Depending on your job and workplace, you may be exposed to numerous allergens as you work. Consider this partial list.
- Latex gloves or equipment
- Ink toner
- Cleaning chemicals
- Floor wax
- Cigarette smoke
- Food, including nuts and dairy
- Paint fumes
- Pet dander
Possible Allergic Reactions
The allergic reaction you experience can be mildly annoying or severe and life threatening. Be aware of these possible reactions.
- Contact dermatitis
- Swelling around your mouth or elsewhere
- Trouble breathing
- Anaphylactic shock
What to do if you Have an Allergic Reaction
Seek medical treatment as soon as you suspect you’re having an allergic reaction. To provide the best possible treatment, your doctor or emergency medical personnel may ask for a list of possible allergens to which you may have been exposed.
How to Prevent Allergic Reactions
While you can’t always prevent allergen exposure, you can advocate for an allergen-free work environment. Ask about switching to natural cleaning supplies or banning peanut butter as you remove allergens that affect you and your co-workers.
You may also take protective measures. Wear gloves, use a respirator or open a window as you reduce exposure to your known allergens.
Request special accommodations, too, especially if you have a known allergy. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), you’re considered disabled if your allergy limits your activity level. In this case, you can request that your employer improve ventilation throughout the building or allow you to work a different shift when allergen use is limited.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
By law, your employer must provide a safe work environment. If you suffer an allergic reaction to chemicals, cleaning supplies or something else and can’t perform your job, you may be eligible to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation benefits could cover your medical treatment, a portion of your lost wages and other expenses. However, you must prove that the allergic reaction stemmed from something at work and not food, medication or another environmental condition you encounter at home or elsewhere.
If working conditions or environmental factors cause you to suffer an allergic reaction, you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Discuss your specific case with your Human Resources manager and doctor as you protect yourself at work.