Indoor air cleaning systems may help to reduce levels of allergens and pollutants in indoor air to create a cleaner, healthier work and home environment. There are a number of different types of air cleaners and filtration systems; HEPA, ULPA, carbon filter, electrostatic, electret, negative-ionizing, UV, and ozone generators. It's important to know the air cleaning needs for the situation when selecting an appropriate system. A word of caution is needed when choosing an air purifier. These are less effective in large areas and need to be designed for specific irritants. For example, certain air purifiers will not work for fragrances but will work for smoke. It's important to work with a vendor to make certain of what can be effective for the situation.
Traditional cleaning chemicals can trigger limitations for people with chemical sensitivities, fragrance sensitivities, migraine headaches, asthma and other respiratory impairments. To prevent limitations like respiratory difficulty, headaches, nausea, and tightening of the throat, investigate the use of alternative, non-toxic cleaning products, and fragrance-free cleaning products and practices.
Carpet Alternatives, Sealants, and Sustainable Flooring
Individuals who are sensitive to chemicals may experience symptoms and limitations after exposure to new carpeting. The following resources can assist with identifying 'safe' carpeting, carpet alternatives and carpet sealants.
Employees who experience limitations in concentration may need a flexible schedule in order to work optimally during hours of increased attentiveness. Flexible schedules can also be used to have a period of mental rest in order to refocus and reorient into his/her work. Examples of a flexible schedule would be adjusting starting and ending times of the workday, combining regularly scheduled breaks to create one extended break or dividing large breaks into smaller segments, and allowing work to be completed during hours when the employee is most mentally alert.
Floor Cleaning/Stripping Products - Chemical Sensitivity
The following companies offer floor cleaning and stripping products that are chemical-free. Contact the companies for more details to determine if the cleaning products will meet your specific cleaning needs and sensitivities.
Individuals who are sensitive to chemicals may experience symptoms and limitations after exposure to paints and stains. When painting, select products that emit low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many products are now formulated to meet this need. Sealers are also available to reduce the off-gassing of painted walls.
Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) or supplied air respirators are systems that can offer protection against inhaling chemicals or dangerous substances. These devices either use a fan to blow air through a filter to the user or use their own air tank. Some systems offer a full-face mask option while others are hooded.
Respirators are devices to protect individuals from inhaling dangerous substances, such as chemicals and infectious particles. There are several different types of respirators, including escape (used only in an emergency), particulate (only protect against particles), chemical cartridge/gas mask (clean chemical gases and possibly particles), honeycomb charcoal, powered air-purifying respirator (use a fan to blow air through a filter to the user), and self-contained breathing apparatus (use their own air tank).
Telework, within certain fields, can be an excellent alternative for employees who have conditions that make it difficult for them to leave their home or reliably travel to a place of work. Employers should consider if a job can be made compatible with telework for their employees and communicate their expectations and requirement for the job to be performed out of home. Allowing work from home during worksite or office construction; extremely hot, cold, or inclement weather; or parking renovations could be a reasonable accommodation.