Employees removed from Goodhue County Public Health building after hazards foundGoodhue County commissioners have been discussing for months how they can get Health and Human Services staff relocated into a single building. Relocations have certainly been made, but not as intended.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Goodhue County commissioners have been discussing for months how they can get Health and Human Services staff relocated into a single building. Relocations have certainly been made, but not as intended.
Environmental problems with the county’s Public Health building have caused some sudden and unexpected displacements of Health and Human Services employees.
On May 4, the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Division received a notice indicating several alleged hazards at the building located at 512 W. Sixth St. The hazards were noted as a very strong odor of feces or sewer, a ceiling leaking water with visible mold and employees complaining of headaches and nausea.
The problems were allegedly found in the basement and the east side of the building, including all offices, the staff lunchroom, two conference rooms and bathrooms.
MNOSHA did not determine whether the hazards existed and chose not to conduct an onsite inspection, but requested that the county promptly investigate the conditions and make necessary corrections.
“Temporarily, we’ve had to move people out of the building,” County Administrator Scott Arneson said, adding that all employees are expected to be out by June 1.
Employees are gradually being spread across all floors of the Government Center, including the basement. County staff said the board room and the old courtroom are expected to be used for meeting space, while other areas will become makeshift offices.
“At this point, meeting space is just as important as office space,” administrative assistant Stacy Thuman said.
Staff is safe and not harmed by the hazards, Arneson said.
The issue has commissioners thinking even more seriously about making a decision regarding a new building for the Health and Human Services department.
“I think we have to get our heads together and find out what we’re going to do in the future,” Chairman Richard Samuelson said.