St. Joseph Healthcare employees moved out of Building 4 after air quality concerns

Posted June 09, 2014, at 6:26 p.m.
Last modified June 09, 2014, at 7:52 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Employees based in Building 4 of the St. Joseph Healthcare Park on Broadway have been relocated after some reported breathing problems, a hospital spokesperson said Monday evening.

The problem started Friday after crews removed a water-damaged section of carpet near the entrance to the building. The damage was caused by a roof leak, said Jen Elhajj of St. Joseph media relations.

Soon after the carpet was removed, some employees began complaining of congestion, sore throats and other issues, Elhajj said. The employees were sent home with pay that day. The building’s air filters were switched out and the building was “aired out” over the weekend.

When employees returned on Monday, some reported similar symptoms to what they experienced Friday, so they were sent home again. Elhajj said the employees will work from other locations until the building is deemed safe.

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“They aren’t going to let anyone in there until it’s a safe environment,” Elhajj said.

“Occupational health experts” are being brought in to assess the air quality and find out what’s affecting the employees. Whether there is mold or some other hazard in the building has not yet been determined.

Building 4 houses several support offices for St. Joseph Healthcare, including receiving, billing and fiscal services. The number of employees stationed in the building was not immediately available. Patients don’t use the building, according to Elhajj.

“Until they figure this out, employees won’t be working in that building,” Elhajj said.

 

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