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A Health and Safety Evaluation at an Airline Catering Facility

Categories: Ergonomics, Exposure, Stress

 

The airline industry predicts that more than 24 million people will fly during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. If you are one of those passengers, chances are that you’ll have a snack or a soda on your way to your destination. Before reaching your seat, those snacks, beverages, and meals are prepared, assembled, and delivered by a catering company. In a recent Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) report, we described our evaluation of a catering facility in Michigan. We conducted the evaluation at the request of a union representing airline catering employees. The union was concerned about risks for musculoskeletal disorders, working in extreme hot and cold temperatures, job stress, and injuries in the facility’s kitchen and loading docks.

Help! What do you want from a mobile Pocket Guide?

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.

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