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Oct 19, 2012

Keep offices clean to avoid employee sick-breaks urges Allergy UK report

As temperatures are set to dip, businesses have been advised to check their heating and ventilation systems to help prevent the spread of work-related illness.

The advice comes as one of several measures outlined following the Allergy UK’s ‘Work Fever’ report. It found 27% of workers felt symptoms such as eye, throat and nasal problems, headaches, lethargy and skin complaints were worsened at work.

The report found 73% of workers had taken sick leave in the past year, with 42% having to take time off due to allergies. 14% were out of work for between four and ten days.

Businesses have been warned of allergy ‘hotspots’ such as carpets, bookcases and plants, as well as a general lack of ventilation, as potential causes.

Allergy UK believes these figures could be reduced by ‘actively minimising allergens in the workplace’. They have advised businesses to take the following measures:

  • Check heating and ventilation systems are up to date.
  • Invest in air purification methods for areas with limited ventilation.
  • Consider smooth or flocked carpets and flooring recommended by Allergy UK.
  • Keep plants clean, well-watered and free from mould.
  • Clean offices regularly and thoroughly.

Employees are also recommended to help themselves, and are encouraged to:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Keep a clean desk environment.
  • Store coats away from heavy ‘traffic’ areas to prevent the spread of dust.

Download Allergy UK’s full report into workplace-related illness and allergies from their website.

Learn more about indoor allergies from NHS Choices.


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