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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-82-273-1239, Spectrum Control, Inc., Fairview, Pennsylvania.
Boxer PA; Hartle R
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 82-273-1239, 1982 Dec; :1-30
The cause of an outbreak of illness among workers at Spectrum Control, Incorporated (SIC-3675), Fairview, Pennsylvania, was investigated on May 27 and 28, and June 21, 1982. The investigation was requested by an employee and by the management on behalf of 230 workers, after repeated worker complaints of dizziness, headache, nausea, and mental confusion. Previous air sampling results were reviewed, and workers completed medical and occupational history questionnaires. Earlier environmental sampling did not reveal hazardous concentrations of any chemicals. More female than male employees reported symptoms. Workers who reported symptoms attributed their illness directly to work exposures, and more frequently reported the belief that the illness could recur. The ill workers also reported the presence of a peculiar odor in the workplace. More than half reported hearing about the symptoms in others before becoming ill themselves. The authors conclude that the illness outbreak was not due to any workplace exposure. They suggest that the outbreak was a mass psychogenic phenomenon brought on by workplace stress. Recommendations are better worker education and better communication between management and employees.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Hazards-Unconfirmed; Mental-stress; Air-quality-measurement; Industrial-exposures; Electrical-workers; HETA-82-273-1239; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-3; Author Keywords: Electronic Capacitors; Electronic Coils, Transformers and Other Indicators; stress-induced illness; mass psychogenic illness
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
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