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SICK, SICK, DATA

This week has been rough! I wore every hat I own (full time EHS pro, business owner, Board Member, blogger, sister, aunt, fiancee, doggy mom, and literally everything else). The problem, is that life just doesn't stop.

Replica footage of my week


Right when I went to clock out for some "me time". My watch sent me a notification reminding me that I have a sales goal, but I didn't have any marketing efforts active. So I did what I do best, I told the app to run a business report, identify the best products, how much money would be needed, and the expected return. EASY! I had all the data I needed to make a decision.


I could have used my best judgement and went with a $30 Facebook ad focused on new products. But the analytics told me that based on the site visitation, a retargetting ad would yield the best results. Needless to say my professional judgement was way off.



As I finally sat down, I was reminded of how much information we have at our fingertips, and how useful it can be in decision making. There just isn't enough time in the day, and sometimes that's true when people are expecting me to keep them safe and healthy at work.


My favorite scenario, and there are many, was a time a man was experiencing sick building syndrome. Basically, there was something in the building that was causing him to be sick. We had assessed the area, cleaned it, adjusted the air conditioning, and most people were happy. But this one guy, he was just sick every time he came to work. Based on the knowledge of these circumstances, the team used their best judgement to rectify to the situation.




Since we couldn't figure out how to provide a healthy workplace for this person, I decided to use data to to provide me further guidance. I placed an indoor air quality meter that was meant to measure parameters like temperature, carbon dioxide, humidity, and particulate matter in his work area. Particulate matter are particles in the air that range in size. Think about the little pieces of dust you see floating through the air.


Once those particles are smaller than 10 micrometers, they are small enough to make it to the lungs and can cause irritation. The body has natural defenses, like nose hairs and mucous to capture particles larger than this, but the really small guys can cause some issues.


After a 24 hour period, I downloaded the data and created all types of graphs. What I found was that when the temperature dropped, the particulate matter (PM) 2.5 increased. Basically, the smallest sized particles we could measure were being agitated by the a/c. The best information we had to that point.


After further investigation, we learned that there was a section of the a/c ducting that was lined back in the 1960's with some type of insulating material. So when the a/c turned on, the particles were pushing out right to him. No wonder he was sick!


We got the duct replaced, the employee wasn't sick at work, and we would have never been able to make the determination without leveraging technology to make the decision.


Bottom line, whether the need is using insights to know when to post on social media, or using instruments that have data collection properties, work smarter-not harder. There just isn't enough time of the day not to leverage what we have at our fingertips.




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