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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Bullard-Sherwood Research to Practice (r2p) Award Winners and Honorable Mentions: Backgound, 2009

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Knowledge Category

Winner:

  • Title: Developing an MBA Class on the Business Value of Safety and Health

  • Authors: Wurzelbacher S, Hull DH, Pana-Cryan R, Hudock S, Biddle E, Ray T, Bhattacharya A, Bushnell T, Getahun A, Roemer J

  • Source: Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies

  • Background: Economics is the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Studying economics can provide guidance for the design of practical safety and health interventions and can illuminate the benefits and cost-effectiveness of such interventions. The application of economics in occupational safety and health provides a framework to identify economic inefficiencies associated with poor safety and health outcomes and points to the prevention opportunities with the greatest impact.

  • Relevance: To advance the safety and health of workers, NIOSH developed an MBA course titled, "Business Value of Safety and Health," in collaboration with Xavier University's Williams College of Business in Cincinnati, Ohio. This graduate course addresses how businesses can use occupational safety and health improvements and initiatives for long-term planning, operations management, and other decision-making processes. The course emphasizes real-world cases from industries that incorporated occupational safety and health strategies into their respective business models.

More information about Developing an MBA Class on the Business Value of Safety and Health can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-10-03-08.html; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/econ/.

Winner:

  • Title: Fall Injury Controls and Interventions for Aerial Lifts

  • Authors: Pan C, Dong R, Boehler B, McCann M, Chiou S, Powers J, Cantis D, Lutz T, Keane P, Welcome D, Ronaghi M

  • Source: Division of Safety Research

  • Background: Aerial lifts transport workers above the ground using cables and are used in a number of diverse industries. Their use is increasing as new designs and applications are becoming common. Aerial lifts represent an emerging construction technology and a risk factor for injury and fatality from falls to lower levels, and are responsible for substantial economic loss. In 2003, NIOSH was asked by an aerial lift manufacturer to conduct a third-party engineering evaluation of the aerial lift equipment and operator error in recent construction fatalities.

  • Relevance: To respond to research requests associated with aerial lifts from national and international standards committees and industrial representatives, NIOSH identified common injury scenarios, research gaps in falls incidents associated with aerial lifts, and problematic designs is existing technology. In addition, NIOSH provided suggested modification to manufactures in the design of fall protection systems, and it is now being manufactured. This research is being used as the scientific basis for a draft ANSI standard. Given wide spread use of aerial lifts, education has been essential. Peer-reviewed journal and trade articles have been published, scientific presentations have been delivered, and training materials have been developed with support from various stakeholders.

More information about fall injury controls and interventions for aerial lifts can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/falls/; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/const/.

Intervention Category

Winner:

  • Title: Ambulance Crash Survivability Improvement Project

  • Authors: Moore PH, Green JD, Current RS, Bobick T, Romano NT

  • Source: Division of Safety Research

  • Background: The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 201,000 emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics were employed by hospitals, private ambulance services, or public agencies in 2006. A much larger number of volunteers, estimated to be at least 700,000, work in these professions and many fire fighters are trained as EMT and paramedics. Transportation-related events were the most common causes of death.

  • Relevance: Surveillance data and NIOSH case investigations identified riding unrestrained as an important risk factor for occupational injury and death among EMS workers; certain hazards could not be eliminated by restraints alone. NIOSH partnered with two organizations who requested design input from NIOSH to eliminate the risk of injury and death from cabinets immediately above and behind the head of an EMS worker. NIOSH research was the impetus for change in purchase specifications and testing standards for every ambulance contracted for and manufactured in the United States beginning August 1, 2007. The change incorporates a minimum head clearance above all seating positions effectively eliminating the overhead cabinet head strike hazard.

More information about ambulance crash survivability can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/emres/responders.html; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/pps/projects.html; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/pps/.

Honorable Mention:

  • Title: Improved Criteria for Emergency Medical Services Protective Clothing

  • Authors: Shepherd A, Haskell W

  • Source: National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory

  • Background: It is estimated there are over 1 million firefighters and an additional 50,000 emergency medical service (EMS) workers engaged in EMS operations. Routinely, these EMS responders are exposed to a wide range of hazards that require personal protective equipment. NIOSH's National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) began a research project in 2005 to address limitations in the previous edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1999 Standard on Protective for Emergency Medical Operators concerning protective clothing.

  • Relevance: NPPTL and its partners conducted a series of investigations to provide the basis for recommending specific, mission based criteria for the protection of responders during medical operations. NPPTL's recommended criteria and test methods were used by the NFPA for its 2008 edition of the standard. The level of protection offered by the protective clothing enables a level of protection not previously provided to the nation's EMS responders. As of January 13, 2009 there were 29 manufacturers with 92 certified products. Two notable areas for increased certification are reusable footwear and work gloves. The Department of Homeland Security and the Interagency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability have officially endorsed the 2008 edition of the NFPA 1999 standard, meaning EMS organizations will be able to obtain funding to purchase NFPA 1999 certified products through a federal equipment grants program.

More information about emergency medical services protective clothing can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/blog/nsb012009_ems.html; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/pps/projects.html; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/pps/.

Technology Category

Winner:

  • Title: Engineering Noise Controls for Roof Bolters

  • Authors: Peterson JS, Kovalchik PG, Matetic RJ, Alcorn LA

  • Source: Pittsburgh Research Laboratory

  • Background: Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common occupational illness in the United States with roughly 30 million workers exposed to excessive noise levels that could prove hazardous to their hearing. Studies indicate that 70%-90% of miners have NIHL great enough to be classified as a hearing disability. Research by Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) indicate that roof bolting machine operators are among workers who are overexposed to noise. NIOSH further determined that the drill steel is the primary noise source for the operator.

  • Relevance: In collaboration with industry, labor, manufacturers, and governmental partners, NIOSH developed a collapsible drill steel enclosure (CDSE) to encapsulate the drill steel during operations and reduce the sound power emissions of roof bolting machines. Several mines have used the CDSE, and operators have provided testimonies that they observe a clear reduction in the noise level of the roof bolting machine. In addition, MSHA has publicly recognized the CDSE as a "promising" noise control technology.

For more information about Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/pubs/pubreference/outputid3036.htm; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/mining/.

 

 
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