September 28, 2023
Learn about the importance of reporting symptoms in the workplace. This guide covers common and urgent symptoms, their impacts on employees and the workplace, guidelines for reporting symptoms, and more.


Being open and honest about your health and well-being with your manager is not only important for your personal health, but it can also help maintain a healthy and safe work environment for your colleagues.

Employees often hesitate to report symptoms to their managers due to fear of being judged, discrimination, or retaliation. However, it’s important to understand that reporting symptoms can save lives and prevent serious workplace incidents. This article will explore common symptoms that must be reported to managers and provide guidelines for creating a safe and healthy work environment.

5 Urgent Symptoms that Must Always be Reported to Your Manager

Some symptoms require immediate action from management and employees. Below are the top five urgent symptoms that must always be reported to your manager:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sudden severe headache or head injury
  • Seizures or loss of consciousness
  • Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis

These symptoms can indicate serious health emergencies that require immediate medical attention. Ignoring these symptoms can cause irreversible harm and may even be fatal. Employees and managers should work together to seek medical help and properly handle the situation.

Why it’s Important to Report Certain Symptoms to Your Manager: A Guide

Some symptoms may not require immediate medical attention but still need to be reported to a manager. These symptoms can include:

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
  • Chronic pain or discomfort
  • Injuries such as sprains or strains

These symptoms can impact an employee’s work performance and can even jeopardize their safety, as well as the safety of others in the workplace. Reporting these symptoms to a manager can lead to better support and accommodations, allowing employees to work in a healthy and productive environment.

Know the Signs: Symptoms to be on the Lookout for in the Workplace

Work environment factors such as stress, poor air quality, and prolonged exposure to noise and vibrations can cause symptoms such as:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Eye strain and vision problems
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears
  • Respiratory problems or asthma
  • Repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome

Employees should be aware of these symptoms and their potential causes and report them to their managers before they become more severe or chronic. Managers can then investigate the causes of these symptoms and take steps to minimize or eliminate them, creating a healthier and more comfortable work environment for everyone.

Keeping a Safe & Healthy Workplace: Guidelines for Reporting Symptoms

It’s important to set up clear guidelines for employees to report symptoms. These guidelines should be easily accessible, well-communicated, and include steps for the employee and manager to follow. Employees should feel comfortable and secure when reporting symptoms, without fear of judgement, discrimination, or retaliation.

Managers can help create a safe and healthy work environment by providing resources such as health and safety training programs, ergonomic workstations, and regular mental health check-ins. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to report symptoms and play an active role in maintaining a healthy workplace.

Don’t Hesitate to Speak Up: When to Notify Your Manager of Symptoms

Employees may be hesitant to report symptoms due to various reasons including fear of being spoken down to, being considered a trouble-maker or the uncertainty of how such disclosures will be perceived by colleagues or even management. Nonetheless, it is imperative that symptoms are reported as soon as possible. Waiting, or hiding them for very long can result in the worse getting worse. Below are some tips on when and how to report symptoms:

  • As soon as the symptom is noticed, bring it up directly with your manager either in person or in written correspondence.
  • Be honest and straightforward about the symptom. Avoid downplaying it and ensure to give the necessary details that are pertinent to the overall impact on your daily work.
  • Communicate your expectation of privacy and confidentiality, but also be willing to work with your manager on developing a plan that benefits you, other team members, and the workplace in general.

The Top 7 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore in the Office

In addition to the urgent symptoms and common symptoms, there are a few other signs that employees should never ignore while in the office. Below are seven such symptoms:

  • Sudden changes in vision, hearing, or speech
  • Severe pain or discomfort
  • Unexpected dizziness or loss of coordination
  • Bleeding that does not stop or slow down
  • New or sudden onset of confusion or disorientation
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sudden, intense, or long-lasting emotional distress that affects the ability to work safely and effectively.

Reporting Employee Symptoms: How It Benefits Both You and Your Colleagues

Reporting symptoms and illnesses can benefit not just the employees experiencing them but the entire organization. When employees report their symptoms, the appropriate actions can be taken to prevent the spread of illness and make the workplace safer. Early detection and intervention can lead to quicker recovery, saving both time and money.

Moreover, reporting symptoms promotes a healthy workplace culture built on trust, accountability, and transparency. Employees can feel more supported, and can also help identify and report symptoms in their colleagues, keeping everyone safe and healthy.


Reporting symptoms and illnesses to your manager isn’t always easy, but it’s vital for maintaining a healthy and safe work environment. Employees should be encouraged to report symptoms as soon as they arise, even if they are concerned about their privacy or confidentiality. With proper guidelines and support from management, reporting symptoms can help create a supportive culture of safety and well-being in the workplace.

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