Because "office hazards are relatively new," says writer/researcher Joel Makower, "there are no tried and true methods of solving them." But there are steps like these to determine the extent of the problem:
Keep good records
* Number of people affected.
Where in the office they are located.
* The time of day, day of week, and time of year the problems occur.
* Specific symptoms or illnesses.
* A rough profile of workers experiencing problems, including ages and job descriptions.
List possible contributors
* Number of people in the office who smoke.
Machines of all kinds used in the area.
* Fluids, cleaning solutions, or other office products that might contain chemicals, and their ingredients, if known.
* Possible sources of pollution outside the building.
* Materials used in office carpets, curtains, shades and wall coverings that might attract dust or molds or contain irritating chemicals.
* Possible sources of psychological stress, including office automation equipment, worker-management problems, fast-paced work or constant deadlines.
* Miscellaneous factors that you feel may be important. To use this information
* Go through corporate channels to attempt a solution.
* If necessary, consult the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health or a state or local agency.
* Devise a plan of action, including setting priorities if correction requires major repairs or renovations. Such a list, says Makower, could serve "as a basis for negotiations with an employer or landlord."