Category: Emergency Response/Public Sector

Suicides Among First Responders: A Call to Action

  The recent Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” highlighted suicides as a significant public health problem. In 2019, there were 47,500 suicide fatalities in the U.S. and an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts[1]. The causes of suicide are complex, with many personal, socio-demographic, medical, and economic factors Read More >

Posted on by Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Katherine L. Elkins, MPH; Melissa Brown, DrPH; Suzanne Marsh, MPA; and Leslie M. Carson, MPH, MSW25 Comments

Understanding the Use of Imported Non-NIOSH-Approved Respirators

When a respirator has been approved by NIOSH, the user can be confident that the device will provide the expected level of protection, as long as it fits properly and is worn correctly. But when serious outbreak conditions cause a shortage of the NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), other reliable options must be found. When Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD; John Powers, BS; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA

NIOSH Ventilated Headboard Provides Solution to Patient Isolation During an Epidemic

To protect healthcare workers, other patients, and visitors from exposure to airborne infectious diseases, patients in hospital settings sometimes need to be placed in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs). AIIRs contain specific engineered features to isolate and more-quickly remove potentially infectious patient aerosols so that they do not infect others. Isolation rooms are expensive, costing Read More >

Posted on by Kenneth R. Mead Ph.D., PE17 Comments

The Need for Fit Testing During Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Proper respirator use is essential for healthcare workers who are expected to interact with patients with infectious respiratory diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires healthcare facilities to maintain a respiratory protection program that specifies requirements such as annual fit testing, medical clearance, and training. Initial fit testing is required before using a Read More >

Posted on by Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD; LT Megan Casey, RN, BSN, MPH; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA

World Cancer Day 2020 – Reflecting on a Decade of NIOSH Cancer Research

February 4th, 2020 is World Cancer Day, and we are reflecting on the role of the occupational cancer research being done at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in reducing the burden of cancer worldwide. Cancer develops as a result of the body losing its ability to control the growth and spread Read More >

Posted on by Raquel Velazquez-Kronen, Ph.D.; and Jasmine Nelson, B.S.6 Comments

Using Worker Absenteeism to Track the Flu

Is flu on the rise among workers? Those working in public health track the number of flu-related hospital and doctor visits, but many people suffer symptoms and don’t seek medical treatment. So, how do we know how many people are sick with the flu during a flu pandemic or a seasonal epidemic? Each year, the Read More >

Posted on by Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD5 Comments

NIOSH and USDA Partner to Protect Workers after Hurricane Florence

Responders face many challenges and hazards when responding to disasters. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) maintains an emergency preparedness and response resources page to help workers stay protected during response and recovery activities. In some cases unique hazards are identified during a response and NIOSH works to develop communication materials to Read More >

Posted on by CAPT Lisa Delaney, MS, CIH7 Comments

Help Us Redesign the NIOSH Pocket Guide

The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018. The guide continues to be the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) most popular document. It provides descriptive information such as recommendations for exposure limits, protective clothing, and first aid measures for 677 chemicals commonly found in the work Read More >

Posted on by Naomi Hudson, Dr.P.H, and Donna Van Bogaert, Ph.D. 74 Comments

New Software Tracks Health of Emergency Responders

As we recognize September as National Preparedness Month, U.S. and international emergency personnel have been overwhelmed with responses to the hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires experienced in this month alone. While these responders often put their lives on the line for public safety, we at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) together Read More >

Posted on by CDR Jill Shugart, MSPH, REHS1 Comment

Fentanyl Exposure Risks for Law Enforcement and Emergency Response Workers

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic drug that is similar to morphine and heroin, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl and its analogs, such as carfentanil, can pose a potential hazard to law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, and firefighters who could come into contact with these drugs through the course of their work Read More >

Posted on by Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, MS, CIH; G. Scott Dotson, PhD, CIH; and Deborah Hornback, MS 20 Comments

DERMaL eToolkit

Emergency response personnel are often at risk of getting dangerous chemicals on their skin. Despite the availability of numerous high-quality resources designed to guide emergency management and operations personnel, data gaps continue to exist on specific hazards or scenarios. Available resources contain an overwhelming quantity of data on inhalation exposures, but data related to dermal Read More >

Posted on by Naomi Hudson, DrPH, MPH Leave a comment

Ambulance Crash Test Methods

Ambulance crashes are a major safety concern for workers and patients. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reviewed data from 45 special crash investigations from 2001-2015, and found that 84% of EMS workers were not wearing a seat belt in the patient compartment.1 For EMS workers, wearing a seat belt can be at odds with Read More >

Posted on by Jim Green and Sydney Webb, PhD 2 Comments

National Police Week and NIOSH’s Work in Officer Safety

Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week are observances that pay tribute to local, state, and Federal officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty.  The Peace Officers Memorial Day occurs annually on May 15 which was designated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.  National Police Week is the Read More >

Posted on by Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Jeff Rojek, PhD; Hongwei Hsiao, PhD; Claire Caruso, PhD3 Comments

Noise Exposure Among Federal Wildland Fire Fighters

Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. NIOSH estimates that 22 million U.S. workers encounter noise exposures loud enough to be hazardous.  Wildland fire fighting (vs. urban/ structural fire fighting), aims to suppress grass, brush, or forest fires (see Figure 1).  Wildland fire fighting is considered a high-risk Read More >

Posted on by George Broyles , LCDR Corey Butler, CAPT Chuck Kardous 1 Comment

Arduous Duty: Using Three Data Sources to Create a Single Wildland Fire Fighter On-Duty Death Surveillance System

Wildland fire fighters are required to pass an “arduous duty” physical fitness test annually to help ensure that they are prepared for the physical nature of the job. Unlike structural fire fighting, wildland fire fighting often requires long work shifts that may last up to 14 continuous days, and often takes place in environments that Read More >

Posted on by CDR Christa Hale, LCDR Corey Butler, and Elizabeth Dalsey, M.A. 2 Comments

Maintaining a Relationship with your Turnout Gear

Sent flowers? Check. Made dinner reservations? Check. Purchased one of those mandatory heart-shaped boxes of candy? Check. Conducted routine cleaning of your turnout gear… wait. What? Valentine’s Day is all about putting in a little extra effort to maintain the important relationships in our lives. Way back in 2013, we began a tradition of taking Read More >

Posted on by Jay Tarley and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz 3 Comments

Occupational Health Issues in the USA

Happy New Year. As we start afresh in 2017 I wanted to share my recent editorial in the British journal, Occupational Medicine, “Occupational health issues in the USA”.  The article highlights some of the occupational safety and health issues identified as needing attention by the industry sector groups of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).  Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD10 Comments

Capturing Work-related Injuries from Emergency Department Data

Work-related injuries frequently occur, despite the fact that many are preventable. It is critical that we accurately describe and monitor these injuries in order to improve prevention efforts. Because there is no comprehensive data source that captures all work-related injuries, the occupational injury community relies on multiple sources to describe the problem. The occupational supplement Read More >

Posted on by Audrey Reichard, Suzanne Marsh, and Rebecca OlsavskyLeave a comment

Deepwater Horizon

With last week’s premier of the movie Deepwater Horizon, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) remembers the workers who were killed and injured in the explosion as well as the tens of thousands who worked on containment and clean up activities. NIOSH played an important role in protecting and monitoring the health and Read More >

Posted on by CDR Lisa Delaney, MS, CIH2 Comments

National Safety Month

It’s National Safety Month. Each June, the National Safety Council and its partners raise awareness on preventing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities.  This year’s theme is SafeForLife. Each week of June has a different focus area. In this joint blog from the Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD, and Kathy Lane 2 Comments