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Selected Category: Emergency Response/Public Sector

How Well Do You Think You Are Protected?

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Health care

Understanding proper use and disposal of protective gowns for healthcare workers

The prevalence of infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, SARS and avian flu, have raised the concern of hospital personnel over the possibility of acquiring such infections. Healthcare workers (HCWs) in or outside hospitals who have contact with patients, body fluids, or specimens may easily acquire infections from or transmit infections to patients, other personnel, or loved ones. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a critical component in the hierarchy of controls used to protect HCWs from infectious hazards. HCW PPE may include gowns, respirators, face masks, gloves, eye protection, face shields, and head and shoe coverings. Even though protective ensembles are worn to protect hospital workers and patients alike, if not used or disposed of correctly, this equipment may pose a considerable risk for the public health. Although laboratory studies have produced mixed results for the effectiveness of gown use, appropriate gowns are recommended to prevent or reduce HCW exposure to bloodborne pathogens. However, those using the gowns may have limited information on the performance of the gowns they wear every day.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28, 2014

Categories: Construction, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Lead, Smoking, Total Worker Health

On Workers’ Memorial Day we acknowledge the toll that work-related hazards and exposures have taken on American workers, their families, and communities. Each year, NIOSH collaborates with the staff of CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report (MMWR) to publish the most recent annual statistics, NIOSH analyses of occupational illness and injuries, and investigations of occupational hazards. Here are some of the key findings from this year’s Workers Memorial Day issue of MMWR.

Fatal and Nonfatal Occupational Ladder Fall Injuries—United States, 2011

Each year on Workers’ Memorial Day, we are reminded that preventable traumatic injuries continue to claim workers’ lives and health. Fall injuries remain a leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries to workers. Using data from three occupational injury surveillance systems (CFOI, SOII,NEISS-WORK) Christina Socias, DrPH and colleagues described ladder fall injuries among U.S. workers.

Workers Memorial Day 2014

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Nanotechnology, Total Worker Health

Workers Memorial Day, April 28, reminds us that every death, injury, or illness on the job represents a human tragedy.  Behind each statistic is the loss of a loved one’s life, the diminution or loss of a father’s or mother’s ability to provide for family needs, or a medical crisis that can have lifelong consequences.

Workers Memorial Day has been observed in the U.S. since 1989.  In those 25 years, which span the end of one century and the beginning of another, many things have changed in our society.  New generations of men and women have entered the workforce.  New industries have emerged.  New technologies and demographic trends have transformed the economy.

Coccidioidomycosis: An Enduring Work-Related Disease

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Construction, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Oil and Gas, Outdoor Work, Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Health

A prison located in an arid, hyperendemic area of the Central Valley of California. There is little natural vegetation on the grounds and in the surrounding areas. Photograph by NIOSH.

Background

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides. The fungus grows in the soil in very dry areas. Coccidioidomycosis is endemic (native and common) in the southwestern United States, the Central Valley of California, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America [CDC 2013a]. About 150,000 new infections have been estimated to occur each year in the United States [Galgiani et al. 2005] but only about 22,000 cases were reported in 2011 in the United States. This suggests that the disease is greatly underreported [CDC 2013b]. The apparent incidence of reported coccidioidomycosis increased from 1998 to 2011, from 5.3 cases per 100,000 population in the endemic area (Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah) in 1998 to 42.6 cases per 100,000 in 2011, although concern has been expressed that some of this increase might be related to changes in surveillance definitions, laboratory practices, and increased awareness leading to increased testing for the disease [CDC 2013b].

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