Progress and ongoing challenges
In 2007, Ontario introduced regulation to promote the adoption of safety-engineered needles for the prevention of needlestick injuries. However, needlestick injury declines in the province (2004-2011) have not been substantial. Ontario's regulatory standard, designed to allow for local flexibility in the selection and implementation of these safety devices, relies heavily on the actions and conditions of regulated workplaces. In this plenary, Andrea Chambers shares findings on how implementation at three acute care hospitals played out.
Source : http://www.iwh.on.ca/plenaries/2013-nov-19
Investigation of pervious concrete as a slip-resistant walking surface
Slip-related falls are a significant health problem, particularly on icy walking surfaces. Pervious concrete, a material allowing rapid exfiltration of melted ice from the walking surface, may help reduce slipping risk. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare slipping characteristics of traditional and pervious concrete walking surfaces in icy conditions using kinetic biomechanical analyses. We hypothesized that pervious concrete, in comparison to traditional concrete, would be characterized by less severe ice-related alteration of friction during gait. Healthy young participants performed gait trials on traditional and pervious concrete surfaces during dry and icy conditions. Ground reaction forces were used to determine maximal magnitude and timing of loading phase normal force, shear force, and normalized friction usage, defined as the ratio of shear to normal force normalized to static coefficient of friction. Pervious concrete, in comparison to traditional concrete, exhibited smaller ice-related increases in normalized friction usage. While ice-related delays in achieving peak friction were observed on traditional concrete, icy conditions did not have an impact on maximal shear force magnitude or timing on pervious concrete. Our results indicate a larger margin between friction forces used during walking and those that would cause a slip, suggesting that pervious concrete may be a more slip-resistant alternative to traditional concrete in icy conditions. The findings reported here may lead to pavement design recommendations for the use of pervious concrete in areas of high pedestrian traffic and elevated slipping risk.
Source : King, Gregory W., Bruetsch, Adam P., & Kevern, John T. (2013). Safety Science, 57, 52-59.
Firefighters unable to move and in need of rescue use an audible alarm to signal for help. Rescue teams can then follow this sound to the firefighter. This alarm is governed by NFPA 1982 : Standard on Personal Alert Safety System (PASS). Introduced in 1983, the PASS has saved many firefighter lives. However, a number of incidents have occurred where the PASS is less effective. There have been incidents where the PASS was heard sporadically on the fireground, or where localization of the alarm was difficult, leading to injury and loss of life. We hypothesized that the temperature field created by the fire is distorting the sound, making it difficult to recognize and localize. At ICA 2013, the authors presented experimental results showing changes in the room acoustic transfer function as the fire evolved. This paper will present efforts at modeling these effects. Using a combination of computational fluid dynamics and wave models, a comprehensive model will be presented capable of modeling sound propagation in the firefighting environment. The goal of this work is to develop a PASS signal more robust against distortion by the fire, and better able to serve the firefighting community.
Source : Abbasi MZ, Wilson PS, Ezekoye OA. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2013; 134(5): 4218.
Communication on a fire scene is essential to the safety of firefighters. Not only to be able to hear and understand radio chatter, but also alarm signals used on the fireground. One such alarm is the Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) device. This device is used to help locate a downed firefighter. One part of this complex problem is the effect of the protective equipment (helmet, eye protection, hood, coat) on hearing. Previous findings have shown the effect of this protective equipment on head related transfer functions using a KEMAR. [Suits et al. (2013, June). Paper presented at the International Congress on Acoustics, Montreal, Canada] The physical acoustic measurements showed a change in the signal that would reach the tympanic membrane. To relate the findings of the physical measurements to human reactions, the change in auditory threshold caused by wearing the personal protective equipment was measured. The changes seen in the physical acoustics measurements caused the auditory threshold of the subjects to increase at higher frequencies. The measured increases at 3000 Hz, 4000 Hz, and with an example PASS signal were between 5 and 10 dB.
Source : Suits JI, Champlin CA, Wilson PS, Ezekoye OA. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2013; 134(5): 4228.
A controlled laboratory study
The present study looked at the effect of a helmet on cognitive performance under demanding conditions, so that small effects would become more detectible. Nineteen participants underwent 30 min of continuous visual vigilance, tracking, and auditory vigilance (VTT + AVT), while seated in a warm environment (27.2 (±0.6) °C, humidity 41 (±1)%, and 0.5 (±0.1) m s(-1) wind speed). The participants wore a helmet in one session and no helmet in the other, in random order. Comfort and temperature perception were measured at the end of each session. Helmet-wearing was associated with reduced comfort (p = 0.001) and increased temperature perception (p < 0.001), compared to not wearing a helmet. Just one out of nine cognitive parameters showed a significant effect of helmet-wearing (p = .032), disappearing in a post-hoc comparison. These results resolve previous disparate studies to suggest that, although helmets can be uncomfortable, any effect of wearing a helmet on cognitive performance is at worst marginal.
Source : Bogerd CP, Walker I, Brühwiler PA, Rossi RM. Appl. Ergon. 2013.
Evaluation of an occupational health and safety intervention via subsidies for the replacement of scaffolding
The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of a subsidy policy for construction companies in Andalusia (Spain), which enables them to acquire new scaffolds. The rate of falls from scaffolds within the Andalusian construction sector in the period 2009-2011 was analysed. A randomised controlled trial was not possible as the subsidy was granted according to a public and competitive call. A quasi-experimental design based on an intervention group (subsidised companies) and a control group was chosen. Companies in the control group were selected from the social security census of companies in order to avoid selection bias. The subsidy policy has led to an overall 71% decrease in the rate of accident involving falls to a lower level in the companies that received grants in the period 2009-2011. The confidence interval for the comparison for the before-after difference in rates between the intervention group and the control group is found significant (confidence 95%, p = 0.05). The improvement of scaffolds was effective in reducing rates of accident with falls to a lower level. This intervention should be a priority in public policies. The process of standardisation of equipment with high accident risk should be developed further.
Source : Rubio-Romero JC, Carrillo-Castrillo JA, Gibb A. Int. J. Inj. Control Safe. Promot. 2013.
A new NIOSH publication provides health care workers with information on respiratory protection products and stresses the importance of using NIOSH-approved respirators. The publication includes descriptions and images of N95 filtering facepiece respirators and surgical N95 respirators, and explains how employees can verify whether the respirators they use are genuinely certified and approved by NIOSH. The agency also lists several other resources for information on respirators, including NIOSH’s “respirator trusted-source information” page, http://KnowIts.NIOSH.gov. NIOSH reminds workers to follow the guidance of their organizations’ respiratory protection programs, get fit-tested annually, and know how to use their respirators safely and effectively.
Source : http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-138/default.html
La sélection d'un appareil de protection respiratoire contre les bioaérosols peut s'avérer une tâche complexe compte tenu de l'absence de valeurs limites d'exposition et de données toxicologiques, ainsi que des limites des techniques d'échantillonnage actuelles et de la grande diversité des bioaérosols. Dans ces circonstances, une méthode qualitative d'évaluation et de gestion du risque fournit une alternative aux méthodes quantitatives utilisées en hygiène du travail. Ce rapport propose un modèle de gestion graduée du risque pour le choix de la protection respiratoire contre les bioaérosols infectieux et non infectieux applicable à l'ensemble des milieux de travail et s'adressant aux hygiénistes du travail et autres intervenants en santé et en sécurité du travail, ainsi qu'aux experts membres de sociétés savantes.
Source : http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-developpement-d-un-modele-de-gestion-graduee-du-risque-pour-le-choix-de-la-protection-respiratoire-contre-les-bioaerosols-r-766.html?utm_source=SendBlaster&utm_medium=email&utm_term=infoirsst%2D2013%2D09%2Doct&utm_content=infoirsst%2D2013%2D09%2Doct&utm_campaign=infoirsst%2D2013%2D09%2Doct
Objectives: The high values of thermal resistance (Rct) and/or vapor resistance (Ret) of chemical protective clothing (CPC) induce a considerable thermal stress. The present study compared the physiological strain induced by CPCs and evaluates the relative importance of the fabrics' Rct, Ret, and air permeability in determining heat strain. Methods: Twelve young (20–30 years) healthy, heat-acclimated male subjects were exposed fully encapsulated for 3h daily to an exercise-heat stress (35°C and 30% relative humidity, walking on a motor-driven treadmill at a pace of 5 km h1 and a 4% inclination, in a work–rest cycle of 45min work and 15min rest). Two bipack CPCs (PC1 and PC2) were tested and the results were compared with those attained by two control suits—a standard cotton military BDU (CO1) and an impermeable material suit (CO2). Results: The physiological burden imposed by the two bilayer garments was within the boundaries set by the control conditions. Overall, PC2 induced a lower strain, which was closer to CO1, whereas PC1 was closer to CO2. Air permeability of the PC2 cloth was almost three times higher than that of PC1, enabling a better heat dissipation and consequently a lower physiological strain. Furthermore, air permeability characteristic of the fabrics, which is associated with its construction and weave, significantly correlated with the physiological strain, whereas the correlation with Rct, Ret, and weight was poor. Conclusions: The results emphasize the importance of air permeability in reducing the physiological strain induced by CPCs.
Source : Yoram Epstein, Yuval Heled, Itay Ketko, Jeni Muginshtein, Ran Yanovich, Amit Druyan, and Daniel S. Moran. Ann Occup Hyg (2013) 57 (7): 866-874. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/met003
Respirators must be properly used to be effective. In an experimental protocol, 145 subjects were trained and then observed donning and doffing respirators. Filtering facepiece and dual cartridge half face mask types were studied. Subjects were then tested for knowledge and for proper performance using video recording analysis. Knowledge tests showed adequate learning, but performance was often poor. Inspection, strap tension (half mask), seal checking, and avoiding mask contact during doffing were particularly problematic. Mask positioning was generally well done. Correlation between knowledge and performance for specific items was generally poor, although there was a weak correlation between overall knowledge and overall performance (rho = 0.32) for the half mask users. Actual unprompted performance as well as knowledge and fit-testing should be assessed for user certification. Respirator design approval should consider users' ability to learn proper technique.
Source : Philip Harber, Robert J. Boumis, Jing Su, Sarah Barrett, Gabriela Alongi. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Vol. 10, No 10, 2013.
Rescue teams have a small window of time to locate a downed firefighter. Their task is made more difficult due to low visibility, smoke, toxic gases, and high temperatures. In the United States, most firefighters are equipped with a Personal Alarm Safety System (PASS) device that emits an alarm sound, when the firefighter becomes incapacitated. Rescue teams can then follow this sound to the source to locate the downed firefighter. While the PASS device has been enormously successful, anecdotal evidence has shown it fails in some interesting scenarios. For example, cases have been recorded where firefighters inside the building were unable to hear the signal, whereas those outside heard it clearly. To explain these cases, and to improve the signal used by the PASS device, it is necessary to understand sound propagation in the fireground environment. This paper will present acoustic transfer measurements inside a laboratory compartment fire, simulating a fire in a residential structure. The research aims to understand how the developing temperature gradient and smoke layer influences sound propagation. A secondary goal is the development and validation of finite element models of fireground acoustics. [Work supported by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program.].
Source : Abbasi MZ, Wilson PS, Ezekoye OA. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2013; 133(5): 3500. http://asadl.org/jasa/resource/1/jasman/v133/i5/p3500_s1?bypassSSO=1
The objective of this study was to assess how the relative efficiency of N95 respirators and surgical masks might vary with different challenge aerosols, utilizing a standardized manikin head form as a surrogate to human participation. A Collision nebulizer aerosolized B. anthracis Sterne strain endospores and polystyrene latex (PSL) particles to evaluate 11 models of N95 respirators and surgical masks. An automated breathing simulator, calibrated to normal tidal volume and active breathing rate, mimicked human respiration. A manikin head form with N95 respirators or surgical masks, and manikin head form without N95 respirators or surgical masks were placed in the bioaerosol chamber. An AGI-30 sampler filled with phosphate buffered water was fitted behind the mouth of each manikin head form to collect endospore bioaerosol samples. PSL aerosols concentrations were quantified by an ARTI Hand Held Particle Counter. Geometric Mean (GM) relative efficiency of N95 respirators and surgical masks challenged with endospore bioaerosol ranged from 34–65%. In PSL aerosol experiments, GM relative efficiency ranged from 35–64% for 1.3 μm particles. GM filtration efficiency of all N95 and surgical N95 respirators filter media evaluated was ≥99% when challenged with particles ≥0.1 μm. GM filtration efficiency of surgical mask filter media ranged from 70–83% with particles ≥0.1 μm and 74–92% with 1.3 μm PSL particles. Relative efficiencies of N95 respirators and surgical masks challenged with aerosolized B. anthracis endospores and PSL were similar. Relative efficiency was similar between N95 respirators and surgical masks on a manikin head form despite clear differences in filtration efficiency. This study further highlights the importance of face seal leakage in the respiratory protection provided by N95 respirators, and demonstrates it on a human surrogate.
Source : Craig S. Davidson, Christopher F. Green, Shawn G. Gibbs, Kendra K. Schmid, Adelisa L. Panlilio, Paul A. Jensen, Pasquale V. Scarpino. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Vol. 10, no 9, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15459624.2013.818243
endospores, filtration efficiency, inert particles, N95, relative efficiency, surgical mask
The AIHA Respiratory Protection Committee recently developed fact sheets on respiratory protection for reducing disease transmission among health care workers and the general public. Health care workers in particular can be exposed to a variety of infectious agents while performing their duties, and respirators are frequently used to provide protection from exposure to these airborne infectious agents.
Source : http://www.aiha.org/publications-and-resources/TheSynergist/AIHANews/Pages/New-AIHA-Fact-Sheets-Respiratory-Protection-for-Health-Care-Workers,-General-Public.aspx
NIOSH recently released its first smart phone application (app) for mobile devices. This free app is aimed at improving extension ladder safety by providing real-time safety information delivered via the latest technology. Falls are a persistent source of injury in many occupations and in home use. Falls are the number one cause of construction-worker fatalities with falls from ladders a common yet preventable construction injury. Health services and the wholesale and retail industries experience the largest number of non-fatal fall-related injuries. Ladders are also used in home maintenance and repair and to access higher places at home.
Misjudging the ladder angle is a significant risk factor for a fall. If the ladder is set too steeply, it is more likely to fall back or slide away during use, and if it is set too shallow then the bottom can slide out. The NIOSH Ladder Safety phone app has an angle of inclination indicator which uses visual and audible signals making it easier for workers and other users to set an extension ladder at the proper angle of 75.5 degrees. The app can help workers prevent falls and is also a tool for employers who want to ensure a safe workplace. The app is available through the NIOSH website, the Apple App-store, and Android Apps on Google Play.
Source : http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2013/08/27/ladder-safety/
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to develop multi-layer clothing assemblies consisting of fibrous battings and reflective nano-fibrous thin layers for cold protective clothing for improved thermal insulation. Design/methodology/approach - Thermal insulation values of totally twenty assemblies made of varying layers of a thick polyester batting and four different types of thin interlayers were measured using a guarded hot-plate to investigate the effect of the properties of thin interlayers and construction of multi-layer assemblies on thermal insulation. Cold protective jackets filled with polyester battings sandwiched with or without interlayers were also made and tested on the sweating fabric manikin-Walter. Findings - Results show that the Rosseland mean extinction coefficients of the thin interlayer and the associated radiative thermal conductivity of the interlayers have significant influence on thermal insulation of the assembly when more than one reflective nano-fibrous interlayers are sandwiched in the assembly. The cold protective jacket filled with multilayer polyester battings and reflective nano-fibrous interlayers have better thermal insulation and moisture permeability index (im) than those filled with the same multilayer polyester battings, but with non-reflective nonwoven interlayers or without interlayers. Originality/value - This paper clearly demonstrates the advantages of reflective nano-fibrous thin material for interlayers in the cold projective jacket.
Source : http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0955-6222&volume=25&issue=5&articleid=17093491&show=abstract
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