Loggers, construction workers, and Alaskan crab fisherman are not the only people at risk on the job. While catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries from heavy machinery and spinal cord damage from high falls might grab headlines, hundreds of thousands of workers suffer in silence through less dramatic yet completely debilitating health conditions. In fact, countless people are affected by chronic breathing problems caused by poor indoor air quality. Severe coughing, sneezing, headaches, and even asthma can strike office, factory, shipping, manufacturing, and all types of workers that are employed by companies that fail to uphold their duty of care when in it comes to the quality of air their employees breathe. Poor indoor air quality not only affects quality of life and health, it also destroys worker productivity, which can affect evaluations, pay, raises, and the employees’ future with the company. To suffer economically as well as physiologically is unfair, especially when it is no fault at all on the part of the employee. If you find yourself inflicted by the symptoms of poor indoor air quality and your repeated attempts to have your employer address and fix the problem lead to no solution, it may be time to contact a Charlotte, North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney.
The Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality
There are various causes of unsuitable working conditions when it comes to air quality. The environment may be too hot, stuffy, cold, or humid. It may be excessively dry, which can cause nosebleeds, coughs, and other ailments. There may be an unhealthy level of carbon dioxide, mold spores, or dust caused by nearby construction or an office remodel. Paint, glue, and other fumes may cause nausea and faintness. Even excessive perfume or other artificial odors can induce allergic reactions and breathing problems for some people. Employers have an obligation to ensure a comfortable, safe, healthy working environment for all of their employees. If they fail to take action and fix the poor air quality in a timely fashion, they may end up being held liable for any office workers’ declining health.
Types of Poor Indoor Air Quality
The United States Department of Labor reports the following types of health concerns for workers suffering from poor indoor air quality:
- High temperature ;
- Excessive humidity;
- Unsuitable ventilation;
- Mold spores;
- Other fungi; and
- Toxic chemicals.
These issues can be caused by the following:
- A non-functioning air conditioning system may not be able to keep up with the cooling demands, especially in the summer. This can lead to dehydration, headaches, and a lack of productivity;
- A poor ventilation system won’t allow enough fresh air to be brought in from outdoors, leading to excessive carbon dioxide. Or, the air from outside may be contaminated for various reasons. Lastly, the filter may be clogged or need to be changed, which is the duty of the employer;
- If there is standing water, leaks, flooding, or pooling water there may be a build of humidity and dampness, which can cause upper respiratory illnesses;
- Construction outside or inside remodeling can bring on a barrage of paint fumes, drywall dust, glue fumes, and other air pollutants that can cause serious health problems; and
- Smoking near building entrances, perfumes, and other artificial fragrances can cause coughing fits and allergic reactions.
If you have experienced any of the symptoms of poor indoor air quality and your employer has consistently failed to uphold their duty in solving the problem and giving you a safe, healthy work environment, contact an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney today.