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Is There a Link Between Firefighting and Cancer? – Epidemiology in Action

Categories: Cancer, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the art and science of using data to answer questions about the health of groups. In occupational epidemiology, we use that data to understand how work affects health. This blog entry is part of a series that shares the stories behind the data.

Firefighters face numerous hazards in the line of duty. The risks of acute and potentially fatal injuries and stresses from the dangerous environment of a fire scene are well known. In addition to these hazards, fires generate toxic contaminants, including some agents known or suspected to cause cancer. Less is known about the potential long-term health effects firefighters may experience as a result of work-related exposures. In particular, do firefighters face a higher risk of cancer than is found in the general population?

Building Better Buoyancy – Developing Innovative Life Vests for Commercial Fishermen

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Personal Protective Equipment, Research to practice r2p

PFD2

Commercial fishing veteran, Brett Smith, works the line in the ‘Rogue’ flotation vest. Photo courtesy of Kent Safety Products.

Think about wearing a life jacket to work. What comes to mind? Do you think cool, comfortable, and easy-to-work in? Or, are you more inclined to think of life jackets as cumbersome, uncomfortable, and interfering? If you are leaning toward the latter, you’re right on track with what NIOSH heard from commercial fishermen back in 2008.

It is an indisputable fact: personal flotation devices (PFDs), or life jackets, save lives.1-3 However, in the commercial fishing industry where almost 90% of fatalities are caused by drowning after a fall overboard or vessel disaster, many fishermen do not routinely wear PFDs while working on deck. 4

What Works Best to Prevent Stress Among Healthcare Workers: Changing the organization or educating staff?

Categories: Healthcare, Stress

 

HCstressOccupational Safety and Health (OSH) professionals have to make many decisions on a daily basis. These decisions can involve risk assessment methods, preventive workplace measures, workers’ health surveillance or even rehabilitation or return-to-work practices. According to the principles of evidence based practice, such decisions should be guided by high-quality scientific knowledge (van Dijk et al., 2010) such as provided by systematic reviews of the literature. The Cochrane Collaboration is internationally recognized as the leader in producing high quality systematic reviews about the effectiveness of health interventions. The Cochrane Collaboration is a not-for-profit organization with collaborators from over 120 countries working to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Cochrane systematic reviews try to help with the decision-making process by synthesizing the results of multiple studies and finding out, for example, what are the best ways to protect workers against health risks and dangers that exist in the workplace. Cochrane systematic reviews seek answers to the most basic question: “does this intervention work?”

Prolonged Standing at Work

Categories: Ergonomics, Healthcare, Service Sector, Wholesale and Retail Trade

 

standingThe National Retail Federation forecasts that retailers and merchants will hire between 730,000 and 790,000 seasonal workers this holiday season.[i] Many of these workers, such as sales associates and cashiers, have little, if any, opportunity to sit during their work shift. Increasingly, workers across a variety of occupations are required to stand for long periods of time without being able to walk or sit during their work shift. For example, in operating rooms, nurses and doctors must stand for many hours during surgical procedures. In retail, sales associates spend a considerable amount of their work time standing without the ability to sit down.  Female associates who wear high heel shoes are at increased risk of developing musculoskeletal pain conditions.[ii] [iii]

NIOSH conducted a review of the literature to examine the risks of prolonged standing in the workplace. “Evidence of Health Risks Associated with Prolonged Standing at Work and Intervention Effectiveness” was published in Rehabilitation Nursing earlier in the year.[iv]  Based on the research reviewed, there appears to be ample evidence that prolonged standing in the work place leads to a number of negative health outcomes. The studies consistently reported increased reports of low back pain, physical fatigue, muscle pain, leg swelling, tiredness, and body part discomfort due to prolonged standing. There is significant evidence that prolonged standing at work (primarily in one place) increases risk of low back pain, cardiovascular problems, and pregnancy outcomes.

 
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