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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. National Assessment of Capacity in Public Health, Environmental, and Agricultural Laboratories — United States, 2011

Matthew L. Boulton, MD, MPH
Professor of Epidemiology, Preventive Medicine, Health Management & Policy, and Internal Medicine
University of Michigan
Phone (734) 936-1623
mboulton@umich.edu

Public health, agricultural, and environmental laboratories are essential to our national public health system and should be periodically assessed for program and workforce capacity. The laboratory workforce is a vital component of our nation’s public health infrastructure.  A 2011 national survey of public health, agricultural, and environmental laboratories in the US revealed low reported capacity in several key program areas including agricultural-related services, toxicology, and in the general area of worker training.  Agencies at the local, state, and federal level should collaborate to improve laboratory capacity, especially in worker training and education, and encourage development of greater number and type of available laboratory degree programs.

2. Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries Involving Fishing Vessel Winches —Southern Shrimp Fleet, United States, 2000–2011

CDC
Division of News & Electronic Media           
404-639-3286

Entanglement in shrimp winches causes traumatic injuries that lead to permanent disability or death. These injuries are preventable, and NIOSH is working with the shrimping industry to identify solutions such as guarding of winches and automated cable winding guides. In addition to safety interventions, workers can reduce their risk of fatal injury by not wearing loose-fitting clothing around the winch and not working alone on deck. Commercial fishing is a dangerous occupation, including the Southern shrimp fleet in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. Workers face the risk of entanglement in deck winches, resulting in traumatic injuries that lead to permanent disability or death. During 2000–2011, a total of 35 work-related injuries, including eight fatal injuries, caused by deck winches occurred in the Southern shrimp fleet. Working alone and becoming entangled in the winch drum (as opposed to the winch cathead) were risk factors for fatal injury outcomes. These injuries are preventable and NIOSH is working with the shrimping industry to develop effective and appropriate strategies for preventing winch injuries in the Southern shrimp fleet. In addition to safety interventions, NIOSH recommends that crewmembers not work alone on deck and be trained on emergency and first aid procedures in the event of a winch entanglement.

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