FL Sheriff's Office Evacuated After More than 1/3 of its Employees File Work Comp Claims

19 Jun, 2018 Liz Carey


Bunnell, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – The last Flagler County Sheriff’s Office employee evacuated the building the law enforcement agency was housed in on Friday, June 15.

The evacuation comes after 27 of the department’s 68 employees filed workers’ compensation claims over illnesses the Sheriff said came from the “sick building” they were working in.

Chief David Stourbridge said, in an interview with WorkersCompensation.com, that the issue had been developing for some time. Stourbridge is the head of office’s Organizational Services Division.

“Actually started a couple of years ago, when some of our people started getting sick,” he said. “Then people started talking about it. In November, the first (workers’ compensation) claims of injury started and when those who had issues came back to work and got sick again.”

Employees complained of headaches, rashes, fatigue and other symptoms, Stourbridge said.

The building for the department is a former hospital that was renovated and opened in late 2015. When employees began complaining of symptoms in 2017, Sheriff Rick Staly ordered the air quality of the building be tested. But employees continued to complain of the same symptoms. Staly has requested more extensive testing and a complete move-out until the building is declared safe.

Staly also hired a doctor to review the workers’ compensation claim and medical reports to possibly find a connection. 

"This profession is dangerous enough from criminals," Staly said in a statement. "My employees should not have to live in fear of their workplace causing them illnesses. I want to thank the Flagler County Administrator, the Board of County Commissioners, the County's IT staff, Heidi Petito and her staff, and all of the employees of the county and the courthouse for assisting us and welcoming us into our temporary accommodations. We are hopeful for a swift resolution to this issue." 

The sheriff’s employees were moved into two separate facilities; one, the Kim Hammond Justice Center, and the other, the jail administration building.

The county hired ESI, an environmental firm, to test the building, which began on June 14.

Craig Coffey, the Flagler County Administrator, did not immediately respond to email and phone requests for comment by press time.

Stroubridge said that it would be a month before the city’s testing of the building was done, and even longer before any resolution to the issue was determined.

  • AI california case management case management focus claims cms compensability compliance courts covid do you know the rule exclusive remedy florida glossary check Healthcare health care iowa leadership medical medicare minnesota NCCI new jersey new york ohio opioids osha pennsylvania Safety state info technology tennessee texas violence virginia WDYT west virginia what do you think women's history month workcompcollege workers' comp 101 workers' recovery workers' compensation contact information Workplace Safety Workplace Violence

  • Read Also

    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

    Read More

    Request a Demo

    To request a free demo of one of our products, please fill in this form. Our sales team will get back to you shortly.