Employers must take better action to avoid sick building syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a collective term to describe when occupants of a specific building suffer from a related illness. Problems can either be localised to a specific room or more widespread throughout a building. The symptoms can manifest as headaches, blocked or runny noses, skin irritations, sore eyes or tiredness and difficulties with concentration. A number of building-related factors are linked to the condition with ageing offices and factories acting as magnets for sick building syndrome. Studies have shown that headaches and respiratory problems among office workers were directly related to the use of air conditioning and inadequate ventilation. Room temperature, light and noise, humidity, carbon dioxide, chemical contaminants (volatile organic compounds – VOCs), air quality and naturally occurring poisons can all inflame symptoms for sufferers requiring more precise control over environmental factors in the workplace. Making sure buildings are healthy for their occupants is a challenge. More →