Filtering face-piece respirators (FFRs) are one method of protecting health care workers from airborne particles; however, research suggests adherence is poor, perhaps due to worker discomfort. Three separate focus groups were conducted at two Veterans Affairs health care facilities. Seventeen health care workers who reported using FFRs as part of their job duties were in the focus groups. Focus group transcripts were coded using qualitative descriptive coding techniques. Participants described experiences of discomfort and physical mask features they believed contributed to discomfort. Participants believed FFRs influenced patient care because some patients felt uneasy and changed health care workers' behaviors (e.g., doffing procedures, loss of concentration, rushed patient care, and avoidance of patients in isolation resulting from FFR discomfort). Assessment of comfort and tolerability should occur during fit-testing. These factors should also be taken into account by management when training employees on the proper use of FFRs, as well as in future research to improve comfort and tolerability.
Source: Sara M. Locatelli; Sherri L. LaVela; Megan Gosch, Workplace Health Saf, 2014; 62 (9) :362–368.
A new article from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that recommended safe handling practices for workers who administer antineoplastic drugs in healthcare settings are not always followed. This study will be published in the November issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene and is currently available as an e-pub.
Results are derived from the 2011 Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers, the largest federally-sponsored survey of healthcare workers in the U.S. which addresses safety and health practices relative to use of hazardous chemicals. This paper presents findings on current administrative and engineering control practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), and barriers to using recommended PPE during administration of antineoplastic drugs by nearly 2,100 oncology nurses and other healthcare personnel who completed a module addressing antineoplastic drug administration.
Results from a prospective and crossover study
Several studies have indicated that slip-resistant shoes may have a positive effect on reducing the risk of slips and falls, a leading cause of injury at work. Few studies, however, have examined how duration of shoe usage affects their slip-resistance properties. This study examined the association between the duration of slip-resistant shoes usage and the self-reported rate of slipping in limited-service restaurant workers. A total of 475 workers from 36 limited-service restaurants in the USA were recruited to participate in a 12-week prospective study of workplace slipping. Of the 475 participants, 83 reported changing to a new pair of shoes at least once during the 12-week follow-up. The results show that slip-resistant shoes worn for less than six months were moderately more effective than those worn for more than six months. Changing to a new pair of shoes among those wearing slip-resistant shoes at baseline was associated with a 55% reduction in the rate of slipping (RR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.23-0.89). Further research is needed to develop criteria for the replacement of slip-resistant shoes. Practitioner Summary: The duration of usage impacts the slip-resistance properties of slip-resistant shoes. Slip-resistant shoes worn for less than six months were moderately more effective in reducing slips than slip-resistant shoes worn for more than six months. Shoe use policies should not only encourage or require their use but also include guidance on replacing slip-resistant shoes at regular intervals.
Source: Verma SK, Zhao Z, Courtney TK, Chang WR, Lombardi DA, Huang YH, Brennan MJ, Perry MJ. Ergonomics, 2014.
Partout au Canada, les travailleurs sont tenus de protéger leurs pieds des dangers présents sur les lieux de travail en sélectionnant des chaussures de protection certifiées par Groupe CSA et en les utilisant adéquatement. La marque CSA indique aux consommateurs que leurs chaussures ont été certifiées en fonction des normes de performance en vigueur en matière de protection.
La nouvelle édition de la norme CSA Z195 énonce les exigences relatives aux chaussures antidérapantes, dotées ou non d'autres caractéristiques de sécurité. En outre, une nouvelle catégorie en matière de protection antistatique (« super SD ») a été ajoutée à l'intention des personnes qui travaillent avec des appareils électroniques et des instruments sensibles.
Firefighters wear fireproof clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) during rescue and fire suppression activities to protect against acute effects from heat and toxic chemicals. Fire services are also concerned about long-term health outcomes from chemical exposures over a working lifetime, in particular about low-level exposures that might serve as initiating events for adverse outcome pathways (AOP) leading to cancer. As part of a larger US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study of dermal exposure protection from safety gear used by the City of Chicago firefighters, we collected pre- and post-fire fighting breath samples and analyzed for single-ring and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as bioindicators of occupational exposure to gas-phase toxicants. Under the assumption that SCBA protects completely against inhalation exposures, any changes in the exhaled profile of combustion products were attributed to dermal exposures from gas and particle penetration through the protective clothing. Two separate rounds of firefighting activity were performed each with 15 firefighters per round. Exhaled breath samples were collected onto adsorbent tubes and analyzed with gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) with a targeted approach using selective ion monitoring. We found that single ring aromatics and some PAHs were statistically elevated in post-firefighting samples of some individuals, suggesting that fire protective gear may allow for dermal exposures to airborne contaminants. However, in comparison to a previous occupational study of Air Force maintenance personnel where similar compounds were measured, these exposures are much lower suggesting that firefighters' gear is very effective. This study suggests that exhaled breath sampling and analysis for specific targeted compounds is a suitable method for assessing systemic dermal exposure in a simple and non-invasive manner.
Source: Pleil JD, Stiegel MA, Fent KW. J. Breath Res. 2014.
The current study applied a fault tree analysis to represent the causal relationships among events and causes that contributed to fatal falls in the construction industry. Four hundred and eleven work-related fatalities in the Taiwanese construction industry were analyzed in terms of age, gender, experience, falling site, falling height, company size, and the causes for each fatality. Given that most fatal accidents involve multiple events, the current study coded up to a maximum of three causes for each fall fatality. After the Boolean algebra and minimal cut set analyses, accident causes associated with each falling site can be presented as a fault tree to provide an overview of the basic causes, which could trigger fall fatalities in the construction industry. Graphical icons were designed for each falling site along with the associated accident causes to illustrate the fault tree in a graphical manner. A graphical fault tree can improve inter-disciplinary discussion of risk management and the communication of accident causation to first line supervisors.
Source: Chi CF, Lin SZ, Dewi RS. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2014; 72C: 359-369.
Ladder falls frequently cause severe injuries; yet the factors that influence ladder slips/falls are not well understood. This study aimed to quantify (1) the effects of restricted foot placement, hand positioning, climbing direction and age on slip outcomes, and (2) differences in climbing styles leading to slips versus styles leading to non-slips. Thirty-two occupational ladder users from three age groups (18-24, 25-44 and 45-64 years) were unexpectedly slipped climbing a vertical ladder, while being assigned to different foot placement conditions (unrestricted vs. restricted toe clearance) and different hand positions (rails vs. rungs). Constraining foot placement increased the climber's likelihood of slipping (p < 0.01), while younger and older participants slipped more than the middle-aged group (p < 0.01). Longer double stance time, dissimilar and more variable foot and body positioning were found in styles leading to a slip. Maintaining sufficient toe clearance and targeting ladder safety training to younger and older workers may reduce ladder falls. Practitioner Summary: Ladder falls frequently cause severe occupational fall injuries. This study aims to identify safer ladder climbing techniques and individuals at risk of falling. The results suggest that ladders with unrestricted toe clearance and ladder climbing training programmes, particularly for younger and older workers, may reduce ladder slipping risk.
Source: Pliner EM, Campbell-Kyureghyan NH, Beschorner KE. Ergonomics, 2014.
Perceived slipperiness rating (PSR) has been widely used to assess walkway safety. In this experiment, 29 participants were exposed to 5 floor types under dry, wet and glycerol conditions. The relationship between their PSR and objective measurements, including utilized coefficient of friction (UCOF), gait kinematics and available coefficient of friction (ACOF), was explored with a regression analysis using step-wise backward elimination. The results showed that UCOF and ACOF, as well as their difference, were the major predictors of the PSR under wet and glycerol conditions. Under wet conditions, the participants appeared to rely on the potential for foot slip to form their PSR. Under glycerol conditions, some kinematic variables also became major predictors of PSR. The results show how different proprioceptive responses and ACOF contributed to the prediction of PSR under different surface conditions.
Source: Chang WR, Lesch MF, Chang CC, Matz S. Gait Posture, 2014.
Fabric-based protective clothing is widely used for occupational safety of firefighters/industrial workers. The aim of this paper is to study thermal protective performance provided by fabric systems and to propose an effective model for predicting the thermal protective performance under various thermal exposures. Different fabric systems that are commonly used to manufacture thermal protective clothing were selected. Laboratory simulations of the various thermal exposures were created to evaluate the protective performance of the selected fabric systems in terms of time required to generate second-degree burns. Through the characterization of selected fabric systems in a particular thermal exposure, various factors affecting the performances were statistically analyzed. The key factors for a particular thermal exposure were recognized based on the t-test analysis. Using these key factors, the performance predictive multiple linear regression and artificial neural network (ANN) models were developed and compared. The identified best-fit ANN models provide a basic tool to study thermal protective performance of a fabric.
Source: Mandal S, Song G. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 2014.
Residential roofing is a high risk occupation, more than nine times as risky as the average occupation and more than three times as risky as the average construction trade. To better understand the factors involved in residential roofing fatalities, 112 case reports filed by Occupational Safety and Health investigators for the years 2005-2010 were examined. In almost all of the recorded cases there was no adherence to the then current safety standards. It was found that there was little or no appropriate use of fall protection practices or equipment and that employer planning and employee training was minimal. Specific standards violated were examined as well as the monetary penalties assessed. In addition to an increase in the size of the penalties, it is hoped the recent national program "Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction", with its emphasis on planning, needed equipment, and training will prove fruitful in mitigating falls from roofs.
Source: Moore JR, Wagner JP. Safety Sci. 2014; 70: 262-269.
Do medical gloves really protect?
Due to their potential mutagenic, carcinogenic and teratogenic effects occupational exposure to chemotherapy drugs should be kept to a minimum. Utilization of personnel protective devices, especially the use of protective medical gloves, is a mainstay to avoid skin contact. The choice of appropriate gloves is of outstanding importance. For optimal protection in the oncology setting it is essential to establish general guidelines evaluating appropriate materials and defining quality standards. Establishing these guidelines can facilitate better handling and avoid potential hazards and late sequelae. In Europe there are no specific requirements or test methodologies for medical gloves used in the oncology environment. The implementation of uniform standards for gloves used while handling chemotherapy drugs would be desirable. In contrast, in the US medical gloves used to handle chemotherapy drugs have to fulfill requirements according to the ASTM International (American Society of Testing and Materials) standard D 6978-05. Nitrile or natural rubber latex is a preferred basic glove material, while vinyl is considered inappropriate because of its generally increased permeability. For extended exposure to chemotherapy drugs, double gloving, the use of thicker gloves and the frequent change of gloves increases their protective power.
Source: Landeck, Lilla, Gonzalez, Ernesto, et Koch, Olaf Manfred. (2014). International Journal of Cancer.
The present study examined whether a new footwear outsole with tread blocks and a hybrid rubber surface pattern, composed of rough and smooth surfaces, could increase slip resistance and reduce the risk of fall while walking on a wet floor surface. A drag test was performed to measure static and dynamic coefficient of friction (SCOF and DCOF, respectively) values for the footwear with the hybrid rubber sufrace pattern outosole and two types of commercially available boots that are conventionally used in food factories and restaurant kitchens with respect to a stainless steel floor covered with glycerol solution. Gait trials were conducted with 14 participants who wore the footwear on the wet stainless steel floor. The drag test results indicated that the hybrid rubber surface pattern sole exhibited higher SCOF (≥0.44) and DCOF (≥0.39) values than the soles of the comparative footwear (p<0.001). Because of such high SCOF and DCOF values, the slip frequency (p<0.01), slip distance (p<0.001), and slip velocity (p<0.001) for the footwear with the hybrid rubber surface pattern outsole were significantly lower than those for the comparative footwear, which resulted in no falls during trials.
Source: Yamaguchi T, Hokkirigawa K. Ind. Health. 2014.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of mental fatigue on biomechanics of slips. A total of 44 healthy young participants were evenly categorised into two groups: no fatigue and mental fatigue. Mental fatigue was induced by performing an AX-continuous performance test. The participants in both groups were instructed to walk on a linear walkway, and slips were induced unexpectedly during walking. We found that mental fatigue has adverse effects in all the three phases of slips. In particular, it leads to increased likelihood of slip initiation, poorer slip detection and a more insufficient reactive recovery response to slips. Based on the findings from the present study, we can conclude that mental fatigue is a risk factor for slips and falls. In order to prevent slip-induced falls, interventions, such as providing frequent rest breaks, could be applied in the workplace to avoid prolonged exposures to cognitively demanding activities.
Source: Lew FL, Qu X. Ergonomics, 2014.
A systematic review
BACKGROUND: Heat-related illness is a primary threat to unit readiness, and individual body armor (IBA) cooling devices represent one potential solution.
PURPOSE: To quantify research findings of active and passive cooling devices designed to reduce physiological strain while wearing IBA during strenuous tasks using a systematic review approach.
METHODS: Literature searches were performed in multiple databases using the key words "physiological," "body armor," "military," "cooling," and "thermal." Two independent reviewers appraised methodological quality using a modified Downs and Black Quality Index. Physiological outcomes were tabulated and effect sizes were calculated when appropriate.
RESULTS: The search yielded 733 citations, with nine articles fitting our inclusion criteria: six articles with active and three articles with passive cooling devices.
RESULTS reveal a moderate level of methodological quality. On average, all six active IBA cooling device studies compared to controls (IBA only) reported decreases in one or more measures of physiological strain-core and skin temperature, heart rate. Conversely, passive cooling device effects were negligible.
CONCLUSION: Active cooling devices may decrease the physiological strain associated with wearing IBA in hot environments. Further development of optimal cooling strategies to reduce physiological strain during operations where IBA is required is warranted.
Source: Goforth C, Lisman P, Deuster P. Mil. Med. 2014; 179(7): 724-734.
This new, one-of-a kind ASTM reference guide provides the latest information on safety and occupational footwear. Topics cover:
• Construction of footwear
• Component materials
• Performance requirements
• Use and maintenance
As well as an in-depth understanding into specific areas of concern, such as slip resistance, the number one cause of concern across all industries.
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