Sick Building Syndrome – Are Your Employees At Risk?
Sick Building Syndrome has been noted across offices and other commercial set-ups since the 1970s. It refers to a situation where the inhabitants of a building or office suffer from health problems that occur and get aggravated during their presence in the office. Read on to know if your employees are suffering from sick building syndrome.
Let’s begin with a list of questions-
Are most of your employees or occupants of your facility always lethargic or fatigued?
Do they complain of headache, dizziness, or nausea all the time?
Are they suffering from irritation of the mucous membrane?
Are most of them showing sensitivity to odors?
If you have answered the questions above with a “Yes”, then in all probability, your employees are possibly suffering from Sick Building Syndrome. You can further confirm your diagnostics by verifying whether their allergies get aggravated when they are sitting in office and if their symptoms disappear when they are not in the building.
Understanding Sick Building Syndrome:
If a majority of your employees experience acute on-site discomfort, then as the owner, you have to get rid of the problems in your building that may be causing such allergic reactions. After deep and extensive research, the causes of Sick Building Syndrome have been listed as: poor design, maintenance and a faulty ventilation system of the building. In some cases, if you have made some interior decoration changes (like installation of partitions), then they too could have stopped or barred normal ventilation.
Among other natural factors leading to SBS, humidity can be instrumental. While high humidity may add to biological pollutant problems, low humidity levels may increase the effects of mucosal irritants. If your building has poor lighting, non-supporting ergonomic conditions, temperature extremes or too much noise, then these can also act as contributing factors to Sick Building Syndrome.
In fact, when you get your commercial facility professionally cleaned, you are exposing your employees to sickness and allergies. This is because most cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that pollute the air inside the building. These chemicals release VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) in the air, which may cause severe allergic reactions if inhaled. The VOCs contain a variety of chemicals including formaldehyde, benzene and perchloroethylene. The concentrations of many VOCs have always been found to be more indoors as compared to the outdoors. The health risks due to exposure to VOCs include – conjunctival irritation, headache, nose and throat discomfort, allergic skin reaction, nausea, fatigue and dizziness. These are only a few and the most common allergic reactions, there are further health complications that may occur too.
To deal with Sick Building Syndrome, you need to form a combat team of physicians, industrial hygienists and public health officials. This team will then investigate the cause of the SBS and suggest the best-suited solutions. As a parting shot, please be reminded that when you decide to get your commercial facility cleaned, look for a cleaning service that uses eco-friendly products that do not release any pollutants in the air. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) advises all property owners across the country to buy eco-friendly cleaning products or hire a green cleaning company.