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Selected Category: Exposure

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Categories: Chemicals, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Exposure, Manufacturing, Personal Protective Equipment, Technology

Since its first printing in 1978, the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) continues to be the Institute’s most popular document. The NPG provides general descriptive, exposure, and protective and emergency recommendations for 677 chemicals commonly found in the work environment. Workers, employers, and occupational health professionals all use the NPG in the course of their work and often in emergency situations.  Fire fighters, for example, use the NPG to prepare themselves for exposures  they might encounter on fire scenes.

The current printed pocket guide is a 424 page, 3 inch by 7 inch, pocket-sized book.  We know many people rely on the printed version, particularly in times of emergency when power may be out or signals down or overextended. The NPG will continue to be available for print. We  also know that there is a growing demand for the NPG in a mobile version that could offer users more convenience and flexibility.  

Dangers of Bathtub Refinishing

Categories: Chemicals, Engineering Control, Exposure, Manufacturing

Nitrile-gloved hands refinishing a bathtubAt least 14 workers have died since 2000 as a result of using stripping agents containing methylene chloride during bathtub refinishing.  Many stripping products (including those that may also be available to consumers) contain high percentages of methylene chloride. Methylene chloride is extremely dangerous when not used properly.  Alternative products and processes exist for bathtub refinishing.  Products containing methylene chloride should be avoided when possible.  Earlier this week NIOSH and OSHA released a joint Hazard Alert titled Methylene Chloride Hazards for Bathtub Refinishers

Catching the Flu: NIOSH Research on Airborne Influenza Transmission

Categories: Exposure, Health care, Personal Protective Equipment, Women

A sneeze in progress. Need we say more? Cover your mouth!

As we enter another influenza season, one question continues to vex medical and public health professionals:  How do you stop people from catching the flu? The best way to prevent the flu is by getting an influenza vaccine every year. However, in the event of a large-scale influenza outbreak of a new virus strain or a pandemic, when influenza vaccine may not be promptly available, we will see tremendous demands on the health care system and its workers.  Thus, it’s critical to understand how influenza is transmitted from person to person so that we can determine the best ways to protect health care workers while still enabling them to do their jobs.

The typical incubation period for influenza is 1-4 days (average: 2 days). Adults shed influenza virus from the day before symptoms begin through 5-10 days after illness onset. However, the amount of virus shed, and presumably infectivity, decreases rapidly by 3-5 days after onset in an experimental human infection model. Young children also might shed virus several days before illness onset, and children can be infectious for 10 or more days after onset of symptoms. Severely immunocompromised persons can shed virus for weeks or months.

Safety and Health in the Theater: Keeping Tragedy out of the Comedies…and Musicals…and Dramas

Categories: Chemicals, Construction, Ergonomics, Exposure, Hearing Loss, Sports and Entertainment

On Sunday, the 2012 Tony Awards celebrated the year’s best offerings from “The Great White Way.”  While the theater provides entertainment, the preparation and production of live performances can also pose hazards to those working in all aspects of the theater –from actors on stage to set designers behind the scenes and musicians in the orchestra pit.  Some of these hazards were well publicized in recent years as multiple actors and stunt doubles were injured during the production of Spiderman, Turn off the Dark.  These injuries included harness failure, injuries sustained during flying sequences and actors struck by equipment[i]. With the complexities of a theatrical production, there are numerous potential hazards.  In fact, one hazard, a falling backdrop, is portrayed in the musical The Phantom of the Opera.  But the Phantom wasn’t to blame when a large backdrop hit Bret Michaels on the head after performing with the cast of Rock of Ages during the 2009 Tony Awards [ii].   Other potential hazards in the theater include rigging and flying hazards, repetitive strain injuries among dancers and carpenters, solvent and chemical exposures, noise-induced hearing loss, electrical hazards, falls from heights, as well as most hazards found on a construction site.

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