Following the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting and ongoing oil spill, occupational health specialists from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) arrived on site in the Gulf on May 2, 2010, as part of the federal interagency effort to anticipate and address occupational and environmental health and safety needs in the Gulf Coast. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) requested NIOSH’s on-site technical assistance including input on worker health hazard risk assessment tools and personal protective equipment (PPE) selection tools used to train workers. NIOSH quickly responded and posted the NIOSH Deepwater Horizon Response Resources topic page that is updated as additional information becomes available.
Safer Healthier Workers
Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector
June 29th, 2010 10:59 am ET - Jim Spahr, MPH
June 17th, 2010 12:42 pm ET - Chucri A. Kardous, MS, PE, and Thais Morata, PhD
They have been compared to a heard of stampeding elephants, the drone of a thousand bees, or the sound of a goat being dragged to slaughter—and they are the latest craze at the World Cup. The vuvuzela, a plastic, meter-long South African horn sanctioned by FIFA as part of the “signature South African World Cup” has drawn criticism for disrupting the games, interfering with broadcasts, and potentially impairing spectators’ hearing.
A study published in the South African Medical Journal found that the actual sound output created by the vuvuzela reached dangerously high levels, averaging 131 decibels, A-weighted (dBA) at the horn opening and 113 (dBA) at a 2-meter distance from the vuvuzela.
May 20th, 2010 4:02 pm ET - Scott Dotson, PhD, and Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA
Take a postage stamp. Stick it to your arm. You’ve just covered 16 million cells, 55 hairs, 8 meters of nerves, 17,000 nerve endings, 5 meters of blood vessels, 500 sweat glands, and 83 oil glands. You’ve also just wasted 44 cents. Your skin is marvelously complex. It is your largest organ, accounting for 10% of your body’s mass. And it is the site of 15 to 20 percent of all reported work-related illnesses according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Skin can suffer direct, sensitizing, or systemic effects when exposed to hazardous chemicals. Direct exposure can corrode, irritate, bleach, or stain skin. Dermal exposure to chemicals such as nickel, glutaraldehyde, and chromium may sensitize the skin, causing or contributing to the onset of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) or other immune-mediated responses, such as airway hyper reactivity (asthma). Many commonly used chemicals in the workplace—pesticides, organic solvents—can be absorbed through the skin and potentially result in systemic toxicity. These agents enter the blood stream and cause health problems away from the site of entry. While our skin is marvelous, clearly it’s no suit of armor.
May 4th, 2010 1:28 pm ET - Dawn Castillo, MPH
This is the time of year that many young people begin thinking about summer jobs. For some teenagers, these jobs might be viewed as elective—that is, opportunities to gain work experience, spend time productively, or earn some spending money. For others, however, especially those in their late teens and early adulthood, these jobs pay the rent and buy groceries. New research from NIOSH illustrates that more needs to be done to ensure that as young people join the workforce they are better protected from hazards. On average each year from 1998 to 2007, about 800,000 workers 15 to 24 years of age were treated in emergency departments and nearly 600 died from work-related injuries. Younger workers were twice as likely as their older counterparts to be treated in hospital emergency departments for work-related injuries.
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