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Puncture: Exposure for Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Health care, Women

a row of hyperdermic needlesA dedicated and hard-working nurse is going through a normal shift. Checking vital signs, updating medical records, administering medications, comforting patients, drawing blood samples, inserting IVs, and then OUCH! What just happened? Is that a red dot underneath the glove? This can’t be right…

This scenario has unfolded thousands of times among health care workers, often with tragic results. The CDC estimates that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur annually among health care workers in hospitals—with nurses the most affected healthcare occupation. The average risk of bloodborne infection following one of these all-too-common injuries is approximately 1.8%. While the numbers are appalling, the most harrowing costs emerge in the stories of the individuals affected.

One such story has been protrayed in the film Puncture.

Buy Quiet

Categories: Engineering Control, Hearing Loss, Manufacturing, Prevention Through Design

a circular sawWe know that using tools and machinery that produce less noise will help prevent hearing loss among the workers who use them. The next step would seem obvious—buy quieter tools and machinery. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Making products quieter is a tough sell in industry. Currently, the availability of quieter tools and machines is limited and it’s not always clear to purchasers how much noise particular tools and machinery produce. NIOSH and its partners are working to change that through the creation of a Buy Quiet web tool.

This web tool will build on the process of “buy quiet”—the concept that employers can most effectively reduce hazardous noise levels at their worksites through their procurement process.

The Continuing Persistence of Silicosis

Categories: Respiratory Health

the dust which is stirred and beaten up by digging penetrates into the windpipe and lungs and produces difficulty in breathing. (Agricola, 1556)

worker kicking up dust with a machineCrystalline silica (silicon dioxide) has long been recognized as an occupational hazard. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimated in 2003 that over 2 million workers were potentially exposed to crystalline silica dust in general industry, construction and maritime industries. Based on OSHA compliance inspection data, Yassin et al estimated that about 119,000 of such workers were exposed. Inhalation of crystalline silica can cause silicosis, a preventable but incurable type of lung fibrosis. At current U.S. levels of exposure, chronic inhalation generally takes a decade or longer to cause disease. However, high levels of exposure can cause disease more quickly. Severe cases can be disabling or even fatal. Breathing silica dust is also associated with tuberculosis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Exposure to silica dust may also cause various autoimmune diseases and chronic renal (kidney) disease.

Bed Bugs!

Categories: Exposure

magnified bed bug“Just try to sleep tight. The bed bugs are back,” a New York Times headline proclaimed in 2005. The article reported on a resurgence of reports about infestations of tiny Cimex lectularius in New York City. These “stealthy and fast-moving nocturnal creatures that were all but eradicated by DDT after World War II, have recently been found in hospital maternity wards, private schools and even a plastic surgeon’s waiting room,” the article stated.1

The New York experience is not unique. Around the world, pest control specialists have reported “10-fold, 100-fold, even 1,000-fold increases in bed bug jobs over the past five or ten years,” according to pest control consultants Lawrence J. Pinto, Richard Cooper, and Sandy Kraft.2 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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