The temporarily-shuttered Intel building at the center of two hazardous material-related scares in less than a week reopens Wednesday.
A spokesperson with Intel said it has determined the Manufacturing Support Building at Intel’s Ronler Acres Facility in Hillsboro is safe for its employees after identifying a non-hazardous odor originating from its air handling units, which it uses to regulate air intake into the building.
“After extensive testing and accredited, independent laboratory analysis, we have concluded that [it] is safe to resume working in the areas of our Ronler Acres campus that have been closed since December 3,” said Linda L. Qian in a statement.
The building is reopening as the state agency charged with investigating workplace safety and health continues its own investigation into the two separate incidents that prompted dozens of employees to report breathing problems.
Thirty-eight employees reported issues to the company’s health services department on Dec. 3, prompting the company to close the building. Qian would not identify what Intel described as an odor but said it does not present a health risk.
“While this odor does not represent a health risk, we are making changes to our systems to address it,” she said in an email.
The December incident was the second of its kind in less than a week. On Nov. 29, a separate set of employees reported difficulty breathing.
Intel could be on the hook for a citation with penalties if the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division determines the company violated workplace health and safety rules. Fire officials have said there was no hazardous material released in both incidents.
Oregon OSHA investigations typically take between 4-6 months. It’s not uncommon for facilities to reopen during an ongoing Oregon OSHA investigation. The agency does have the authority to red tag an operation and halt work operations at a facility if that determination is made.
Six people were transported to area hospitals on Dec. 3 for upper respiratory irritation and were released. Qian said in an email Wednesday that none of the employees who underwent medical evaluation during the incident required hospital admittance, and that no additional employees have reported problems to the company’s health services department since.