Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2002-0218-2881, Jergens Road Adult Services Center, Dayton, Ohio.
NIOSH received a confidential request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) from an employee of the Jergens Road Adult Services Center in Dayton, Ohio. The facility is a developmental center where 200 people with developmental disabilities (consumers) receive habilitation services (e.g., feeding, personal care and hygiene, and communication and prevocational training). The Montgomery County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (Montgomery County MRDD) operates the Jergens Center. NIOSH investigators evaluated five issues in response to the HHE request-job stress, infectious diseases, disposable gloves, indoor environmental quality, and cancer. The challenging behaviors (e.g., biting and scratching) of some consumers were reported to be job stressors. Montgomery County MRDD's policies concerning employee exposures to blood and other potentially infectious materials were the basis of the infectious diseases concern. Associated with this issue was a concern that the disposable gloves provided to protect staff members from contacting potentially infectious materials seemed to tear too frequently. Another concern was whether heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems were operating correctly. The cancer concern was from unconfirmed reports that people who had worked in the building have cancer. The activities of the NIOSH investigators included touring the Jergens Center, interviewing employees, reviewing Montgomery County MRDD's written communicable diseases procedures, and assessing the building's indoor environmental quality by measuring temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide throughout the building. Recommendations provided for improving working conditions at the Jergens Center included the following: 1. Management should hire a consultant to evaluate the extent to which employees view job stress as a problem. 2. Employees should be trained by a consultant experienced in the use of adaptive coping strategies to reduce stress associated with providing services to people with developmental disabilities. 3. Montgomery County MRDD should revise its policy regarding the job classifications deemed to have risks of exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. 4. Management should seek feedback from employees concerning the frequency with which gloves tear. 5. The performance of the HVAC system serving rooms 103 and 107 should be further evaluated.