How To Handle Allergens In The Workplace

Numerous environmental conditions at your workplace can cause you to suffer an allergic reaction that ranges from mild to life-threatening. If you’re affected by an allergy, you may be eligible to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Consider these tips as you reduce allergens at work and protect yourself.

Common Workplace Allergens

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

  • Perfume

  • Cigarette smoke

  • Dust

  • Food, including nuts and dairy

  • Mold

  • Asbestos

  • Aerosols

  • Paint fumes

  • Dye

  • Pollen

  • 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

  • Sneezing

  • Pain

  • Swelling around your mouth or elsewhere

  • Hives

  • Itching

  • 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.
Need insurance for You, Your Family or Your Business?
We can match you to a qualified, local insurance expert!
Further Reading
Racism occurs when anyone expresses bias verbally, in writing or via behavior or attitude toward someone of a different skin color or ethnicity. Overt racism, including slurs, jokes and name calling, and covert racism, including avoidance, ridicule o...
Most states demand that businesses, regardless of size, take every reasonable action to keep their premises safe for employees and visitors. The definition of visitors is fairly loose. Basically, it is anyone not employed by the business and cover...
In recent years, employers across the United States have been paying more and more attention to promoting the wellness of their employees. One way that many employers are focusing on the wellness of their employees is by offering a workplace wellness...
Chemicals in the workplace are ubiquitous as they help workers complete their work, The benefits of using chemicals also has some drawbacks as some chemicals are hazardous and cause injury or illness. They need training that teaches them chemical saf...
Stress affects more than nine in 10 employees, reports the International Stress Management Association (ISMA). And when your employees or co-workers experience stress, they may contribute to accidents, cause injuries or underperform, which increases ...