Have you ever walked in a building or sat in an office and couldn’t breathe? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that if 20% of the work force (in an office) has symptoms, ranging from shortness of breath to miscarriage, indicating that the building could be labeled as “sick”. But how can the average person see the signs? And what can you do if you complain, and that others label you as a hypochondriac, or management sights budgetary constraints as reasons not to act, both of which happen more often than not. Do you just blame it on the symptoms and keep your mouth shut?
If you suspect your building might be contributing to your symptoms, here are some suggestions:
- Take pictures of discolored or wet ceilings or furniture.
- Ask to record conversations with company personnel about the problem.
- Put your complaints in writing, making sure to point out that you know management cares about employees and productivity.
- You may be entitled to workers’ comp or disability if you have already suffered lasting problems. Call OSHA for a clinic near you and find out what to do in order to have your facility formally assessed. You may be asked to submit to a home inspection or psychiatric exam. Don’t be offended, this is a normal part of the process. You may even be offered early retirement.
- Go to OSHA or the EPA directly to ask for an air-quality assessment. You may have to get more than one person to complain.
- If you can’t get satisfaction, it may be time to look for another job. Your health is too important to stay and stand your ground, perhaps for years.
- Anonymously call us at (781) 963-8813 and give us the particulars of your case, including who the point of contact would be for us to schedule a No Cost, No Obligation survey of your facility.
Remember, ONLY YOU can prevent Sick Building Syndrome!