Physics, radiation protection, and radiation instrumentation
Ionizing radiation injuries and illnesses are exceedingly rare; therefore, most physicians have never managed such conditions. When confronted with a possible radiation injury or illness, most physicians must seek specialty consultation. Protection of responders, health care workers, and patients is an absolute priority for the delivery of medical care. Management of ionizing radiation injuries and illnesses, as well as radiation protection, requires a basic understanding of physics. Also, to provide a greater measure of safety when working with radioactive materials, instrumentation for detection and identification of radiation is needed. Because any health care professional could face a radiation emergency, it is imperative that all institutions have emergency response plans in place before an incident occurs. The present article is an introduction to basic physics, ionizing radiation, radiation protection, and radiation instrumentation, and it provides a basis for management of the consequences of a radiologic or nuclear incident.
Source: Christensen DM, Jenkins MS, Sugarman SL, Glassman ES. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 2014; 114(3): 189-199.
Training and awareness of employer safety procedures
Background : The Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers describes current practices used to minimize chemical exposures and barriers to using recommended personal protective equipment for the following: antineoplastic drugs, anesthetic gases, high level disinfectants, surgical smoke, aerosolized medications (pentamidine, ribavirin, and antibiotics), and chemical sterilants.
Methods : Twenty-one healthcare professional practice organizations collaborated with NIOSH to develop and implement the web-based survey.
Results : Twelve thousand twenty-eight respondents included professional, technical, and support occupations which routinely come in contact with the targeted hazardous chemicals. Chemical-specific safe handling training was lowest for aerosolized antibiotics (52%, n = 316), and surgical smoke (57%, n = 4,747). Reported employer procedures for minimizing exposure was lowest for surgical smoke (32%, n = 4,746) and anesthetic gases (56%, n = 3,604).
Conclusions : Training and having procedures in place to minimize exposure to these chemicals is one indication of employer and worker safety awareness. Safe handling practices for use of these chemicals will be reported in subsequent papers.
Source: Steege, A. L., Boiano, J. M. and Sweeney, M. H. (2014), NIOSH Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers: Training and awareness of employer safety procedures. Am. J. Ind. Med.
BACKGROUND: Slips and falls contribute to occupational injuries and fatalities globally. Both floor slipperiness and floor roughness affect the occurrence of slipping and falling. Investigations on fall-related phenomena are important for the safety and health of workers. OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study were to: compare the perceived floor slipperiness before and after walking on the floor; compare the perceived floor slipperiness with and without shoes for males and females; discuss the perceived floor roughness based on barefoot walking; and establish regression models to describe the relationship between perceived floor slipperiness and actual friction of the floors. METHODS: Male and female subjects walked on 3 m walkways with or without shoes. The perceived floor slipperiness ratings both before and after their walk were collected. RESULTS: The perceived floor slipperiness both before and after walking were significantly affected by both floor and surface conditions. Gender, floor, surface, and footwear conditions were all significant factors affecting the adjustment of perceived floor slipperiness. The subjects made more adjustment on perceived floor slipperiness rating when they had shoes on than when they were barefooted. CONCLUSION: Regression models were established to describe the relationship between perceived floor slipperiness and floor coefficient of friction. These models may be used to estimate perceived floor slipperiness, or in reverse, the coefficient of friction of the floor, so as to prevent slipping and falling in workplaces.
Source : Yu R, Li KW. Work. 2014.
Background Slips, trips and falls (STF) are a major cause of workplace injury.AimsTo examine risk factors for STF at a large US chemical manufacturing company.
Methods We conducted a case-control study of occupational STF. Cases were identified from company injury records between 1 April 2009 and 1 May 2011. Four controls per case were randomly selected from all active company workers employed during the same time. Data were collected through a questionnaire and from company medical examinations. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for personal, environmental and health-related risk factors for STF.
Results There were 74 cases and 309 controls. The response rate was 65% for the cases and 68% for the controls. Most STF were unrelated to production activities. When examining all factors in a logistic regression model, increased OR were observed for increased body mass index (OR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.03-2.02), having arthritis (OR = 2.11, 95% CI: 1.01-4.37), lack of exercise (OR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.01-5.05), carrying materials (OR = 3.01, 95% CI: 1.41-6.43) and being female (OR = 2.46, 95% CI: 1.17-5.19). Reduced risk of STF was observed for never having smoked (OR = 0.48, 95% CI: 0.24-0.95), long service (OR = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.34-0.81) and persons working over 8h a day (OR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.20-0.88).
Conclusions Risk factors for STF in a large US chemical company are similar to those reported from other workplaces, but we found that staying fit and healthy is important for reducing risk.
Source : Swaen G, Burns CJ, Collins JJ, Bodner KM, Dizor JF, Craun BA, Bonner EM. Occup. Med. 2014.
The suitability of PPE for use against different thermal challenges is often described by way of compliance with British, European or Internationally agreed standards. The review compared the range of test standards currently used for flame protective PPE for both general industrial use and specialist PPE for motor racing and fire fighting tasks with the thermal challenge expected from a range of explosive events.
Disparity has been found between the levels of challenge required to pass the test standards and the level displayed by the burning explosive materials – these practical challenges have been found to be significantly higher, causing levels of heating and burning which would produce significant injury to individuals wearing some types of PPE under certain circumstances.
The report recommends that harm models consider the effect of damage to the respiratory system; that further work is undertaken to better understand the performance of modern materials in an explosives environment; and that PPE should be tested against a representative explosive challenge as part of the process that dutyholders undertake in order to determine its suitability for use.
Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1002.htm
Workers are exposed to risks from falls during construction, operation, maintenance, and demolition of buildings. Parapets are the parts of the wall assembly that extend above the roof [Rajendran and Gambatese 2013] and can prevent falls from low-sloped (flat) roofs. Other design features that can prevent falls include using guardrail systems and permanent anchor points (for use with personal fall arrest systems and lifelines) [See NIOSH 2013 for more information].
Source : http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2014-108/
Objective: This study addresses methods for training respirator users, particularly when occupational health professionals are not immediately available.
Methods: A randomized trial compared three training methods—printed brochure, video, and computer-based training—for two respirator types (filtering facepiece and a dual-cartridge half facemask). Quantitative fit testing (PortaCount) measured the effectiveness of training. The study included 226 subjects.
Results: For both respirator types, video was significantly superior to either print or computer-based training methods. Conclusions were consistent, whether determined by average fit factor (analysis of variance), log-transformed fit factors, or the number of users in the lowest quartile of achieved fit.
Conclusions: Video training for proper respirator use can be effective when direct training from an occupational health professional is unavailable. These methods are particularly relevant to “rapid rollout” situations, such as natural disasters, epidemics, or bioterrorism concerns.
Source : Harber, Philip MD, MPH; Boumis, Robert J. BS; Su, Jing MS; Barrett, Sarah BS; Alongi, Gabriela BS. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
December 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 12 - p 1484–1488.
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
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