sábado, 20 de agosto de 2016

NIOSH Research Rounds - August, 2016

NIOSH Research Rounds - August, 2016


In This Issue

New Rock-crusher Booth Protects Against Airborne Pollutants

In the 1960s cartoon The Flintstones, Stone Age man Fred Flintstone worked in a quarry while sitting in the open booth of a rock-crusher machine. Presumably, the animators based Fred’s booth on the open designs typical of the 1960s. If they had created it in the 2000s, however, Fred’s booth would have looked vastly different, notwithstanding the fact that his booth was atop a brontosaurus.

Modern-day enclosed, climate-controlled booths are a prime example of prevention through design, one of the approaches that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends for developing safe, healthy, and comfortable work environments. Today’s booths have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with built-in air pressurization and filtration units to remove airborne pollutants such as silica dust from rock and sand and particles from diesel exhaust. Removing these airborne pollutants is critical to protecting workers from developing silicosis, lung cancer, and other job-related lung diseases, which are preventable by reducing job-related exposures to respirable silica dust.

In a recent study, NIOSH investigators worked with industry partners at 3M Company to design and test an environmentally controlled booth for workers who operate rock crushers at the company’s Wausau granite quarry near Wausau, Wisconsin. Previously, the Wausau quarry had used an older crusher booth without HVAC or air filtration and pressurization systems. Based on specifications from previous NIOSH research, 3M designed and installed a new booth with full HVAC and filtration and pressurization systems. Compared to the old booth, the new one provided significantly greater protection against respirable rock dust, the investigators reported in a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Mining Engineering. In addition, they found that increased filtration of the recirculated airflow markedly improved the booth’s effectiveness at protecting the operator from airborne pollutants.

Falls Cause Most Deaths from Traumatic Brain Injury in Constructions

The next time you see construction workers on scaffolding or a roof tens of feet above the ground, bear in mind that their occupation is one of the most dangerous in the country. From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers died from work-related traumatic brain injury (TBI), usually as the result of a fall from a height, according to a recent study at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The first step in preventing deaths from TBI is to identify, and then control, risks. Since current research on work-related TBI is limited, NIOSH investigators wanted to identify the major risks to workers in the construction industry. To identify these risks, they analyzed data on TBIs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and reported their findings in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Industrial Medicine. They found that some construction workers were at greater risk of dying from a TBI than others. Specifically, the risk of dying from a TBI varied according to sex, age, country of birth, occupation, and size of the construction company:

Method Helps Protect Healthcare Workers from Hazardous Drugs

All drugs carry risks, as well as benefits, as the patient warnings listed on the accompanying inserts indicate. One class of drugs with especially serious risks are anticancer drugs, which can be associated with organ damage, reproductive harm, hearing impairment, and cancer. For patients who need these drugs for treatment, the benefits often outweigh the risks.

For healthcare workers, however, it is critical to prevent possible exposures through a comprehensive drug-safety program that includes a method called surface wipe sampling. Studies show that healthcare workers face exposure to anticancer and other hazardous drugs, most often through skin contact, although accidental inhalation and ingestion also can occur

Neck Pain Linked to Psychosocial and Organizational Risks at Work

If you have ever experienced persistent neck pain, you know that it can affect every aspect of daily life. Even simple tasks, such as walking, driving a car, or just sitting or lying down comfortably, can present a challenge when your neck hurts. In the workplace, neck pain can make it difficult or impossible to get the job done. Now, investigators at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) with university partners have found a link between neck pain and specific psychosocial and organizational risks in the workplace.

In the United States, neck pain and other injuries to the upper arms and back are the underlying causes of approximately one-third of injury-related lost workdays in manufacturing. Across all industry nationwide, neck pain affects an estimated 15% of workers. At NIOSH, the causes and prevention of work-related neck pain and other muscle and bone injuries are research priorities.

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