Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Workplace policies to accommodate chemical sensitivities

There are ways to protect chemically sensitive
workers from low level everyday exposures.
Chemical sensitivities are on the rise – experts estimate that up to 16 percent of the population may be affected by low levels of everyday chemicals at home and on the job.

While some people develop extreme chemical sensitivities that are chronic and disabling, others can be managed with the right types of precautionary measures and policies.

In a recent presentation with the title “Accommodating Consumers and Staff with Chemical Sensitivities” by the National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc., Mary Lamielle listed workplace policies and measures that are recommended for people affected by CS.

The recommendations include
  • No smoking policy
  • Fragrance-free policy
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) to avoid pesticide exposure
  • Promotion of least toxic  or low impact cleaning and maintenance products, practices, materials and remodeling substances
  • Notification policy
  • Vehicle idling policy
  • Cell phone and EMF shielding policy
  • Private office with window that opens for person with chemical sensitivities
  • Increasing fresh air supply and ventilation
  • Swap carpeting with hard surface flooring and discuss suitability of all materials with affected person
  • Keep immediate work environment free of office equipment (i.e. large format printers)
  • Off-gas all new materials, furnishings, supplies before installation
  • Metal or glass desk and shelving (no veneered wood or particle board to avoid formaldehyde emissions)
  • Work schedule options and work-from-home options
  • Educate management and co-workers to avert stigma and harassment
Carbon or charcoal is the best
air filter media for chemicals,
gases and odors.

A worker with chemical sensitivities may also need to use a charcoal mask or other personal protection equipment, oxygen, a carbon + HEPA air filter, a reading box, low emission equipment and localized exhaust for office equipment, incandescent or natural lighting as opposed to fluorescent lighting, a speaker phone and intercom system to participate in meetings as well as an assistant or errand runner.

Source: National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, Inc.

Carbon and HEPA air cleaners for the workplace

Good indoor air quality is a must for workers suffering from chemical sensitivities.

Unfortunately, most indoor environments – including offices, schools, restaurants, hospitals and other settings – can expose workers to indoor air pollutants such as chemicals, gases, odors, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

Electrocorp has developed highly efficient and portable air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications that feature the most relevant filtration media (deep-bed granular activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV germicidal filtration), the largest adsorbent surface areas and the most customizable options and features.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

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