We need a good working environment with clean air in order to be able to function properly. Environmental factors sometimes have a great impact on an employee's health. These factors not only determine whether an employee experiences the environment on the shop floor as pleasant or irritating, but they can even cause direct harm to health. Air in the workplace is often different to air outdoors. Various work processes can cause the concentrations of harmful substances, gases and vapours to be much higher than the standards set by the government and often it is not possible to see or smell these. In the shoe repair industry for instance, dirty air is caused by grinding rubber soles and when working with glue and solvents. This poor-quality air can cause health issues such as airway problems, eye and skin irritation, allergic reactions, headaches and concentration difficulties. These days we try to manage expensive working hours as carefully as possible, as after all sick employees mean disruption to the production process. Therefore the problem of air quality in the workplace is more than ever a topical issue.

schoenmakerijVanLaerEdegem02This means it is necessary to take measures to improve the quality of air in the workplace. This can be done by either limiting the emissions of harmful substances or by refreshing the air. Fortunately there are some excellent solutions in the form of advanced dust removal systems which meet the latest guidelines and are fitted with innovative suction technologies. Jos America, a company that is specialised in these technologies for the orthopaedic shoe technology and the shoe repair industry, removes even the smallest fine dust particles from the air with its Flexam vacuum and filter technology. Furthermore, their many years of experience and choice of special fans results in an extremely silent system.

Various authorities are constantly setting more stringent requirements for air freshening systems. These need to undergo regular inspections where the dust filters are replaced on time and the suction channels are cleaned. Purchase and maintenance usually require an investment that is not insignificant.



 Financial subsidy for investments in machines and suction systems

Fortunately there are initiatives that encourage the improvement of air quality in the workplace. For instance, in France the French Federation for Shoemakers (FFCM) and the national health insurance fund for employees (CARSAT) signed a national targets agreement. Thanks to this agreement, French shoemakers can now apply for a financial subsidy which they can invest in machines and suction systems for improving the working environment in their workplace, for themselves and for their employees. Aside from air quality, ergonomics is also of great importance. In this regard, CARSAT can issue a proof of inspection which enables employers to be eligible much more quickly for a subsidy for their investment costs with the local authorities.

Ideal working environment for Hardouin shoe repairers

Mr Hardouin has had a shoe repair business in the French commune of Chalon-sur-Saône since 1995. He has been a lay expert since last year. He had Flexam machines with external dust suction by Jos America installed to tackle the dust and noise problems. He is now so enthusiastic about the result that he enjoys showing his revamped workplace to fellow professionals/shoe repair colleagues as a showroom. He enjoys talking about the improvements in the air quality that he has achieved with the help of the Flexam machines and the V80 suction system. Michel also uses this opportunity to acquaint them with the many options fitted to the Flexam machines. For instance, the machines can be adapted with the help of the automatic height adjuster to the ideal working height of any user. Michel and his fellow workers now enjoy their work far more. Furthermore, customers have also been greatly impressed by the improvements and they appreciate the cleanliness and good appearance of the workplace.

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