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Improving Respirator Use and Compliance in Healthcare – An Invitation

Categories: Healthcare, Personal Protective Equipment, Women

Photos courtesy of Kimberly Clark, Moldex, 3M, and Alpha Protec

Poor compliance with respiratory protection requirements and proper use recommendations in healthcare settings remains a vexing problem. Given the many possible methods to improve compliance, and the constraints of limited budgets and resources available for research, we are asking the question: where should NIOSH conduct research to address this issue? 

There are many reasons to focus attention on healthcare workplaces.  There are more than 14 million workers in the United States employed in the healthcare field.  Healthcare personnel are sometimes exposed to a variety of potential airborne respiratory hazards (e.g., Mycobacterium tuberculosis, hazardous chemicals, influenza etc.).  In some of these situations the patient is the source of the exposure, but still requires medical care. Not surprisingly, some studies have found that compared to non-healthcare settings, healthcare personnel could be at a higher risk of exposure to infectious respiratory diseases.  Preferred methods of reducing exposure (elimination, substitution, administrative, and engineering controls) are often not possible or practical to implement, especially during an emerging infectious disease outbreak or pandemic. 

Cost-effective Rollover Protective Structure (CROPS)

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Engineering Control, Motor Vehicle Safety, Outdoor Work, Transportation

Despite a decades-long effort to raise awareness about the importance of roll over protective structures (ROPS) in preventing injury and death from tractor roll overs, tractor overturns continue to be the leading cause of occupational agricultural death in the United States.

While all tractors produced since 1986 come with ROPS as standard equipment, farm tractors have a long life span.  Unless a tractor has been retrofitted, operators of older tractors are unprotected during rollovers.   We know there are various reasons for the reluctance to retrofit older tractors with ROPS.  We’ve heard them all: “They cost too much.” “They are too much of a hassle to find/install.” “My dad/grandpa/ mother/uncle never used them and they never had a problem.”  The fact remains that farmworkers continue to die while working on unprotected tractors. 

WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY 2013

Categories: Observances, Uncategorized

 

On Workers Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who suffered work-related injury, illness, and death, and we rededicate ourselves to the mission of preventing future tragedies.  Earning a day’s pay should not place anyone at risk of losing life or livelihood.

Thanks to a concerted partnership of labor, industry, government, science, and public opinion, great strides have been made in reducing the burden of workplace injury and disease over the last century.  Since 1913, the toll of work-related deaths has fallen by some 80 percent. 

In 2013, occupational safety and health professionals strive to continue that progress.  It is important to recognize that progress is only a relative term as long as anyone faces a risk to life or wellbeing at work. We must eliminate for good the legacy hazards of the 20th Century.  We must also embrace a new 21st Century paradigm in which worker health and safety are fully incorporated into the design, start-up, and lifespan of new businesses, industries, structures, work processes, and technologies.

Help! What do you want from a mobile Pocket Guide?

Categories: Chemicals, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Exposure, Manufacturing, Personal Protective Equipment, Technology

Since its first printing in 1978, the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) continues to be the Institute’s most popular document. The NPG provides general descriptive, exposure, and protective and emergency recommendations for 677 chemicals commonly found in the work environment. Workers, employers, and occupational health professionals all use the NPG in the course of their work and often in emergency situations.  Fire fighters, for example, use the NPG to prepare themselves for exposures  they might encounter on fire scenes.

The current printed pocket guide is a 424 page, 3 inch by 7 inch, pocket-sized book.  We know many people rely on the printed version, particularly in times of emergency when power may be out or signals down or overextended. The NPG will continue to be available for print. We  also know that there is a growing demand for the NPG in a mobile version that could offer users more convenience and flexibility.  

 
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