The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the Ogden Internal Revenue Service's office this week after employees complained of a noxious odor caused during remodeling, an OSHA official says.
OSHA inspected the collections area of the center's main 12th Street building after an employee phoned the agency complaining of odors caused by the sealing of a floor with xylene, said Robert Curtis, director of federal OSHA in Utah."Although there were no health hazards present, the issue was when we should have been brought in," he said.
Xylene is derived from coal tar, wood tar and petroleum.
Thirty-four employees in the data conversion area were sent home three hours early Sunday night because of the odor, said IRS spokesman Doug Green. Green described the smell as "the mild odor of paint thinner" and said it was "making employees nauseous."
The data conversion section is next to the collections area, where workers began to seal the floor before placing a raised floor on top, Green said. The space between the two floors will house wires for computer terminals, he said.
Green said employees who complained of the odor were allowed to move elsewhere in the building and were given extra work breaks. Increased ventilation and sealing of the construction area has stopped the odor from continuing, Green said.