What is Sick Building Syndrome?

According to the National Health Service (NHS), “Sick building syndrome (often referred to as SBS) is the name for symptoms you only get whilst in a particular building, such as an office”. SBS isn’t namely an illness or even in fact a physical reaction. It is the human bodies stress response to an inadequate environment in the workplace. The symptoms of SBS are extremely common and can be caused by a number of things within an office building. Symptoms of SBS are as followed:

  • Headaches
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Dry and sore eyes
  • Rashes
  • Tiredness and difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea and dizziness


What causes SBS?

The NHS state that poorly maintained air ventilation and conditioning systems can contribute many factors that may cause SBS. Where these symptoms can occur due to poor conditions within the work environment, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have found that inadequate air ventilation and conditioning systems are providing workplaces with a number of factors affecting SBS. SBS can create low morale and dissatisfaction, making for an unproductive work environment.


Poor ventilation and conditioning systems are creating discomfort with high temperatures and low humidity. Where high temperatures generally lead to discomfort, low humidity levels can have many impacts on the work environment. If the humidity drops below 20% it can possibly cause irritation to both a person’s skin as well as their eyes. On the flip side, high levels of humidity exceeding 70% can be uncomfortable for people in the workplace, as well as be potentially harmful to their health, by contributing to the development of surface condensation and mould growth.


Inadequate air ventilation and conditioning systems can also be spreading pollution into your workplace environment. Airborne pollutants such as respiratory carbon dioxide, tobacco smoke and any outdoor pollution filtering inside, can have toxic, irritant and allergenic effects on people within the workplace. This could be because the system is situated near areas affected by traffic on the road and any smoking areas. These systems may also have poor filters which are allowing harmful pollutants into these systems.


How can Clean Air 24 Seven help with SBS?

Clean Air 24 Seven are able to send qualified technicians to help deal with your air ventilation and conditioning requirements. Our technicians will be able to audit your system to see exactly what is required to prevent SBS from affecting your workplace. This can range from taking tests to see whether your systems are due a clean, your systems filters need upgrading or replacing and auditing your LEV systems to make sure they are correctly and efficiently removing any pollutants and dust particles from your workplace.


If you have any enquiries on how Clean Air 24 Seven can help your workplace prevent SBS, visit: www.cleanair24seven.co.uk, call: 0203 6408 247, or email: info@24sevengroup.co.uk

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