3 Tips for maintaining a safe enviroment for asthma & allergy sufferers
Do you suffer from an allergy? No? How about asthma? Double no? Lucky you! If you’ve answered in the affirmative and also own a business, these tips can help you to improve your working environment, but really, this post is for those owners out there who have never bought a twelve week allotment of Telfast or rushed to the emergency room, clutching their chest.
Asthma and allergy sufferers are everywhere around us; ten percent of Australians puff on their inhaler every day, that’s roughly two million people nationwide who spend their whole lives fighting asthma attacks to various degrees (one in ten adults); similarly, nineteen percent of all Australians suffer from one allergy or another. As an employer and business owner, you are responsible to ensure your workplace is up to scratch and not exacerbating a potentially debilitating physical condition. Before you ruffle up, it’s not as hard as it could, as most allergies and asthma flare ups are the results of dust, pollen, dirt and of course, stress, four agents of doom you don’t want characterising your office space. So what can you do to ensure your employees work comfortably day in, day out?
Keep it Clean
A clean office is a happy office, and while the initial outlay of workplace cleaning may be a punch to the collective wallet, it is an OH&S responsibility to provide a safe, sanitised workplace for all employees. The good news is most cleaning services are affordable and willing to work with you, based on what you can afford (like AMC Australia ); routine cleansing of common areas, kitchens and desks will help your staff breathe easy, as mould has very little opportunity to build up and dust stands absolutely no chance against industry level machines. Additionally, encourage everyone to wipe down their desks daily, restricting airborne pathogens and potential mould from building and cultivating a home in unexpected places.
Say Goodbye to Green
No, we’re no encouraging you to abandon your paper saving plan or advocating for a less energy aware workplace; though the plants decorating the common area may have to go. Hayfever is a particularly prevalent affliction, affecting two in five adults; spores and pollen produced by plants may serve to irritate the symptoms of hay fever sufferers, despite adding an attractive quality to a bland office space. Replace the greenery with an interesting painting, ask the staff to chip in their opinions and perhaps buy a restored piece or two from an alternative artist to add an edge of attitude. Sculptures, standees, installations…the choices are limitless, as long as it isn’t alive!
Say No to Baking
Every office has somebody who loves to bake goodies for their favourite colleagues, practicing a new recipe and donating the proceeds to a bustling morning tea room; while this sense of community is fantastic, it may not be particularly safe. Food allergies are pervasive, everything from nuts to gluten, and some can be very deadly. Anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal consequence of food allergies, reactions to medication and insect stings – while sharing is caring at heart, perhaps alerting employees to the dangers of allergies and what to do in case of reaction will be a good first step in acknowledging the very real consequences of such reactions, implementing an action plan and inviting those with allergies to speak up.
Have you ever had a reaction at work? What caused it? How did your manager react? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Jedi Wang