The Work Environment - guidelines
The work environment is a concept that encompasses both the work site and the products and the work itself which is related to and performed with the product. Guidelines for use on the packaging should therefore ensure that the product is used in a safe and secure manner.
Guidelines for each product should show how the product should be used without endangering health of the worker or user of the product. The product should not be harmful to health and it is the responsibility of the producer and then the distributor to ensure that the right message about the right use of the product reaches the consumer.
Harmful agents in the working environment can, for instance be: noise, air pollution, the wrong use of chemicals, evaporation and the wrong working position:
Noise – Does the use of the product create noise, measured in dB(A)?
Air pollution – Toxic chemicals may not be released into the atmosphere (many chemicals are not harmful in the right mixture but can become toxic if released from chemical bonds).
The wrong use of chemicals – Does the usage of the product demand special care or specific use of chemicals? If so, which chemicals? Can the chemicals be harmful to human health? Guidelines because of maintenance and running of the product have to be available. It can be of little use to buy an environmentally friendly product if the use of the product requires a large quantity of unsavory chemicals!
Evaporation – Sooner or later chemicals evaporate into the atmosphere. Therefore the producer has to define accurately which chemicals are incorporated into the product. Slow evaporation can be harmful in the long term even though a point measurement shows chemical concentrations within limits.
The environmental situation in general has improved in many respects as more knowledge and better technology has become available, for instance cleansing equipment in industry. But new knowledge has also led to new discoveries. Pollution that is taking place today is in many ways more complicated than it was in the past. The pollution sources are more numerous., They are also more spread out and the pattern of consumption has changed enormously. The root of chemical release into the environment stems, for instance, from our consumer products today, while we’re using them.
Bromated flame retardants and phthalates are among the common chemicals found in household appliances and clothes all around us. Those chemicals however, have a negative effect on both human health and the environment. Bromated flame retardants have been used for a long time in order to make plastics and resins more resistant to heat/flame. Those chemicals are most likely to be found in your computer and in the textile (áklæði?) on your chair. Today the consumer has a choice. I It is possible to buy both textiles and computers without bromated flame retardants. Many synthetic chemicals are toxic and should be avoided. But it is also necessary to avoid those chemicals that appear harmless but have a negative impact over the long term. It can be very difficult to assess the impact of such chemicals;therefore care should be taken.
Wrong working positions concerns, for instance, the adjustment of chairs, furniture and equipment - Are there specific guidelines about the product, working positions and possible adjustments? It may be necessary to adjust, chairs, tables, screens, keyboards, control boards and the general working environment.
Biologically speaking we’re still primitive animals, designed to be constantly on the move out in nature. A stone has probably been our first desk. Today things are different. The human body, designed to be constantly on the move, sits for hours in almost the same position. This has led to the fact that more and more people suffer from pain in the neck and shoulders. Mouse shoulder, is becoming as common an affliction as tennis elbow among athletes When buying desks, chairs and computers, it should be kept in mind that use of the product can influence health. TCO labeling provides information about both the environment and how work-friendly the item is. TCO labeling encompasses computer screens, keyboards and office chairs.
Graphic: A symbol exclusively used for work environment at nature.is ©Nature.is.
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