% n
Yes – many times 13% 267
Yes – once or twice 34% 677
No – never 45% 906
I can’t remember 8% 150
(c)OnePoll 2022; Total sample; Unweighted; base n = 2000

 

–ends–