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Sneaky health hazards at work

  • Published at 09:27 am January 9th, 2017
Sneaky health hazards at work
It’s old news that your office isn’t the cleanest place ever. And it won’t hurt to be a little cautious and prevent those pesky skin infections or contagious flu that’s lurking right around your cubicle.

Tame the city sound

Are you worried about the old, noisy generator downstairs distracting you while you’re halfway through preparing a slideshow for the next meeting? Guess what, you have bigger fish to fry. When noise is higher than 85-decibels (which is equivalent to all the honking in a regular traffic jam in Dhaka) it may result in hearing damage. Not only are these elevated sound levels harsh on the ear, they may cause hypertension, elevated blood pressure, annoyance, headaches and fatigue, besides hearing impairment. Not sure if there’s any environmental noise regulation in the country but it’s probably not functioning even if it does exist.

What to do:

You can’t put everything and everybody on mute but you can start with throwing a pair of earmuffs on. If there’s a particular piece of equipment at work that’s making the noise, ask the administrator to locate it in an isolated area. Alternatively, suggest them to run it before or after the working hours if possible. And if you’ve got the dough, go ahead and install those soundproofing panels in your office room.

Keyboard junkie

You already know that your office bathrooms are packed with germs, but guess what’s even filthier? Your keyboard at work. Studies show that germs at work travel almost as fast as the speed of light. Well, we may have gone too far with the comparison there but it really does take only a few hours for germs to travel from the entrance door to half the office – according to a study that the University of Arizona in Tucson recently carried out. You don’t know what kind of infectious germs you’re coming in contact with just by touching your keyboard.

What to do:

The golden rule of thumb applies here again – make sure your administrative team is taking care of all the disinfecting and cleaning of employees’ desks. That would prevent viruses from spreading. Next, it would surely help a great deal to wear a pair of gloves at work. But if that’s a faux pas for you, make sure to wash your hands before you can be comfortably seated at your desk. Keep a hand sanitiser and some anti-bacterial wipes ready in the top drawer for a quick swipe over your keyboard. Don’t forget the mouse.

Paint fumes

Asthma patients, beware! If your employer is getting the office repainted, try being stationed in a different room on a temporary basis till the paint sets and dries. Most of us don’t even have to be an asthma patient to be allergic to the paint fumes – they’ve got all the ingredients to induce skin irritation, blurred vision and chemical pneumonia.

What to do:

Start by wearing a surgical mask as you enter your office and try to have a temporary cubicle set up elsewhere where there’s no paint fumes. If you have asthma, be well prepped to handle those acute attacks and keep your prescribed medicine and inhaler handy. Next, make sure that the management is ritually ventilating the painted area on a regular basis to let in as much fresh air as possible till the fumes subside. If you notice any negligence, don’t hesitate to write an email to their supervisor in ALL CAPS.
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