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All-terrain Vehicles and Work

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Construction, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Motor Vehicle Safety, Oil and Gas, Outdoor Work, Transportation

Worker hauling log during small-scale forestry operation

Over the past 30 years, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have grown increasingly popular recreationally and have become a valuable asset at work.   With an estimated 11 million in use in 2010 for both work and recreation, ATVs have become a common means of transportation.       

ATVs were first manufactured in the late 1960s as farm-to-town vehicles for use in isolated, mountainous areas in Japan. They were first introduced in the U.S. for agricultural applications in the early 1980s. ATVs have many unique features that enable them to operate in a variety of harsh environments where other larger, less mobile vehicles cannot be used, making them very useful in the workplace. 

Even a Dummy Knows October is Protect Your Hearing Month

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Hearing Loss, Manufacturing, Total Worker Health

Meet Nick.  Nick is a training mannequin who helps NIOSH teach young people and their families about preventing noise-induced hearing loss.  Hearing loss can result from working around noise–even non-powered hand tools–without wearing proper hearing protection. It is not uncommon for a 25 year-old farmer or carpenter to have the hearing of a 50 year-old.  In fact, 33% of all people who are exposed to hazardous noise at work will develop noise-induced hearing loss. You don’t have to work on a farm or at a factory to be at risk; common noise sources around your house – such as lawnmowers, power tools, and music systems – can be hazardous to your hearing.  It is the sum of all of your exposures to sound throughout the day and evening that add together to damage hearing when that total becomes excessive. Even the young are at risk.  In the general population, approximately 15% of those between ages 6 and 19 show signs of impaired hearing.[i]  One study found that over 30% of high school boys who live or work on a farm have hearing loss[ii]. We need to protect this and the next generation of workers.

Drive Safely Work Week

Categories: Construction, Motor Vehicle Safety, Transportation

steering wheel

  •  A 45-year-old salesperson was killed in a motor vehicle crash while traveling to meet with clients.
  •   A 26-year-old emergency medical technician died when the ambulance she was in was struck head-on by a pickup truck traveling more than 70 miles per hour in the wrong lane of a two-lane road.
  •  A 42-year-old construction foreman lost his life as his company truck plowed into a slower-moving petroleum tanker.
  •  A 21-year-old highway worker died after a dump truck loaded with asphalt backed over him during a nighttime paving operation.

These are only a few examples of lives lost due to motor vehicle crashes at work.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related death in the United States.  Risk of work-related motor vehicle crashes cuts across all industries and occupations. Workers who drive on the job may be “professional” drivers whose primary job is to transport freight or passengers.  Many other workers spend a substantial part of the work day driving a vehicle owned or leased by their employer, or a personal vehicle. 

Protecting Emergency Responders

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector

When disaster strikes, the nation depends on emergency response workers who are prepared and trained to respond effectively. This need is particularly clear as we observe the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and honor the responders who performed heroic service during that somber time. Response work can range from well-contained, localized efforts to massive, diffuse mobilizations and involves a broad array of activities including search, rescue, investigations, assessment, recovery, cleanup, and restoration. Such work is carried out by individuals from emergency management, fire services, law enforcement, emergency medical services, public health, construction and other skilled support, disaster relief, mental health, and volunteer organizations.

To ensure that workers can meet the challenges of disasters, every effort must be made to protect emergency workers from the safety and health risks inherent in the work.  A new National Response Team technical assistance document, “Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance” is now available which provides a recommended health monitoring and surveillance system.  The Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance system includes specific recommendations and tools for all phases of a response, including the pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment phase (see Figure 1). The intent of medical monitoring and surveillance is to identify exposures and/or signs and symptoms early in the course of an emergency response.  Early detection can prevent or mitigate adverse physical and psychological outcomes; helping to ensure that workers and volunteers are not harmed in the course of their response and are able to maintain their ability to respond effectively.

 
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