Driving workplace safety forward


Improved conditions for vehicle operators are a breath of fresh air

Driver training, safety equipment, regular maintenance — health and safety for commercial vehicles is everywhere you look. But what about the air? Although the topic is often neglected, air quality can lead to a large number of health issues. The majority can be avoided if you have the right solution.

A worker breathes in several thousand liters of air per shift. If this air is polluted by impurities, pathogens, or contaminant gases, it isn’t just well-being that suffers. Health does too. Despite this, air quality is rarely given sufficient consideration when it comes to safety in the workplace. In the worst case, it can be life-threatening both for drivers and those around them. If the air inside the vehicle is polluted by contaminant gases, it can lead to fatigue, problems concentrating, headaches, dizziness, and a significantly increased risk of accidents.

Long-term effects such as respiratory diseases, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and the increased risk of a stroke are reason enough to pay greater attention to air conditioning in commercial vehicles.


The road to a safe and healthy workplace

Determining the best way to protect the occupants of commercial vehicles depends on many factors, including the type of vehicle, the number of people involved, and the air composition (including any impurities).

Here is a brief overview:

Buses and coaches

Poor air quality presents bus drivers with two hazards:

The first concerns the supply of fresh air. Air pollution is particularly high on roads with heavy urban traffic. This is exacerbated by the “tunnel effect” generated by the exhaust fumes carrying also micro dust particles of vehicles driving ahead. This renders the concentration of accumulative pollutants up to six times higher than on the roadside (where the exhaust values are recorded for environmental statistics and reports). If exhaust gases enter the Bus or Coach cabin unfiltered, air pollution increases to dangerous levels, causing headaches, allergic reactions, and a general feeling of malaise.

The second source of risk comes from the occupants themselves. In confined spaces, pathogens such as viruses and bacteria can quickly spread over large areas, endangering the health of passengers and the driver. As various studies have proven, increasing the air exchange rate or air filtration rate reduces the risk of infection – especially if filter medias are tailor made to an ultra-high mechanical particle filtration.


The same applies to taxi drivers and their customers.

The main areas in which they drive are city centers, where traffic volume and the risk of congestion are naturally high. Without appropriate filters, fine dust, allergens, unpleasant odors, and contaminant gases can enter the interior via the fresh air supply. What is an unpleasant experience for the customer is a permanent burden for the driver. The high turnover of passengers in the car also increases the risk of infection from pathogens. Cabin air filters, which reliably and permanently remove pathogens, including viruses, from the air, are a tried and tested means of providing optimum protection in this particular workplace.


Long-distance drivers spend a lot of time in the cab.

It is where they drive, eat, and sleep. Not only are they exposed to high levels of pollution due to the tunnel effect on highways, but they are also exposed to poor air quality during breaks in car parks and service areas. Prolonged exposure can result in health problems. It is therefore all the more important to drive a vehicle with a high-performance cabin air filter. This should, of course, be replaced regularly at least twice a year according to the periodical maintenance plan, to benefit from filter performance in the long term.

Agricultural vehicles

Conventional agriculture is making use of a variety of different agents for crop protection against predators and fungi.

Such treatments are typically dispersed using tractors or other agricultural vehicles. Airborne contaminants will accumulate inside the driver’s cab if the cabin air filtration is inadequate. Pesticides and liquid fertilizers in dust, vapor, or aerosol form are often toxic or highly harmful to health if humans come into direct contact with them. It is for this reason that the EU standard EN 15695 (-1 and -2) specifies cabin air contamination measures for agricultural vehicles. Agriculture filter categories 2, 3, and 4 provide different levels of filtration for different operating requirements. Agriculture filter category 4 offers the highest level of protection and should always be applied when the driver could come into contact with hazardous pesticides. 

Construction vehicles

The huge number of materials unloaded, mixed, and dismantled on construction sites results in constant dust.

Mixing cement produces silica dust, which is made up of particles a hundred times smaller than a grain of sand. When airborne, these particles can penetrate deep into the lungs, damage the lung tissue, lead to chronic respiratory diseases, and even cause lung cancer. Even without cement dust, poor air quality on construction sites regularly leads to diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Mining vehicles

The extraction of raw materials is an essential part of our economy.

Minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earths are crucial for the transition to alternative energies. Nevertheless, it remains a dirty, exhausting undertaking, especially for the workers in the mines and quarries. Asbestos, silica, and other hazardous substances can enter vehicle cabins. For this reason, a new standard (ISO 23875) for air quality in mining vehicle cabins has been developed and stipulates basic protective measures, including pressurized cabins and high-performance cabin air filters for outside and recirculated air.

Although many commercial vehicle drivers experience poor air quality as a constant, the goal should still be to ensure that every workplace is safe and poses no risk to health. This makes it all the more important to provide for clean air without airborne impurities or contaminants. In many cases, the most important component is a reliable cabin air filter, tailored to the requirements of the respective application.

Learn more about different cabin air filtration solutions on our website.

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