How Can Allergic Rhinitis Be Prevented In The Workplace?How to mitigate the risk of developing work-related Allergic Rhinitis
How Can Allergic Rhinitis Be Prevented In The Workplace?
Employers have a responsibility to minimise the risks of any workplace injury or illness, and allergic rhinitis is no exception. By understanding the risks an employer should be able to manage the needs of employees both individually and collectively and this can be done in a variety of different ways.
The best way to avoid the development of Allergic Rhinitis in the workplace is by avoiding the allergens that can trigger the attacks, however this is not always possible. Allergens such as pollen can be present in the air around us wherever we may go, so there are a range of options for preventing the issues that these allergens can create:
This is the prevention of sensitisation to the allergen before it has a chance to develop into an issue. This can involve substituting potential agents for others that are less likely to cause problems, for example replacing Latex gloves with protective gloves made from other materials.
All employers should be aware of any potential allergens that could be present in the workplace, and their levels should be measured and monitored to ensure they do not breach health and safety guidelines.
If potential allergens are found to be present, and particularly if their levels are high enough to cause problems among workers, one of the best ways to prevent sensitisation is to ensure that areas where these levels are found to be high are contained, so that only the workers who absolutely need access to these areas are able to do so, and the allergens cannot escape into the wider environment.
To ensure that the air breathed by employees is as clean and free of allergens as possible, suitable ventilation should be installed in any working environment, particularly those where there is a high risk of dusts or vapours that could cause irritation.
Personal Protective Equipment is vital for those whose job involves exposure to potential allergens. Gloves, protective suits, eye protection and breathing apparatus can all be used effectively to reduce the risk of sensitisation or to protect workers who have been sensitized to certain elements.
If an employee is particularly susceptible to allergens, simply changing their role within the company, or even the location in which they work can make a huge difference in their health at work.
By monitoring employees’ health through a system of health surveillance, employers can identify any workers who might be exposed to potential allergens and can keep an eye on any developing symptoms. Questionnaires and allergy tests can bring to light potential issues before they have a chance to become detrimental to the employee’s health.
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