Questions to Consider:
- What limitations is the employee experiencing?
- How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
- What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
- What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
- Has the employee been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
- Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
- Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?
Situations and Solutions:
A clerical employee was having difficulty breathing due to coworker fragrances and new carpet fumes.
The employee was placed in a more enclosed cubicle with an air purification system, coworkers were asked to decrease or eliminate the use of fragrances, and time the employee spent in the office was reduced by altering face-to-face communication with coworkers to telephone, e-mail, or fax. It was also suggested that the carpet be detoxified or removed and replaced with a non-toxic floor covering like tile or wood.
A teacher diagnosed with sick building syndrome was required to attend weekly faculty meetings in the school building.
She usually taught class from a portable classroom outside of the building and could not be in the school building for extended time. JAN suggested that she use either a speakerphone or public address (PA) system from her classroom to listen in and participate in the meetings, be provided with meeting minutes, or attend the meetings and wear a respirator mask if she felt comfortable doing so.
An outside laborer was having difficulty doing his job due to the fumes from the diesel equipment he was operating.
A portion of his time was spent operating heavy equipment while the rest of his time was spent as a laborer. He was better able to function as a laborer as he was not as exposed to the fumes performing laborer functions. JAN suggested he consider the use of a respirator mask to filter out the diesel fumes. Alternatively, his job could be restructuring so he only worked as a laborer or he could be reassigned to a vacant position that would accommodate the need to avoid exposure to diesel fumes.
A graphic arts professional whose company was in the process of remodeling was having some difficulty working in the building due to paint fumes and construction materials.
It was too far into the process to change the products that were being used so the company needed some other way to accommodate. The employee was able to work from home on a temporary basis during the remodeling phase of her portion of the building. The employee already had a computer at home so the employer provided all of the necessary software, modem, and a new telephone line to be used for business purposes only. The company also provided a fax machine so the employee could fax materials back and forth between the work-site and her home office. To monitor her work performance, the employee was required to respond to e-mails in a given time period and to keep a log of all work completed. The employee attended weekly meetings by speakerphone.
JAN Publications & Articles Regarding Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Consultants' Corner Articles
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