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Reaching Towards a Healthier, Safer Workplace:NIOSH looks at healthcare worker familiarity with recommended respiratory protection practices

Categories: Health care, Personal Protective Equipment

 

Every day healthcare workers (HCWs) make decisions about the best way to protect themselves. What would you do if you entered the room of a new patient and noticed symptoms such as fever and a mucus-producing cough? As a HCW, you must then ask yourself, “What type of disease does the patient have? What sort of precautions should I take to protect myself because the patient may have an infectious disease?” While it is your employer’s responsibility to provide policies, programs, training, and guidance on respirator use, it is the health care workers who implement these procedures.  Do you know when to use respiratory protection? If so, do you understand what type of protection to choose and how to use it properly?

Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs

Categories: Drugs, Health care

May is National Oncology Nursing Month.  In honor of these nurses and all who work with hazardous drugs (many of which are used in the treatment of cancer) we are posting this blog on how to safely prepare, administer or otherwise handle these drugs.    

About 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs.  Inhalation and skin contact or absorption are the most likely routes of exposure.   However, unintentional ingestion from hand to mouth contact and unintentional injection through a needle-stick or sharps injury are also possible.  Hazardous drugs can include those used for cancer therapy, some antiviral drugs, hormone agents, and bioengineered drugs.

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.

Happy N95 Day! A Guide to N95 Resources

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Health care, Manufacturing, Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Health

Welcome to year two of this NIOSH-approved observance, marking N95 day as an official annual event. (We debated about decorating our offices with N95s – but that seemed a tad wasteful). To those who missed the memo last year, let us update you. Because N95 respirators are so important to the health and safety of workers in so many different industries, and because there is more to know about this personal protective device than just when to slap one on, we have dedicated a day to the promotion, celebration, dissemination, and proclamation of N95 information. This is a time to recognize the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and familiarize yourself with the resources out there to help you make educated decisions when wearing a respirator.

Much like last year, NIOSH social media will be a-buzz promoting N95 information. If you’re on twitter, be sure to follow @NIOSH and @NPPTL, #N95 day, for the most current updates. We will also be celebrating on the NIOSH facebook page and Pinterest! (By the way, that image to the left is our Pin-tastic new infographic!)

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