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VA employees vexed by fumes from floor work

– The Veterans Affairs Northern Indiana Health Care System said Wednesday that 30 employees reported irritation from exposure to chemical fumes during floor renovations at its Fort Wayne campus in recent months.

“No patient care was impacted and no complaints were received from veterans,” Sheryl Grubb, public affairs officer for the system, said in an email.

Grubb said some employees relocated to other areas inside the VA Medical Center for as long as a workday, while other employees chose to stay at their work areas. More than 600 people work at the Lake Avenue complex.

The chemical that caused discomfort was being used in preparation for replacing flooring on the first floor of the medical center. The inpatient ward, which has been reopened in phases after a temporary suspension of services in October, is on the fourth floor.

Additional air-treatment equipment was brought to the complex and floor-stripping work was done off-hours and on weekends “as much as possible,” Grubb said.

She said the air was monitored by VA staff and the flooring contractor to ensure that exposure limits set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were not exceeded.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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