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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.

WTC Rescue/Recovery and Obstructive Airway Disease

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Respiratory Health, World Trade Center Health Program

 

The inhalation of chemicals, particulate matter (dusts and fibers), and the incomplete products of combustion during occupational and environmental disasters has long been associated with respiratory disorders[1]. While there is substantial literature on the association between respiratory diseases and chronic environmental exposures such as air pollution and long term occupational exposure in industries such as mining, silica handling, and construction, much remains to be learned regarding the biological mechanisms that cause such disease and on the latency between acute exposure and disease onset.

The destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York after a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, resulted in a massive, intense dust cloud that was found to contain a huge variety of irritants including partially combusted and/or pulverized wood, paper, and jet fuel; pulverized construction materials including asbestos, glass, silica, fiberglass, concrete, and silica; complex organic chemicals; lead; and other metals.[2] Increased incidence of respiratory disease has been reported in firefighters who worked in the rescue/recovery effort and in other cohorts. Obstructive airways diseases (OAD), such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, have been shown to be associated with intensity of exposure as measured by arrival time at the WTC site.[3] New onset OAD continues to be observed many years after exposure,[4] contrary to conventional wisdom that irritant-induced asthma should be triggered within a relatively short time after exposure.[5]

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