SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

You are the safety and occupational health professional for your city’s Health Department. You
received a call from a major food distribution warehouse that some employees are complaining of
dizziness and feeling sick.

When you arrive on scene, you are in a very large warehouse, a significant portion of which 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 ladies 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 two men.

Instructions:

Based on the given scenario, develop a plan of action that includes how you would conduct the
investigation, state how you would identify possible sources of the problem, and provide your
opinion on the likely source. Discuss the standards applicable to possible sources. Include several
recommendations you would make to the manager to help solve the problem based on your research into
documented best practices for similar situations. (You may make assumptions about the scenario in
order to propose solutions – just be certain to state your assumptions clearly).