4 Allergens to Avoid in the Office and How to Adjust for Them

Most employees do not associate their sneezing, watering of eyes, and coughing at their desks with possible allergens lurking in the office atmosphere that can become dangerous hazards for employees and even for customers who have allergies. It is known that dust, mildew, mold in poorly ventilated and close quarters, bacteria, excess moisture, chemicals, cleaners and disinfectants, fumes, and other factors can cause allergic reactions in many people. However, these serious triggers may be right where an employee has to work on a regular basis. Here are a few ways to identify and prevent unnecessary exposure in the workplace.

Dust

There are 24.5 million missed workdays throughout the nation annually that are attributed to occupational asthma. However, your office workspace can be made safe for even those with serious allergies or asthmatic triggers. The best way to ensure this is to have your office professionally cleaned and dusted regularly. Often neglected are the office equipment, computers, electrical cords, baseboards, where walls meet floors, window blinds, window sills and wells, upholstered office furniture, and underneath the fixtures and furniture.

Mold

Drop ceilings are popular in many commercial businesses, offices of all sorts, restaurants, and in some homes. However, those ceilings can harbor a number of problems, also including HVAC condensation, roof leaks, plumbing problems, and more. High-quality waterproof ceiling tile is one way to combat mold development in your office. Waterproof tiles can resist mold growth in one of the hardest to reach and clean places in the office. As long as the rest of the office is maintained as well, then mold spores should not be a major concern.

Pollution

Many offices are built in areas of high air pollution, such as near highways or near industrial areas. While you may not be able to move the entire office away from these areas, effects on the air quality within the building can be mitigated with the proper precautions. High quality ventilation and air filtration, as well as proper insulation on doors and windows, can keep clean air circulating inside while the pollution stays out. If your area is particularly prone to poor air quality, consider checking the measured air quality through weather reports and allow for days off on particularly hazardous days for those with asthma or severe sensitivity.

Food Allergies

Many people today suffer from common food allergies, such as sensitivity to gluten and dairy. While dairy can be avoided by those who pack their own food, those with high gluten sensitivity, such as those who suffer from Celiac Disease, are put at risk from cross-contamination. Even more severe allergies, such as peanut allergies, can also be triggered by cross contamination in the office. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of who in the office has severe food allergies and make accommodations. This may include creating a separate, allergen-friendly space in your breakroom where they can prepare their lunches without fear of cross contamination. Regular kitchen-area cleaning must also be observed to avoid buildup of allergens over time.

While not everyone has severe allergies, many in the office experience debilitating symptoms that could have been avoided with the proper precautions by management and coworkers. In order to create a safe and productive workspace, be aware of the allergens that may be present in your office and take proactive steps to keep your employees safe.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.