miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2016

NIOSH Research Rounds - January, 2016

NIOSH Research Rounds

In This Issue

Surveillance is the First Step in Prevention: The FOG Database for Oil and Gas Extraction Workers

Understanding how, why, and to whom a fatal work-related injury occurs is an early step in preventing further deaths. To further that understanding and the prevention of work-related fatalities, a new database at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) collects detailed information about fatal events in the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry. The Fatalities in Oil and Gas Extraction (FOG) database provides researchers, industry safety and health professionals, and other stakeholders with critical information for targeted prevention efforts.
NIOSH developed and began populating the FOG database in 2013. The next year, the institute published its first FOG report, which identified the assembly and disassembly of drilling or well-servicing rigs as the types of operations most commonly associated with fatal events. The FOG database also helped to identify and describe a previously uncharacterized hazard in the oil and gas extraction industry: fatalities associated with breathing dangerous hydrocarbon gases or vapors. By identifying this and other trends, the FOG database informs research aimed at protecting oil and gas extraction workers.

Laboratory Studies Focus on Exposures Associated with Oil and Gas Operations

During the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill, clean-up workers reported symptoms such as breathing difficulty, headache, and nausea and the health effects associated with mixed exposure to crude oil, dispersant, and combustion products were unknown. From existing data, we don't know whether or to what extent the symptoms were associated with emissions from the crude oil itself, how long they might persist, and whether these acute symptoms signal risks for other effects that may take years to become apparent These are important questions for protecting responders in any future, large-scale emergencies like Deep Water Horizon, for monitoring long-term risk from past exposures, and for understanding the implications for workers who may be exposed to airborne emissions from crude oil in extraction and production.
To fill this critical knowledge gap, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched the first study of its kind to investigate the health effects of breathing in unrefined (crude) oil. Crude oil releases potentially toxic gases and vapors into the air, posing the risk of inhalation. To study the health effects of these gases in controlled laboratory experiments, researchers developed an innovative system that can generate the same type of gases generated during some oil and gas operations. They hope that their findings, expected later this year, will encourage more research in this under-studied area that, ultimately, will lead to improved understanding of potential hazards and protection for oil workers.

New Tool Effectively Measures Airborne Coal Dust

From 1986 to 2010, 10 deadly explosions occurred in underground coal mines in the United States. The risk of explosion involves an interrelated chain of events. A source of heat (such as a spark) ignites methane gas in the air of the coal mine tunnel. The sudden pressure created by that blast stirs up deposits of coal dust from mine surfaces. Those combustible particles, now airborne, catch fire too and propagate the explosion with devastating force. Ignition sources, methane, and coal dust all must be controlled to avert risk. Applying large amounts of incombustible limestone dust to mine surfaces, to reduce the risk of airborne coal dust igniting, is one of those control techniques.
To know whether enough limestone dust has been applied to prevent the coal dust from igniting (and whether other controls have been successful in reducing the amount of coal dust in the mine in the first place), you have to analyze a sample of dust to estimate the amount of coal dust in the mix. The challenge: having a reliable method to differentiate between the rock dust and the coal dust in air samples.

No hay comentarios: