Allergies in the workplace

Advice from the Anaphylaxis Campaign.

Having a severe allergy can have a real impact on your work and social life and bar you from certain jobs. (The army, for example, will not consider any applicants who have experienced a severe allergic or asthmatic attack in the previous four years.)

Anaphylaxis Campaign member, Claire, is very allergic to milk. After she left university and before she got her current job, she had found it hard to get temporary work as she couldn’t do any of the ‘normal’ student jobs working in restaurants, cafès or pubs. Even now, in an office job, she finds socialising difficult and, because even being near milk makes her feel ill, just taking part in the general office ‘making coffee round’ is very stressful.

The campaign has some general advice for allergic people in the workplace:
• Tell your manager and/or colleagues about your allergy, where you keep your adrenaline and how an Epipen should be used. If you have a severe reaction you may need their help so it is much better for them to have some idea of what they are meant to be doing to help you!

• Provide your manager with a copy of your emergency plan (another copy of which you should keep with you) so that, in an emergency, your colleagues have a protocol to follow.

• Explain to them how risks can be minimised – thoroughly wiping up spilt milk, for example, if you are milk allergic.

• You might need to reassure your employers that, under the legislation, first aiders are allowed to administer an Epipen or Anapen in an emergency where they have been trained to do so.

For more advice and information contact the Anaphylaxis Campaign 01252 542029

First published December 2008

More miscellaneous research reports on food allergy


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