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Is There a Link Between Firefighting and Cancer? – Epidemiology in Action

Categories: Cancer, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the art and science of using data to answer questions about the health of groups. In occupational epidemiology, we use that data to understand how work affects health. This blog entry is part of a series that shares the stories behind the data.

Firefighters face numerous hazards in the line of duty. The risks of acute and potentially fatal injuries and stresses from the dangerous environment of a fire scene are well known. In addition to these hazards, fires generate toxic contaminants, including some agents known or suspected to cause cancer. Less is known about the potential long-term health effects firefighters may experience as a result of work-related exposures. In particular, do firefighters face a higher risk of cancer than is found in the general population?

Motor Vehicle Safety and Law Enforcement Officers

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Motor Vehicle Safety

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In 2010, motor-vehicle-related events accounted for approximately two out of every five fatal work injuries in the United States [BLS 2011a]. Non-fatal motor-vehicle crashes can result in serious long-term injuries, permanent disabilities, and costly medical care. Notably absent from motor-vehicle research has been research addressing the safety of law enforcement officers who not only spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel, but often drive in dangerous conditions including inclement weather and at high speeds. Motor-vehicle crashes have been the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers for the last decade. [NLEOMF]. The survey described below revealed that from 2008-2011, 20% of officers had been in at least one motor-vehicle crash, and 16% reported being struck by or nearly struck by a motor-vehicle while outside their patrol car.

Protecting Workers from Ebola: Eight Knowledge Generation Priorities

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Ebola, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Health care, Personal Protective Equipment

 

On November 3, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council of the National Academies convened a workshop of distinguished representatives from the public and private sectors.   The participants were asked to suggest priorities for research that will “provide public health officials, healthcare providers, and the general public with the most up-to-date information about transmission, health risks, and measures that should be taken to prevent spread of [Ebola virus disease] in the U.S.” NIOSH was pleased to contribute to this dialogue, specifically by addressing issues critical for protecting heath care workers from work-related infection.

Researchers and practitioners have decades of experience related to the use of sampling, analysis, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other traditional measures for assessing exposures and minimizing the risks of occupational illness and injury in the industrial setting. That knowledge underpins standard industrial hygiene practices in factories, mines, and construction sites. Strategic research is vital for building a comparably robust base of evidence for reducing occupational risks from infectious diseases in the complex health care setting. By stimulating the knowledge needed to better meet the challenges of Ebola today, we also lay a stronger foundation for anticipating tomorrow’s potential threats from other novel infectious diseases in our 21st Century world of international commerce and rapid air travel.

Emergency Preparedness Month

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector

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September is Emergency Preparedness Month. To mark this event, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announces the new NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Directory web page.

The page will help our stakeholders find resources faster and easier for preventing injury and illness among responders in the line of duty. The web page is coordinated by the Emergency Preparedness and Response Office (EPRO) in the NIOSH Director’s Office. EPRO has three main goals: (1) to be the Institute’s focal point for technical expertise on our area in emergency preparedness and response (protecting emergency responders), (2) to help with rapid and specific on-site support, and (3) to advance research into emergency preparedness and response to better safeguard responder safety and health in the line of duty, and promote collaborations that enhance current efforts.

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