Asthma UK community forum

Asthma and Office Environment


I am new to the forums, I have had asthma since I was a baby, I am 31 now, and since the end of December 2007 my asthma has gotten alot worse. I was in hospital 11 times in 2008, and spent the whole year on predisolone, 2008 was a bit better, I was only in hospital 4 times, but had regular predisolone etc. This year started with me developing pluerisy, and then having asthma from the end of January till today - I am on Seretide, Ventolin, Montolukast and have just been put on a course of Predisolone again for 8 weeks. I use 4 ventolin inhalers a month round about. I really tried to get off to a good start this year, changed my diet - wheat free, did excersise, but no help.

My asthma has gotten worse since I started working at my current job (Dec 07), I sit in a small office 2m x 4m, I share the office with 2 x printers which are 2m x 1m each. I don't have an aircon in my office and temp ranges between 21 and 30 degrees celcius. I also have other machines - Gillotine, Hole punch machine etc in my office. The doors to my office are Fire Doors, and allthough it is illegal to shut them, I have them wedged open during the day, to allow some cooler air in from the rest of the office. I am printing over 7500 sheets of paper a week at the moment. My work knows that I suffer from asthma, I asked them to send me to the Occupational Health - it was my idea, when I was there the Dr said that he was going to recommend that they do an office analyis and pay particular attention to the air vents, cold air and hot air and dust - this was 24 Sep 10, and this still has not taken place.

We went through a redundancy process from Sep till Dec, so I didn't want to query as I was concerned for my job, I managed to save my job, but I got TUPED over to another company - but still do the same job, in the same environment just get paid by another company. I have spoken to my new bosses and they are very sympathetic, but they don't want to tell my old company to make sure my office enviroment is safe - as they are concerned that my old company will say that I am too unfit to work there, so they are trying other means like changing my paper that I use to print to something with a coating so it hopefully produces a little less dust, they are buying me medical masks to wear in the office - so I don't breathe in the dust - and we are going to see how it goes.

My problem is that everyone says oh shame tammy has asthma, and tammy is sick, but it is the office environment that is making me sick - I shared this office with someone else who was sick with asthma and colds whilst he was here, and now is not sick at all - I tried to tell them that if they put a healthy person in this office for 2 weeks, that person would be just as sick.

How do I fight my corner - is there any documentation anywhere about office environments, they have never had an office assesment and I work in my office alone, with a few people passing every so often, fortunately my asthma starts with coughing so I can generally telll, when I am in trouble, but what happens if I have a severe asthma attack and there is no one around to help me.

I know I should get a new job, and I am looking, but the current financial climate isn't the best environment for a new job, and I really feel that my old company should be held accountable, even my specialist said to me if my astham gets worse the company is to blame - unfortunately I am no longer seeing her, so I cant get help from her, and when I speak to my GP, he is more concerned about making me well.

Any help is appreciated - I really want my life back

3 Replies

Hope you get some answers, sticking you in a room with 2 printers won't help, they are such dust collectors.I'm allergic to all pollen and was a florist for 20 years, glad I'm not doing that now or I would be dead. I had to leave as the flowers were killing me.

Good luck



I would talk to Health & Safety at your local council, or CAB for advice.

I found working near a photocopier was very bad for me when I worked in an office. I avoided it like the plague & refused to have it in my office. I've found my asthma has been better since I gave up working. I live in the country & my office was in town. The air pollution was to blame.

Saying that--I've been bad this winter. Seems I've now delevoped an allergy to either my dogs or dust mites. Ain't life a bummer.


I had a job in a banks mailroom and this flared my asthma up at start of year. I had been free of symptoms for 15 years. I was handling documents that were really old 100 years plus. I kept on taking colds all the time and felt really rotten.

Got paid of at start of last month and healthe has progressed since then.


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