Blogs Arbeidshygiënisten

Preventing Trenching Fatalities

Construction workers are at risk of death or serious injury if they enter an unprotected trench and the walls col­lapse. A trench is defined as a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and is no wider than 15 feet or 4.5 meters [OSHA]. Hazards associated with trench work and excavation are well defined and preventable. From June 17-21, 2019, the National Utility Contractor Association (NUCA), the North American Excavation Shoring Association (NAXSA), the Trench Shoring and Shielding Association, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the Safety Ambassadors Club (SAC) are sponsoring the 2019 Trench

Celebrate National Safety Month

We all face risks throughout our lives. The fact is, unintentional injuries have been increasing for decades and are now the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. To reverse this trend, we all need to take simple steps to help keep each other safe. Safety should be practiced all year round, but June is a special time when we come together annually to spread the word about preventing injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities.  The focus areas for this year’s National Safety Month are hazard recognition; slips, trips, and falls;

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

The opioid overdose epidemic continues to claim lives across the country with a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017[i]. The crisis is taking an especially devastating toll on certain parts of the U.S. workforce. High rates of opioid overdose deaths have occurred in industries with high injury rates and physically demanding working conditions such as construction, mining, or fishing[ii],[iii]. Other job factors such as high job demands, job insecurity, and lack of control over tasks have also been linked to opioid use[iv]. Medication-assisted treatment* (MAT) has been effective for many people with opioid use disorder (OUD), allowing them to regain

Extramural Spotlight: Airline Pilot Mental Health

In March 2015, Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 people onboard. An investigation found that the copilot deliberately steered the plane into the mountainside. It also revealed that he had a history of depression. Among workers, untreated depression can affect the ability to perform tasks and—as the Germanwings incident shows—in rare instances, can result in devastating consequences. In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers at the NIOSH-funded Harvard Education and Research Center (ERC) looked at the prevalence of depression among commercial airline pilots. Researchers used an anonymous web-based survey of pilots recruited

A Storm of Summer Perils: The Battle for Healthy Outdoor Workers Is No Game

  In HBO’s Game of Thrones, the “House Stark” clan often loudly proclaim that “winter is coming.” Here at House NIOSH, we remind our safety and health professionals, employers, and workers that, THE DAYS ARE LONG AND FULL OF HAZARDS. When facing the opening salvos of the Battle for Healthy Outdoor Workers, be sure to know your friends and foes. Each of the Houses below can help your workers stay safe in dangerous times, or can betray workers with hidden dangers and unexpected pitfalls. House Hydration “What is hydrated can never dry” If in the heat 2 hours or less,

Right Sensors Used Right: A Life-cycle Approach for Real-time Monitors and Direct Reading Methodologies and Data. A Call to Action for Customers, Creators, Curators, and Analysts.

The Right Sensors Used Right Approach Right Sensors Used Right is an approach of the NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies. The objective is to promote the competent development, adoption, and interpretation of real-time monitors and direct-reading methodologies. It also aims to improve the interpretation of the data for taking action in work environments. Encouraging involved individuals to consider the capabilities and limitations of a technology can improve the ability to address modern measurement challenges. The Right Sensors Used Right approach has its roots in the concept that every real-time monitor or direct-reading methodology has its own unique

Farm Dinner Theater

It is not new news that agriculture has excessive worker injury rates. Nor that senior farmers and adult farmers in the South experience some of the highest occupational injury and mortality in the nation. There were an estimated 58,385 work-related adult farm injuries (more than six every hour) in 2014. In 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury. Reaching farmers with safety and health information can be challenging. Farmers are seldom in the same place; they are used to working in isolation and taking care of their own safety; and they have little time to be away from

Burden, Need and Impact: An Evidence-Based Method to Identify Worker Safety and Health Research Priorities

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), like all federal agencies, must ensure a thoughtful investment of public funds in fulfilling its statutory mandate. As public funding for science research programs becomes more constrained, and the demand for increased accountability of government spending grows, the need to demonstrate the impact or return on taxpayers’ investment becomes a necessity for research agencies. NIOSH has developed an evidence-based method that uses the criteria of ‘burden’, ‘need’, and ‘impact’ to identify research priorities. This method is explained in detail in the article “Burden, Need and Impact: An Evidence-Based Method to Identify

Small Business Week: Take time to Celebrate!

During Small Business Week, May 5-11, we celebrate entrepreneurs across the country for their willingness to take a risk and follow a dream. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, we have plenty to celebrate: more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.1 Like all businesses, small businesses face occupational safety and health challenges, no matter the industry. But several studies show that the smaller a business is, the more likely its workers are to experience injuries, illnesses, and

The Secret Identity of OSH

Fans of the comic book hero team The Avengers continue to break box office records with the movie Endgame. Let’s take a light-hearted moment to imagine the role occupational safety and health could play in some of our favorite fictional heroes’ origin stories and their secret identities. A large number of these characters’ heroic paths started with careless incidents that would most likely prove fatal to us mere mortals and not grant special green bulletproof skin or spider-like abilities. Some of these incidents could have been prevented by following known safety and health guidelines. In comics the titular character usually

AI and Workers’ Comp

The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine just awarded the article “Applying Machine Learning to Workers’ Compensation Data to Identify Industry-Specific Ergonomic and Safety Prevention Priorities, Ohio, 2001 to 2011” with an Adolph G. Kammer Merit in Authorship Award for the best article published in their journal last year. The article details how researchers used artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning methods to successfully auto-code over 1 million workers compensation claims. Essentially, researchers ”taught” a computer to use an extensive and complicated data set to answer the research question “What caused this injury?” Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational

Workers’ Memorial Day, 2019: Statement by John Howard, M.D., Director, NIOSH

Workers’ Memorial Day, observed annually on April 28, recognizes workers who were injured, became ill, or died because of exposures to hazards at work. In 2017, work-related injuries claimed the lives of 5,147 U.S. workers according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This represents less than a 1% decrease in the fatality rate from the previous year. We can do better. Together, the occupational safety and health community—including government, labor, academia, and industry—must address both the persistent risks to workers and proactively mitigate novel risks that are arising in a complex, evolving work environment being

Workplace Accidents, Occupational Illness and the Long Road to Workers’ Compensation and Safety Policies around the World

Workers’ Memorial Day1 takes place annually around the world on April 28 as an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. This day also commemorates the enactment of the United States’ Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, put into effect on April 28, 1971. The Act sought to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for every working man and woman in the country. To this end, it established the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Not least, this Workers’

Keeping Teens Safe and Healthy at Work: It takes teamwork!

For U.S. teens, a summer job is a rite of passage. Research demonstrates that these experiences, whether lifeguarding, working in a restaurant or the local ice cream shop, mowing lawns, or working in the family business, have many benefits.[1] These include helping teens gain independence, valuable job and life skills, and experiences that bridge the transition to adulthood. Despite these benefits, work can also have serious risks. Approximately every 5 minutes a teen aged 15-19 is injured at work. They experience roughly twice the rate of injuries as adult workers over age 24.[2] To help keep young workers safe at their

The Power of Crowdsourcing Knowledge Through Wikipedia – The Wiki4WorldHearingDay2019 Experience

No matter the country, it can take years for those who suffer from hearing difficulties to seek care. Once they do, there is a low rate of follow-up on recommended interventions, particularly for hearing aids (Wilson et al., 2017; WHO, 2017). Unaddressed hearing loss is a serious and costly problem around the world. This motivated the World Health Organization to organize the annual World Hearing Day (WHD) campaign which takes place every March 3rd. The goal of the campaign is “to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world.”

Workplace Smoke-Free Policies and Cessation Programs

Nearly half a million Americans still die prematurely from tobacco use each year despite the fact that it is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S.1, 2. So what can be done to prevent the toll of smoking in the U.S.? The workplace is an important setting for implementing tobacco control interventions. 3, 4 However, data on smoke-free workplace policies and cessation programs are limited. A new study from NIOSH researchers published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine assessed smoke-free workplace policies and employer-offered cessation programs among U.S. workers, by industry and occupation.

Construction Fall Fatalities Still Highest Among All Industries: What more can we do?

Falls are the leading cause of construction-worker fatalities, accounting for one-third of on-the-job deaths in the industry. In 2017, there were 366 fall fatalities out of 971 total fatalities in construction. According to the CPWR, from 2011-2015, 61% of fatal falls in construction occurred in small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. Almost two-thirds of fatal falls were from roofs, scaffolds, and ladders. Hispanics are 29% of the US construction workforce yet account for 39% of fatal falls to a lower level. To address the toll of construction falls, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), CPWR –

Potential Hazards of Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM), commonly referred to as 3-D printing, is becoming more prevalent in industry. AM is a set of processes for making products by selectively joining small amounts of material, using a computer-aided design file. [1,2] The advantages for industry include: shortened production cycles, reduced tooling costs, reduced waste material, easier product customization, novel design options, and new possibilities in distribution and fulfilment. [2–6] The automotive, aerospace, medical device, and electronics manufacturing industries are already using AM, and biomedical applications are expected to grow. Additionally, AM is found in construction, offices, and libraries. It is also important to note

Promoción del bienestar de las trabajadoras a través de la salud maternal e infantil: Adaptaciones para facilitar la lactancia materna en el lugar de trabajo

Las contribuciones de las madres que trabajan, uno de los segmentos de la fuerza laboral de los Estados Unidos con más rápido crecimiento, son vitales para que haya una economía sólida. Sin embargo, estas madres también pueden tener dificultad para equilibrar sus carreras y demandas de trabajo con sus planes de tener hijos y su cuidado. Con su enfoque holístico para el bienestar del trabajador, Total Worker Health® fomenta políticas y prácticas que simultáneamente protegen a los trabajadores y mejoran tanto su salud como bienestar (por ejemplo, al proveer el apoyo laboral que la empleada necesita para continuar con su

Women in STEM

In honor or Women’s History Month, this blog highlights a few of the talented female researchers working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at NIOSH. Their varied paths into STEM fields are as interesting as they are inspirational. After reading these stories please pass them along to other women and girls so that they can inspire the next generation of scientists. Kyla Retzer, MPH/ Research Epidemiologist Kyla Retzer’s journey into a STEM field started early in school. Growing up, she excelled in mathematics so people recommended she pursue accounting or actuarial work as a career. She never knew anything

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