Unhealthy Work Environment!

Question:

Hoping you can help me with a question. I work in a very large, old office building, with old heating equipment. Every winter, once the heat is turned on, dust and dirt just pile up on everything in my office. I’ve known for years, but it was recently confirmed that I have severe allergies to dust and dust mites (among others). Like most people with allergies, this includes a runny nose, sinus headaches, sore throat, etc., every day.

Would it be appropriate to ask my boss if I could get an air purifier for my office? I am not sure how to approach this, because many people in my department have similar complaints. I know the building is not going to be updated with new heating any time soon. I’ve tried dusting my office myself, but that just sets off the symptoms. My boss is well aware that I have these allergies. I’d bring in my own, but I just can’t afford it. I have one for my home.

My biggest issue is, I don’t want to be treated differently from my coworkers who have allergies, but the symptoms are getting out of control. I do allergy shots, and take antihistamines daily, but it could take years before I am allergy-free. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Complains of Co-workers Saying He Smells!

Question:

A friend has been complaining of co-workers talking behind his back that he smells. He has seen the GP and Dentist. They gave him advice and he follows. I find nothing wrong with him, but it seems every time he goes to work, he is disturbed with comments. My worry is he has stopped eating proteins, onion, butter, milk, and he is depressed to the point of losing weight. Please help?

Signed,

Concerned

Answer:

Dear Concerned:

Since your friend has seen his physician and dentist and has received all the advice that he can get and you do not perceive that he smells, perhaps there is something else going on. I am wondering if your friend is really struggling with a hidden depression. He may be insecure in his work situation. His not eating, losing weight may reflect a depression. It bears looking into.

It should be established for a fact that he does or doesn’t have a hygiene problem. Sharing caring is what we call WEGO mindedness.

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Another Co-worker With B.O.!

Question:

I’ve read your other responses to employees with odor problems. The problem that we have is that this person works in our Quality department (we deal with food) with B.O. Not only is this an uncomfortable situation for us, customers who visit our facility and audit our ‘clean’ environment think when dealing with her. Her body odor is terrible. People try to avoid her when she comes around, but that’s almost impossible.

We’re trying to decide not only how to approach her, but whose responsibility it is to approach her (her supervisor or Human Resources). I’ve worked here for over two years and this problem still hasn’t been addressed. She does her job well, but her overall appearance (she’s very much over weight) and odor are offensive. She is a low-income person and doesn’t have very much money for things other than necessities, but we’d like to help in a positive way to fix the problem for all of us-help!

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