Blogs Arbeidshygiënisten

Injury Among Temporary and Permanent Workers in Ohio

There are an estimated 1.4 million temporary help agency workers in the US.[i] However, to date, there has been limited research comparing injury rates of temporary and permanent workers. NIOSH recently published “Comparative analyses of workers’ compensation claims of injury among temporary and permanent employed workers in Ohio” in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The study analyzed over 1.3 million workers’ compensation (WC) claims in Ohio from 2001-2013 (including 45,046 claims from workers employed by temporary service agencies) to compare the injury risk of temporary and permanent workers. This study found that workers employed in temporary agencies had higher

Industrial Exoskeletons

Exoskeletons used in the workplace are referred to as “industrial exoskeletons.” Their purpose is to augment, amplify, or reinforce the performance of a worker’s existing body components—primarily the lower back and the upper extremity (arms and shoulders). Despite a lack of research, manufacturers of these devices claim productivity gains, work quality improvements, and a reduction of the risk of work‐related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). A new commentary from NIOSH in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine highlights some of the potential benefits and risks of industrial exoskeletons. The article cautions that before widespread implementation of industrial exoskeletons occurs, research is needed

Understanding the Economic Benefit Associated with NIOSH Research and Services: A Second Report of NIOSH Impact by RAND

NIOSH continues to quantify the benefits of its research and services in terms of lives saved, injuries or illnesses averted, or increases in worker productivity. Three new case studies highlight the economic benefits of personal dust monitors for coal miners, improved ambulance design, and improved amputation surveillance. These case studies are presented in a new RAND report and add to three previous case studies, as reported in a 2018 NIOSH Science blog. NIOSH tasked RAND with conducting the analyses for both of these reports and provided support throughout the analyses process. These reports improve our understanding of the extent to which investments

四個州的人造石檯面工人暴發矽肺病

人造石檯面,又稱「石英石檯面」,由石英骨料和樹脂粘合劑聚合而成。這些材料的外觀與天然石材相似,正越來越廣泛地用於住宅建築和家居裝飾中。在 2010 年至 2018 年間,美國的石英石檯面進口量已增加了近 800%(美國國際貿易委員會)。人造石材含有的結晶矽可能比天然石材多得多(含量 > 90%,而花崗岩中含量 < 45%)(職業安全與健康管理局 [OSHA]/美國國家職業安全衛生研究所 [NIOSH] 危害警報)。諸如切割、打磨、拋光和鑽孔一類的作業有可能將危險含量的矽塵擴散到空氣中。吸入含矽的材料(例如人造石)粉塵會導致矽肺病。矽肺病由肺部疤痕引起,可導致永久性肺損傷,是一種漸進的、致人衰竭的、不可治愈的甚至是致命的疾病。   接觸矽塵會對製造、加工和安裝天然石材檯面和人造石檯面的工人帶來健康危害。矽肺病的症狀可包括咳嗽、疲勞、氣短或胸痛。在接觸可吸入的結晶矽塵長達 10 年或更長時間之後,通常會發生矽肺病。但是,密集的接觸會導致該病進展更快,還會導致更嚴重的肺病。除矽肺病外,吸入少量(「可吸入的」)結晶矽顆粒還會引發肺癌、慢性阻塞性肺病 (COPD) 和腎病,並且會伴發肺部感染、自身免疫性疾病和心血管受損。   先前在美國德克薩斯州曾報導過一例與人造石加工有關的矽肺病病例(Friedman,2015 年)。最近,在加利福尼亞州、科羅拉多州、華盛頓州和德克薩斯州的石材加工業工人中發現了 18 例矽肺病,其中兩例死亡(Rose 和 Heinzerling,2019 年)。這些工人中大多數從事人造石材料的作業,年齡大多不到 50 歲。以色列、西班牙和澳洲也曾報導過人造石工人中暴發矽肺病的情況(Kramer,2012 年;Perez-Alonso,2014 年;Hoy,2018 年;Leso,2019 年)。澳洲昆士蘭州為所有處於風險中的石材加工工人提供了醫學篩查,從中發現有 12% 的工人患上了矽肺病(Kirby,2019 年)。2018 年,美國已有近 9000 家公司和 96000 名員工從事石材加工業(美國勞工統計局的季度就業和工資普查)。由於這些員工中有許多人大概未進行過醫學檢查,因此美國很可能還有其他矽肺病病例仍未發現。   僱主必須為工人做好保護,確保他們不直接與結晶矽塵接觸。聯邦職業安全與健康管理局 (OSHA) 已簽發兩項可吸入的結晶矽塵標準,以為工人提供保護。施工標準 (29 CFR 1926.1153) 以及一般工業和海事作業標準 (29 CFR 1910.1053) 均於 2016 年 6 月 23 日生效。在過去的幾年中,類似的標準也在州 OSHA 轄區中實施。僱主必須遵循適用的聯邦標準或州 OSHA 標準,以確保員工在每天平均 8 小時工作下,可吸入的結晶矽塵在暴露量上至少不超過每立方米空氣 50 微克 (50 µg/m3) 的暴露上限值 (PEL)。關於定案的矽塵法規、僱主要求及聯邦 OSHA 具體實施日期的更多資訊,請參見此處。   通過有效的工藝控制措施和作業規範來減少可吸入的矽塵暴露量,可以預防矽肺病。應使用工藝控制措施(比如濕性作業方法和通風)來控制矽塵暴露量。規範的作業控制措施(包括相應的清理程序)可與工藝控制措施一併使用來保護員工。當矽塵含量達到有危害的程度時,及在矽塵相關法規的要求下,應為員工提供 NIOSH 認可的呼吸防護用具。呼吸防護用具是效力最低的控制措施。   根據 OSHA 矽塵規定,必須由持有執照的健康護理提供商為接觸到危險水平矽塵的人造石檯面工人提供檢查。這項檢查必須包括一份呼吸功能調查問卷、身體檢查、X 光胸肺檢查(由 NIOSH 認證的 B 類讀片醫生解讀)和肺活量測定。健康護理提供商若懷疑患者的健康問題是因從事含石英材料的作業所引起,則應將病例報告給當地或州衛生部門。此外,醫生若對矽肺病報告事宜有疑問,可直接將問題發至 silicosisreporting@cdc.gov。在 2017 年,矽肺病在 22 個州是必須報告的病症(州職業安全與健康部門的聯絡資訊請見此處)。   發佈於加利福尼亞州、華盛頓州和德克薩斯州的危害警報提供了關於矽塵暴露、矽塵控制要求的資料,以及供接觸矽塵的工人使用的資源。請參見此處,觀看描述矽塵暴露危險、遵循 OSHA 關於可吸入結晶矽塵規定的僱主要求,以及僱主可用於保護員工之方法的網絡研討會。   NIOSH 健康危害評估 (HHE) 計劃可向員工、員工代表和僱主提供關於工作場所矽塵暴露和員工健康的免費協助和資料。關於

Brote de silicosis entre los trabajadores de mesones de piedra de ingeniería en cuatro estados

Los mesones hechos con piedras de ingeniería, que también se llaman “superficies de cuarzo”, se producen fusionando agregados de cuarzo con un aglutinante de resina. Estos materiales tienen una apariencia similar a la de la piedra natural y su uso se ha vuelto cada vez más popular en la construcción de casas y las mejoras del hogar. La importación de superficies de cuarzo a los Estados Unidos ha aumentado aproximadamente un 800 % entre el 2010 y el 2018 (Comisión de Comercio Internacional de los Estados Unidos). Los materiales de piedra de ingeniería pueden contener una cantidad sustancialmente más alta de

Asociación para educar sobre la seguridad y salud del trabajador a personas que están aprendiendo inglés en Alaska

En los Estados Unidos, la adquisición de conocimientos básicos de inglés juega un papel importante en la salud pública, como también en la seguridad y salud en el lugar de trabajo. Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) han indicado que las personas necesitan tener conocimientos básicos sobre salud para lo siguiente: Encontrar información y servicios. Comunicar sus necesidades y preferencias, y responder a información y servicios. Procesar el significado y la utilidad de la información y los servicios. Comprender las opciones, consecuencias y el contexto de la información y los servicios. Decidir qué información y

Special Delivery! Remember the Workers Behind Your Holiday Packages

Chances are this holiday season you will send and/or receive a package. Probably several. We all delight in the ‘miracle’ of a package arriving on our doorstep a mere few days after ordering. It’s easy to forget that there is no magic involved. Considerable effort and many workers are responsible for the arrival of your holiday gifts. We present the lifecycle of your gift and point out the workers involved and some of the safety and health issues faced at every step. This holiday season remember the workers who make and deliver the presents you gift and receive. Happy Holidays!

Wholesale and Retail Trade Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries and Illnesses: 2006–2016

In 2010, NIOSH published a comprehensive overview of the 2006 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the Wholesale and Retail Trade (WRT) sector. Recently, NIOSH researchers expanded on this study to include the ten years of BLS data that followed, for a richer, more complex view. The resulting article, “Wholesale and Retail Trade Sector Occupational Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries and Illnesses from 2006–2016: Implications for Intervention,” was recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The study reports on the WRT injury and illness burden, examines the underlying changes in demographics that could

Bathroom Breaks

Although workers may assume that they will have access to bathrooms at work, many workers in a wide range of industries and occupations say they cannot take the bathroom breaks they need while working.1-6 Insufficient bathroom breaks are an important health and safety consideration for many jobs, such as those involving patient care or specific production schedules.4,7 Pregnant workers, older workers, and workers with certain medical conditions might also need to use the bathroom more often than other workers.1,8 According to workers, some reasons they have too few bathroom breaks at work include inadequate staffing, not enough breaks, breaks that

The Role of Veterinarians in the Opioid Crisis

More than 399,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription and illicit opioids from 1999-2017.[i] There are many efforts to educate physicians and dentists about their roles and responsibilities in addressing this national crisis. But what about veterinarians? Animals, like humans, may receive opioids for pain. Veterinarians and veterinary clinics can be registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and in many states can administer, prescribe, stock, and dispense opioids. As efforts to educate and monitor opioid prescribing by medical and dental providers have increased, individuals may try to covertly access opioids for their own use from their pets or other

Wearable Technologies for Improved Safety and Health on Construction Sites

Background Wearable technologies are an increasingly popular consumer electronic for a variety of applications at home and at work. In general, these devices include accessories and clothing that incorporate advanced electronic technologies, often with smartphone or ‘internet of things’ (IoT) connectivity. While wearables are increasingly being used to improve health and well-being by aiding in personal fitness, innovative applications for monitoring occupational safety and health risk factors are becoming more common. Many of these devices have reached the market while others are still in development. As more wearables become available, they have the potential to positively impact and alter the

Preparing Your Fleet for Automated Vehicles

Many of us already drive personal or company vehicles with automated features such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. While automation clearly improves safety, it also presents new issues for safety professionals. Companies need to integrate policies on vehicles with automated features into their current fleet safety management systems. They also need to consider how they’ll manage the more highly-automated vehicles that will be available in the future. To help safety professionals address these challenges, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) published the ANSI/ASSP Z15.3 technical report, Management Practices for the Safe Operation of Partially and Fully

Partnering to Educate English-Language Learners in Alaska on Worker Safety and Health

When you think of diversity in the United States, does Alaska come to mind? In fact, Anchorage, Alaska has some of the most ethno-racially diverse neighborhoods and public schools in the entire U.S. This diversity includes nearly one in ten Anchorage residents identifying as foreign born (Farrell, 2018). In terms of languages spoken in the city, the Anchorage School District has identified over 100 languages that are spoken either by its English-language learners as their first language, or by these students’ families (Hanlon, 2016). In the U.S., English literacy plays an important role in public health and workplace safety and

Can Pregnant Workers Receive and Administer Flu Vaccines? Yes!

Every flu season, NIOSH gets questions from pregnant workers about the flu and flu vaccines. Here are the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions, including getting the flu shot at work and administering flu shots to patients.   Can I get a flu shot if I’m pregnant? Yes. CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that all women who are or will be pregnant during influenza season get the flu shot.1,2The flu shot can be given at any time during pregnancy, before or during flu season.3 Millions of pregnant women have received the flu

Outbreak of Silicosis among Engineered Stone Countertop Workers in Four States

Engineered stone countertops, also known as “quartz surfacing,” are made from quartz aggregate held together with a resin binder. These materials are similar in appearance to natural stone and have become increasingly popular for use in home building and home improvement. Quartz surface imports to the United States have increased approximately 800% during 2010–2018 (U.S. International Trade Commission). Engineered stone materials may contain substantially more crystalline silica than natural stone (>90%, compared with <45% in granite) (OSHA/NIOSH Hazard Alert). Tasks such as cutting, grinding, polishing, and drilling can release hazardous levels of silica dust into the air. Inhalation of dust

Occupational Exposure Banding and Workplace Chemicals

For workers in a variety of industries, exposure to chemicals is commonplace. American workers handle, transport, or encounter thousands of chemicals every day, from cleaning products to industrial solvents. Although many of these chemicals have important uses, they can also be harmful to workers who are exposed to them. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) are developed for hazardous chemicals to reduce the risk of adverse health effects for workers with potential exposures. Unfortunately, of the more than 85,000 chemicals manufactured, processed, or imported in the United States, only about 1,000 have an OEL. Likewise, the rate at which new chemicals are

The Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT) for Construction

Organizational safety climate is defined as shared perceptions among employees regarding what is rewarded, expected, valued, and reinforced in the workplace with respect to safety (Zohar, 1980). It can positively influence employee safety knowledge, motivation, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as reduce injury outcomes (e.g., Clarke, 2010, Probst et al., 2008, Probst and Estrada, 2010, Zohar, 2010). Research reported in the Journal of Safety Research shows that the Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT) is a reliable and valid tool for construction companies to self-assess their safety climate. The article, summarized below, details the creation and evaluation of the S-CAT, the

It’s National Bosses Day. Who is your dream boss?

Having a “dream job” is an aspiration for many people, but without a good boss, a dream job can become a nightmare. Our front-line supervisor or manager plays an unparalleled role in creating and sustaining safe work environments, health supportive-policies, and psychosocial safety. The best bosses partner with workers to design healthy jobs that provide meaning and social support and are rewarding –in all senses. A great leader can positively impact our health, quality of life, and worker well-being. According to NIOSH and RAND, the domains of worker well-being include physical environment and safety climate; workplace policies and culture; work

Nanotechnology Research at NIOSH

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are materials that are intentionally produced to have at least one primary dimension less than 100 nanometers. These materials have new or unique properties different from those of larger forms of the same material, making them desirable for specific product applications. These properties can contribute to increased elasticity, tensile strength, electrical conduction, and reactivity. Consumer products using nanomaterials include makeup, sunscreen, food storage products, appliances, clothing, electronics, computers, sporting goods, and coatings. The health effects associated with the wide variety of ENMs are not yet clearly understood, so it is important for producers and users of engineered nanomaterials to reduce employee exposure and manage risks appropriately. NIOSH has been at

NIOSH Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Forum: A Recap and Future Directions

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has had a longstanding interest in nonstandard work hours and associated health and safety effects. The last NIOSH meeting on this topic was held in 2004 and centered around long working hours and the impact on injuries, illnesses, and health behaviors. To build on this expertise, the NIOSH Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Forum: Meeting the needs of American Workers and Employers was recently hosted by the Healthy Work Design Program’s Working Hours, Sleep, and Fatigue Workgroup on September 13-14, 2019 in Coeur D’Alene. This forum followed the 24th International Shift