When employees suffer health or comfort issues linked to time spent in a building, and no specific illness is at fault,“Sick Building Syndrome” could be the culprit. Many times the cause can be flaws in the HVAC system, which can be fixed with regular maintenance. Sometimes, though, the cause is mold, use of industrial chemicals, or lack of fresh air.
A few symptoms of this phenomenon include sinus or skin irritation, headaches, fatigue, and aches/pains. Symptoms usually disappear when occupants leave the specific room or building, and reappear when they return to that area. In some cases, individuals can have long-term health effects from the irritant. An onset of symptoms often occurs for several individuals in as little time as a few weeks. Symptoms can also reappear seasonally due to the use of heating or cooling equipment.
Inadequate ventilation, chemical use, vehicle exhaust, bacteria, mold, pollen and viruses can all cause SBS. Dirty filters and poor maintenance of HVAC systems can also cause Sick Building Syndrome.
To find out if a building is “sick”, a diagnosis by a trained occupational health or industrial expert should be performed. They will perform a walkthrough and likely survey the building occupants for common symptoms. An expert may make recommendations to improve building health based on many observations, including poor cleaning quality, poor ventilation, or water damage.
There are ways to help prevent your building from becoming sick. It starts with proper design and good maintenance of buildings. You can also clean roof shingles; use ozone to eliminate molds and bacteria; replace ceiling tiles and carpet; and make sure that chemical use is minimal in well ventilated areas. Increasing air exchanges and proper maintenance of HVAC systems is also helpful. Call the Pleune Service team at 800.447.6907 to find out more about what you can do for a sick building.
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