2016-03-01 12:00 - Messages

Fatal traumatic brain injuries in the construction industry, 2003-2010

Background: Research on fatal work-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) is limited. This study describes fatal TBIs in the US construction industry.
Methods: Fatal TBIs were extracted from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
Results: From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 fatal TBIs occurred in construction at a rate of 2.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. Workers aged 65 years and older had the highest fatal TBI rates among all workers (7.9 per 100,000 FTE workers). Falls were the most frequent injury event (n = 1,269, 57%). Structural iron and steel workers and roofers had the highest fatal TBI rate per 100,000 FTE workers (13.7 and 11.2, respectively). Fall-related TBIs were the leading cause of death in these occupations.
Conclusions: A large percentage of TBIs in the construction industry were due to falls. Emphasis on safety interventions is needed to reduce these fall-related TBIs, especially among vulnerable workers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 59:212–220, 2016. Published 2016. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Source: Konda, S., Tiesman, H. M. and Reichard, A. A. (2016). Am. J. Ind. Med., 59: 212–220. 

Face shields for infection control: A review

Face shields are personal protective equipment devices that are used by many workers (e.g., medical, dental, veterinary) for protection of the facial area and associated mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) from splashes, sprays, and spatter of body fluids. Face shields are generally not used alone, but in conjunction with other protective equipment and are therefore classified as adjunctive personal protective equipment. Although there are millions of potential users of face shields, guidelines for their use vary between governmental agencies and professional societies and little research is available regarding their efficacy.

Source: Raymond J. Roberge. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Volume 13,  Issue 4, 2016, pa. 239-246.

Performance of Facepiece Respirators and Surgical Masks Against Surgical Smoke

Simulated Workplace Protection Factor Study
Objective: Surgical smoke generated during electrocautery contains toxins which may cause adverse health effects to operating room (OR) personnel. The objective of this study was to investigate the performance of surgical masks (SMs), which are routinely used in ORs, more efficient N95 surgical mask respirator (SMRs) and N100 filtering facepiece respirator (FFRs), against surgical smoke.
Methods: Ten subjects were recruited to perform surgical dissections on animal tissue in a simulated OR chamber, using a standard electrocautery device, generating surgical smoke. Six respiratory protective devices (RPDs) were tested: two SMs, two SMRs, and two N100 FFRs [including a newly developed faceseal (FS) prototype]. Fit testing was conducted before the experiment. Each subject was then exposed to the surgical smoke while wearing an RPD under the tests. Concentrations inside (Cin) and outside (Cout) of the RPD were measured by a particle size spectrometer. The simulated workplace protection factor (SWPF) was determined by the ratio of Cout and Cin for each RPD-wearing subject.
Results: For the SMs, the geometric means of SWPFtotal (based on the total aerosol concentration) were 1.49 and 1.76, indicating minimal protection. The SWPFtotal values of the SMRs and N100 FFRs were significantly higher than those of the SMs: for the two SMRs, the SWPFtotal were 208 and 263; for the two N100s, the SWPFtotal values were 1,089 and 2,199. No significant difference was observed between either the two SMs or the two SMRs. The SWPFtotal for the novel FS prototype N100 FFR was significantly higher than the conventional N100 FFR. The correlation between SWPFtotal and fit factor (FF) determined for two N95 SMRs was not significant.
Conclusions: SMs do not provide measurable protection against surgical smoke. SMRs offer considerably improved protection versus SMs, while the N100 FFRs showed significant improvement over the SMRs. The FS prototype offered a higher level of protection than the standard N100 FFR, due to a tighter seal. While we acknowledge that conventional N100 FFRs (equipped with exhalation valves) are not practical for human OR use, the results obtained with the FS prototype demonstrate the potential of the new FS technology for implementation on various types of respirators.

Source: Shuang Gao,  Richard H. Koehler, Michael Yermakov and Sergey A. Grinshpun. Ann Occup Hyg (2016). 

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