What's lurking in your office?

Jun 06 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

The Times of India recently ran an interesting article about the allergies and irritants facing people today in modern office buildings.

While not every allergy or irritation is sufficient enough to induce a lawsuit, it can explain why you often feel bad while at the office Ė so-called "sick building syndrome".

Before you laugh it off, it is important to note that some allergies can become fatal with repeated exposure. Should you feel ill in the workplace, it's important to consult medical help and determine the cause of your allergy. Once determines, you can work with HR or management to determine the appropriate course of action.

According to the article:

"The chemical formaldehyde is present in rugs, upholstered furniture, wallpaper, draperies, paint, and cigarette smoke. It can cause cough, cold, sneezing, wheezing, sore nasal passage, flu-like symptoms, asthma, irritated throat or watery eyes. Poor air quality due to poor ventilation. Toxic gases including formaldehyde lurk around your computers and desks causing respiratory illnesses. Dust mites and other small insects are allergen carriers. Places where pesticides are not used, this can be a cause for allergy."

Should you develop a reaction to an irritant or allergen, make sure that your company is made clear of the issue immediately. Documentation provided by a health care specialist can also make the case for taking the necessary steps to eradicate the problem.

Even though I may have mocked the woman suing her employer because of bed bugs in an earlier post this week, it's more of a reaction to her emotional response to the situation rather than any medical or physical response.

Being serious for a moment, being safe at work is hardly a luxury - it's a right. And when our health and well-being are not being looked after, it's time to let the company know.