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    Post: Workplace health concerns

    Posted by Alyzza A on 5/15/06

    Our division of approximately 50 people has recently been
    moved and crammed into another office space and I believe
    that it was done in the interest of saving money at the
    cost of our health. We now work in an "open work
    environment" where each of us has a small half-hexagon work
    place. There is not a 90-degree angle at any corner, wall,
    or hallway, and it is disorienting. There is about a foot
    and a half high barrier between me and the 3 people who sit
    facing me on the other side. When they sneeze, I feel
    their spray because they will not cover their mouths. My
    primary concern is that since we were moved there in
    February, there is a large area of uncovered ceiling
    exposing the steel beams that have been sprayed with some
    type of fireproofing that hangs and breaks off into the
    air. I am positive that the 'dust problem' in there is
    directly related to this. I don't want it in my lungs and
    believe that this large area needs to be covered like the
    rest of the ceiling is. There are no plans to do this.
    Next, there are even more people scheduled to move in
    soon. The office is already seriously overcrowded, to the
    point where some of these people will have their tiny
    workspaces in a high-traffic hallway between the room and
    the exit to the kitchen, and elevator lobby. I can't
    imagine everybody having to climb all over this in the
    event of a fire. All of these people are taking a toll on
    the ventilation system, which feels clammy and miserable.
    Next, there is no protection at all for healthy workers who
    have to come to work when people with assorted sicknesses
    come in to infect the rest of us. I am a healthy person
    until I obviously catch the virus of the week, which can
    cost me a visit to a doctor, lost work time, and then for
    antibiotics. This is a classic sweatshop with no rules
    concerning radios, speakerphones, cell phones, or loud
    obnoxious talking or sneezing or coughing. I know I have
    the option to just quit, but since I am moving from the
    area in September I would _like_ to hold onto my job for at
    least that long in order to afford cobra payments. I don't
    want to hold on if it threatens my health and well-being.
    There is no hot water in the kitchen. A maid runs a very
    loud vacuum all over the place every day at 10:00am while
    some of us are trying to concentrate on our jobs. I think
    that's unnecessary since in every other building I've
    worked in they do this in the late afternoon. The maids
    cannot keep up with the bathrooms that largely remain dirty
    and crowded. The environment, lack of concern among the
    management, is having a mental, if not physical effect on
    my ability to do the best that I can do at a senior level,
    in a highly technical job. It is impossible for me to wade
    through all the county codes and try to understand them.
    Bottom line: I think the place (and this is the gov't) has
    some serious compliance issues with health and fire codes.
    Other than just give up and quit, do I have any
    alternatives? Is there someone I can call to just come in
    and look at the place and decide whether it *is* in
    compliance? If so, who? Or should I just sit back,
    accept, and grin and bear it, and hope I don't get really

    Posts on this thread, including this one
  • Workplace health concerns, 5/15/06, by Alyzza A.

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