2015-02-01 12:00 - Messages

Exposure to carcinogens in surface engineering

Supplementary report
This report details work undertaken following HSE research published as RR963 Exposure to hexavalent chromium, nickel and cadmium compounds in the electroplating industry (Keen et al, 2013). This examined the use of biological monitoring (BM) in the surface engineering (electroplating) industry.
The report examines the efficacy of gloves, the use of surfactants and local exhaust ventilation in chromium plating, and the potential for transfer of contaminants outside the workplace.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1042.htm

Precautionary Practices of Healthcare Workers Who Disinfect Medical and Dental Devices Using High-Level Disinfectants

BACKGROUND: High-level disinfectants (HLDs) are used throughout the healthcare industry to chemically disinfect reusable, semicritical medical and dental devices to control and prevent healthcare-associated infections among patient populations. Workers who use HLDs are at risk of exposure to these chemicals, some of which are respiratory and skin irritants and sensitizers.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate exposure controls used and to better understand impediments to healthcare workers using personal protective equipment while handling HLDs.
DESIGN: Web-based survey.
PARTICIPANTS: A targeted sample of members of professional practice organizations representing nurses, technologists/technicians, dental professionals, respiratory therapists, and others who reported handling HLDs in the previous 7 calendar days. Participating organizations invited either all or a random sample of members via email, which included a hyperlink to the survey.
METHODS: Descriptive analyses were conducted including simple frequencies and prevalences.
RESULTS: A total of 4,657 respondents completed the survey. The HLDs used most often were glutaraldehyde (59%), peracetic acid (16%), and ortho-phthalaldehyde (15%). Examples of work practices or events that could increase exposure risk included failure to wear water-resistant gowns (44%); absence of standard procedures for minimizing exposure (19%); lack of safe handling training (17%); failure to wear protective gloves (9%); and a spill/leak of HLD during handling (5%). Among all respondents, 12% reported skin contact with HLDs, and 33% of these respondents reported that they did not always wear gloves.
CONCLUSION: Findings indicated that precautionary practices were not always used, underscoring the importance of improved employer and worker training and education regarding HLD hazards.

Source: Scott A. Henn, James M. Boiano and Andrea L. Steege. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, Volume 36, Issue 02, February 2015, p.p 180-185.

Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development

How NIOSH is Helping Design Improved Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers
The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the largest in history and is unprecedented in many ways, including the large number of healthcare workers who have been infected while treating patients. The large scale of the epidemic, as well as the two healthcare workers who contracted Ebola while caring for the first case in the United States, has directed particular attention to the personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare workers to reduce their risk of infection. PPE is designed to create a barrier to prevent pathogens from entering the body through the mucous membranes or broken skin. Examples of PPE used for Ebola include (but are not limited to) gloves, gown/coverall, mask/respirator, apron, faceshield/goggles, and cap/hood (see Figure 1). Reports from healthcare workers in West Africa indicate that some personnel are able to wear their PPE for only 40 minutes at a time because of the high ambient temperature and humid conditions. Even in the United States, where management of patients with Ebola is done in air-conditioned environments, uncomfortable PPE is a common complaint and causes additional burden for healthcare workers.

Source: http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2015/02/05/ebola-ppe/

Assessment of Personal Protective Equipment Use Among Farmers in Eastern North Carolina

A Cross-sectional Study
Agriculture consistently ranks among the top hazardous occupations, accounting for a significant number of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Eastern North Carolina has a significant number of small, independent, family-run, owned, and operated farms. However, little is known about perception, behavior, training, accessibility, or purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) for safety among farmers in the region. In this study, telephone interviews were conducted among participating farmers between March and June 2012 (N = 129). Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to examine associations between PPE behavior and workplace hazards, health-related concerns, and wearing and purchasing PPE. Findings indicated that personal behavior of wearing hearing protection devices (HPDs) and protection from the sun among farmers was low. However, a relatively high percentage of farmers reported wearing PPE when working with agricultural chemicals. Most farmers received training from agricultural extension offices. The findings indicate that, in general, farmers are well aware of the risks associated with occupational hazards and recognize concern for health and safety protection in the workplace. Transitioning these concerns into preventative action remains a challenge and priority for the agricultural health professional.

Source: Kearney GD, Xu X, Balanay JA, Allen DL, Rafferty AP. J. Agromed. 2015; 20: 43-54.

A multi factorial analysis of the epidemiology of injuries from falls from heights

BACKGROUND: Fall from height is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in suburban population in India. These cases are either domestic or workplace injuries with different causative factors. We analyzed different aspects of these falls to identify their risk factors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted prospective and retrospective epidemiological study to identify various causative, contributory factors, and resultant injuries in cases of fall from height. The study group comprised of semiurban population and involved both domestic and workplace injuries presenting to a tertiary care hospital.
RESULTS: There were 208 cases of workplace (112) and domestic (96) fall from height. In domestic cases absence of parapet on roof was the commonest cause, most of falls occurred during summer and rainy season. Alcohol consumption prior to fall was commonest associated factor in adult males. Children mostly fell while playing on roof and climbing trees. Among workplace cases, civil construction site injuries were commonest and absence of any protective gear and long working and evening hours were commonest associated factors. Mean injury severity score was 10.86 in domestic cases and 14.87 in workplace cases. There were 17 mortalities with head injury being commonest associated cause. Only difference in incidence of alcohol consumption and permanent disability was statistically significant between workplace and domestic falls.
CONCLUSION: Different factors are responsible for domestic and workplace cases of fall from height. Most of these cases are potentially preventable.

Source: Jain V, Jain S, Dhaon B. Int. J. Crit. Illn. Inj. Sci, 2014; 4: p. 283-287.

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