Pesticide Exposure Sends Three EGS Employees to the Hospital and Evacuates Hundreds at Call Center
Hundreds of employees wait outside Expert Global Solutions in Joplin after a routine spray for bugs turns into a big ordeal.
“It was just a little purple container. They were going around all the desks and just spraying around our feet and around the area where the reported problem was and didn’t really think anything of it,” says EGS employee Carlee Ballard.
Ballard works in one of the two areas that were affected. She and colleagues stepped out for lunch when they all realized something wasn’t right.
“Personally like all of us were experiencing the same symptoms of the fact we couldn’t feel our tongue, couldn’t feel our lips.”
“I had some light headedness and a headache and my tongue was numb, just felt kinda a little woozy basically,” says fellow EGS employee Michelle Richardson.
A contracted maintenance worker had sprayed the building in the morning, a job that EGS site supervisor Kelly O’brien says is usually done after hours, later causing at least twenty employees to complain of minor respiratory irritation and ultimately sending three to the hospital.
“What was sprayed was less than a cup of that spray. And so again, an unfortunate event. Not sure how it happened. But unfortunately we had employees who needed emergency care,” O’brien says.
After authorities from the Health and Fire Departments conducted their investigation, the building was ventilated before the all-clear was given.
“The gentleman spraying the chemical did spray the chemical as per the recommendations on the label so there wasn’t anything out of whack there,” says Joplin Fire Chief Jim Furgerson.
Ballard feels, under the circumstances, EGS handled the situation as best it could.
“As soon as we reported the symptoms we had like our onsite manager in Samsung, we had people come in. and people who were experiencing symptoms where it had gone through. They immediately got us outside,” she says.
The facility has about 800 employees and about 400 are there at any given time. Officials say all is safe for them to return to work tomorrow.