FACS Solves a Mysterious Outbreak of Eye Health Issues at a Casino
FACS experts are often asked to help solve indoor environmental quality problems after others have hit a perplexing dead end. In this case, OSHA investigators pointed staff in the wrong direction (while demanding the problem be quickly solved). In desperation, management called FACS for assistance.
Aided by decades of experience and a firm grip on the science behind environmental issues, that call provided insight that satisfied all stakeholders and ended the dilemma.
FACS helped the casino avoid further employee and OSHA concerns regarding the case
FACS quickly found a simple solution to a problem others could not resolve
The FACS expert scheduled a post-issue informational meeting with the clients' employees to provide reassurance that the threat was mitigated and to answer their questions
About the Client
The client is a Pacific Northwest Native American tribe that operates a casino on their property. The casino not only generates a significant part of the tribe’s income but employs a sizable staff of both tribal members and non-tribal workers. The casino is a popular destination for food, recreation, and legal gambling.
Complaints of eye irritation and eye pain took a sudden uptick among workers at the tribe’s casino. Some of the cases were diagnosed as conjunctivitis. Others appeared to be a form of eye injury that is typically seen in occupations involving welding. Casino staff tried, but couldn’t find, anything that might be causing the problems. OSHA representatives were alerted and soon arrived to inspect the premises.
The OSHA inspectors concluded that contact with a cleaning product was the likely source of complaints. They instructed casino management to get to the bottom of the issue quickly to protect their employees. With the frustration level growing and no solution in sight, the facility manager called FACS.
The FACS Solution
FACS reviewed the client’s concerns, then promptly dispatched a FACS industrial hygienist to the casino to conduct an onsite investigation. Our experience is that the sooner our services are requested, the sooner the client can get an answer to even the most perplexing dilemmas.
The FACS Industrial Hygienist assigned to the case employed a science-backed process for understanding and mitigating indoor environmental quality (IEQ) issues. After interviewing casino staff, assessing the methods already employed to determine the cause of the problem, and reviewing all cleaning products used at the casino, the FACS industrial hygienist began to search for alternative explanations.
Nothing that there had been no significant changes to cleaning methodology or product types, the FACS expert began focusing on the employees afflicted with eye irritation issues. He observed that their work duties stationed them close to a “bug zapper” (an electronic insect trap). Upon close inspection, the problem was identified: The vendor supplied UVC-type light tubes rather than UVA tubes for the bug zapper. The higher-than-safe levels of UVC ultraviolet radiation emitted by them was the source of the medical issues reported. No further complaints about eye problems were received by the casino after installation of the correct light tubes.