When workers complain of fatigue, sore throats and itchy eyes, many business owners assume they are suffering from either a viral infection or allergies. In fact, it could be the air quality in the workplace that is making them ill. According to air quality consulting services, sick building syndrome is a major cause of workplace illness in Australia today.
What Is Sick Building Syndrome?
Sick building syndrome, sometimes called SBS, is a state of poor indoor air quality. The air in sick buildings contains dust, chemicals, mould spores or other substances that lead to workers feeling unwell.
What are the Symptoms?
If several of your employees suffer from the following symptoms, SBS could be the cause:
Sore or hoarse throats
Trouble concentrating on work
Many of these symptoms can also be signs of other conditions, such as colds, flu and pollen allergies. However, these other causes typically resolve relatively quickly. If your employees suffer from the same symptoms throughout the year, only feeling better when they take time off work, then SBS is likely to be the cause.
How Bad is SBS?
The government estimates that low-quality indoor air could cost the Australian economy up to $12 billion per year. If the indoor air quality in your business is poor, you are likely to lose out on productivity as your workers struggle to focus in spite of their symptoms.
What Can Cause Sick Building Syndrome?
Many substances can contribute to poor indoor air quality. The most serious cases of sick building syndrome arise from hazardous building materials, such as asbestos or materials that contain formaldehyde. If your workplace is damp, mould might also contribute to SBS. Milder cases are attributable to excessive dust circulating in the indoor air system.
What Can You Do About Sick Building Syndrome?
Cleaning the filters in your air conditioning system, along with vacuuming carpets and cleaning surfaces, can dramatically cut down on the amount of dust circulating in your workplace. This simple step can help to resolve a lot of respiratory symptoms in your workers.
For more stubborn cases of SBS, you need to work with an air quality consulting service. Air quality professionals can analyse the air in your building, find out what is reducing its quality and recommend steps that you can take to have a healthier workplace where everyone can breathe freely.