Bennington State Office Building

Background

In early June 2006, the Vermont Department of Health initiated an investigation of health concerns among employees of the Bennington State Office Building. The primary health concern was identified as Sarcoidosis – a disease characterized by inflammation in one or more organs. The cause of sarcoidosis is not known, although treatments are available. Sarcoidosis is not a type of cancer, and is not passed from person to person.

Because sarcoidosis is a serious illness of unknown cause, the Department of Health and the Department of Buildings & General Services together conducted an extensive investigation that included building inspection, environmental testing, health surveys of current and former employees, medical screening tests by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and regular meetings and communication with employees and the Bennington State Office Building Stakeholder Team.

In October 2006, the Health Department presented an interim report on the investigation, which identified higher than expected rates of sarcoidosis, asthma and asthma-like illness among employees.The Health Department recommended temporary relocation of building occupants while the building had further diagnostic work and likely renovation. On February 1, 2007, Governor Douglas ordered a phased shut down of the building. Offices were relocated into modular units as of April 2007 at the Bennington Office Complex, Veteran's Memorial Drive.

Following extensive testing and diagnostics of the building, on November 15, 2007, the Health Department reported on the evaluation of the building and implications of findings on the health of employees. The report presents the evidence that supports a relationship between the health of employees and three important findings:

Based on the evidence, the Health Department recommends thorough implementation of all 13 recommendations made by Turner Building Science and Design, LLC, including the installation of a geothermal system and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and appropriate retesting of the building before re-occupancy. These recommendations were presented at the December 6, 2007 stakeholders meeting.

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Reports

***All documents are in pdf format

2008

2007

2006

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Updates, Correspondence & Other Information

2008

2007

2006

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Employee Medical Screening

Health Department investigators, in collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) expert technicians, are making specialized medical screening tests available on site from September 19 through September 28. Current employees who work more than 20 hours per week in the building are eligible. This testing is voluntary and offered free of charge.

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Letters and Related Documents

Laboratory Reports and Related Documents

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