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Safer Healthier Workers

Workplace Health Is Public Health

Categories: Economics, Total Worker Health

It’s National Public Health Week.  Those of us who work in workplace safety and health know that workplace health is an integral part of public health. While “Creating a Healthy Workplace” is one of the five themes of National Public Health Week, the role of workplace health in Public Health is not always clear to the general public. If you were asked to make the case for or provide examples of the importance of workplace safety and health in the broader context of public health, what would you say? We would like to hear how you explain to your colleagues, friends, and family that workplace safety and health IS public health.

Contractors Wanted: Help NIOSH Advance Research to Protect Workers from Silica

Categories: Construction, Engineering Control, Respiratory Health

  • Are you a contractor whose company has at least three years of field experience cutting fiber cement siding with a circular saw?
  • Has your company installed fiber cement siding on at least three large residential jobs?
  • Do you have an upcoming job where fiber cement siding will be cut and installed for at least eight hours per day over a course of three days?

If you answered “Yes” to these three questions then WE NEED YOU! 

NIOSH is currently testing low-cost solutions for protecting workers from silica exposure when cutting fiber cement siding. You can help us test a dust control and at the same time add to the research that supports and advances the prevention of silicosis. 

Fiber Cement Siding and Silica

Fiber cement siding is a popular product in home construction. Many builders select this siding because it is a weather-resilient material that does not generally attract insects or need to be painted as frequently as other common siding materials. However, fiber cement siding when cut can create fine dust particles containing silica that when breathed in, can lead to serious lung diseases, such as silicosis.

Work-Related Amputations: Who’s Counting?

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Construction, Manufacturing

Knowing how many, who and where injuries or disease are occurring is a basic premise of preventing injuries and illnesses. If we don’t have accurate information on injury/illness occurrence, we don’t know how many resources to devote, what action(s) to take or whether the action we do take is effective.

 New findings from Michigan State University and the Michigan Department of Community Health on work-related amputations, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is the latest in a series of efforts to find better ways to identify work-related injuries and use that information to prevent similar injuries from happening in the future. In this latest work we identified 616 work-related amputations in Michigan, which was two and a half times more amputations than identified by the national system for tracking workplace injury (616 vs. 250). Not only can we identify more amputations but, unlike the Federal system, the information can be used for efforts to prevent such terrible injuries in the future, including use by OSHA to conduct enforcement inspections at the facilities where the amputations occurred.

New Findings on Lung Tumor Formation in Laboratory Mice Exposed to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Categories: Cancer, Manufacturing, Nanotechnology

Alveolar Bronchiolar Carcinoma of the Lung with Metastases in a Blood Vessel (arrow). Photo courtesy of Linda Sargent, Ph.D., NIOSH

 Earlier today, at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology, NIOSH researchers reported preliminary findings from a new laboratory study in which mice were exposed by inhalation to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT).  The study was designed to investigate whether these tiny particles have potential to initiate or promote cancer.  By “initiate,” we mean the ability of a substance to cause mutations in DNA that can lead to tumors.  By “promote,” we mean the ability of a substance to cause cells that have already sustained such DNA mutations to then become tumors. 

It is very important to have new data that describe the potential health hazards that these materials might represent, so that protective measures can be developed to ensure the safe advancement of nanotechnology in the many industries where it is being applied.

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