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Safer Healthier Workers

Select Month: September 2012

Protecting Emergency Responders

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector

When disaster strikes, the nation depends on emergency response workers who are prepared and trained to respond effectively. This need is particularly clear as we observe the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and honor the responders who performed heroic service during that somber time. Response work can range from well-contained, localized efforts to massive, diffuse mobilizations and involves a broad array of activities including search, rescue, investigations, assessment, recovery, cleanup, and restoration. Such work is carried out by individuals from emergency management, fire services, law enforcement, emergency medical services, public health, construction and other skilled support, disaster relief, mental health, and volunteer organizations.

To ensure that workers can meet the challenges of disasters, every effort must be made to protect emergency workers from the safety and health risks inherent in the work.  A new National Response Team technical assistance document, “Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance” is now available which provides a recommended health monitoring and surveillance system.  The Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance system includes specific recommendations and tools for all phases of a response, including the pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment phase (see Figure 1). The intent of medical monitoring and surveillance is to identify exposures and/or signs and symptoms early in the course of an emergency response.  Early detection can prevent or mitigate adverse physical and psychological outcomes; helping to ensure that workers and volunteers are not harmed in the course of their response and are able to maintain their ability to respond effectively.

VHA’s Success with Increasing Movement at Work

Categories: Total Worker Health

How can we help keep employees from becoming office potatoes?  It is a fact that a person who leads a sedentary lifestyle (commonly referred to as a couch potato) is at a higher risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers, but lately we have been hearing that sitting still for more than four hours a day is an independent risk factor on its own, despite regular exercise (van der Ploe, Chey, et al, 2012).  So, even if you work out for the recommended 30 minutes each day, sitting behind a desk all day still puts you at risk for major health problems. 

Brain Injury in the NFL

Categories: Sports and Entertainment

It’s that time of year again—football season.  While pro, college and pee wee football players and fans across the country prepare for the annual rituals of the game, questions of safety linger on the sidelines.  A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) finds that National Football League (NFL) players may be at a higher risk of death associated with Alzheimer’s and other impairments of the brain and nervous system than the general U.S. population. These results are consistent with recent studies by other research institutions that suggest an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease among professional football players.

Happy N95 Day!

Categories: Observances, Personal Protective Equipment, Respirators

Photo courtesy of MSA

What? You didn’t know it was N95 day? Don’t worry! Exchanging gifts is not a required practice. N95 Day is a time to recognize the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and familiarize yourself with the resources out there to help you make educated decisions when selecting and wearing a respirator. There are many types of respirators and they all have their own function; it can be almost mind-boggling. So today (9/5, get it?) we focus our attention on the N95 filtering facepiece respirator because so many workers across a wide range of industries depend on the N95 for protection when working in environments with hazardous airborne particles. So nurses, construction workers, emergency responders, painters, gardeners and everyone else required to join the N95 club, raise your respirator in the air in celebration because today we unite under the banner of respiratory protection for all!

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