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Technical assistance report no. TA-78-51, Main Post Office, Cleveland, Ohio.

Hollett BA; Stroman RE
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, TA 78-51, 1979 Mar; :1-16
Environmental dust samples were analyzed, workers were interviewed and given dermatological examinations, building facilities were inspected, and work practices were observed on August 8 and 9 and September 11, 1978, to determine the cause of an outbreak of dermatitis among workers at the Main Post Office (SIC-4311), Cleveland, Ohio. The evaluation was requested by the Assistant Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, on behalf of about 30 affected workers operating Zip Mail Translator (ZMT) machines on the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. Optical and transmission electron microscopy of dust samples obtained at the time of the outbreak revealed no elements or contaminants known to cause skin irritation of the type observed. The dermatitis was not linked to any substances used in facility maintenance or during work operations. Epidemiological analysis of the time and place of work did not help to determine the cause of the outbreak. Physical examination of the affected workers did not reveal a common physical, chemical, or biological cause of the outbreak. Worker interviews revealed that a number of stress factors were associated with operating the ZMT machine. The investigators conclude that the outbreak of dermatitis may be a psychogenic component brought on by psychological conflict, anxiety, stress, and other factors. They recommend that management identify the underlying psychological factors which could create a susceptible work force.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; TA-78-51; Region-5; Hazards-Unconfirmed; Dust-analysis; Health-surveys; Skin-disorders; Psychological-disorders; Psychological-effects
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Document Type
Field Studies; Technical Assistance
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NTIS Accession No.
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Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Psychologic Disorders; Psychological-disorders
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division