Posted: February 4th, 2016
Consider the following scenario.
You are the safety and occupational health professional for your city’s health department. You received a call from a major food-distribution warehouse about some employees who are complaining of dizziness and feeling sick.
The scene is a very large warehouse; a significant portion is refrigerated. The illnesses are being reported from a refrigerated section (about 40 degrees F), where workers are blister packing food products on a production line. The warehouse has 20 loading docks, two railroad car lines that end directly inside the warehouse (in close proximity to the production area), a dozen or so gas powered forklifts, and no sensors or environmental monitors of any kind except those associated with the refrigeration systems.
The warehouse manager is cooperative, but he points out that he is in the middle of contract negotiations with the union. He is also very proud of the fact that they have special seals on the loading dock doors and throughout the warehouse to keep the cold in and the heat out.
You cannot identify any discernible odors other than the exhaust from the forklifts when they move by you. There are four women waiting for you in the break room complaining of dizziness and lightheadedness. They are all comparing and complaining about their symptoms. There are 14 employees who work in this area of the warehouse: 12 women and 2 men.
Based on the given scenario, develop a plan of action that includes how you would conduct the investigation, how you would identify possible sources of the problem, and your opinion on the likely source.
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