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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-87-419-2010, Dresser Industries, Berea, Kentucky.

Hartle RW; Deitchman S
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 87-419-2010, 1990 Feb; :1-25
In response to an emergency request, an evaluation was made of an outbreak of illness at the Dresser Industries (SIC-3823), Berea, Kentucky. Employees noticed during the workday (a Friday) a foul odor which caused numbness and tingling of the lips, tongue and extremities; burning of the nose and throat; light headedness, weakness and dizziness. Seven of the eight workers were hospitalized. The following Monday additional workers were taken ill and the request was made for help. The company manufactured various types of pressure gauges for use in a variety of applications. A total of 379 workers were employed at the facility. Results of air quality testing at the site identified several types of compounds including solvents, odorants, and lubricants. All were in airborne concentrations of generally less than 1 part per million. Physicians reviewed the cases of the hospitalized workers. Questionnaires were administered to employees concerning symptoms and observations. The authors conclude that it was not possible to identify the initial stimulus for the outbreak; it was possible that a single day of exposure to an unknown agent, perhaps related to the connection of a new sewer system, may have contributed to the symptoms. The fallout from this event was a facility wide anxiety and stress reaction, generating a collective stress syndrome.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-87-419-2010; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-4; Attitude; Air-quality; Group-behavior; Psychological-stress; Author Keywords: Measuring and Controlling Instruments; collective stress syndrome
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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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