Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice (r2p) Award Winners and Honorable Mentions: Backgound, 2011
- Title: Improved Truck Cab Design Through Applied Anthropometry
- Authors: Guan J, Hsiao H, Whisler R, Newbraugh B, Cantis D, Zwiener J, Current R
- Source: Division of Safety Research (DSR)
- Background: Motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. Of approximately 5,700 fatalities reported annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35% are associated with motor vehicles. Fatal work-related injuries involving workers in transportation and material moving occupations accounted for more than one-fifth of all occupational fatalities in 2009, though fatalities in this occupational group declined by 28%. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers, the subgroup with the highest number of fatal work-related injuries within the transportation and material moving group, led the decline with 32% fewer fatalities in 2009 than in 2008.
- Relevance: The primary objective of the NIOSH project titled, Improved Truck Cab Design Through Applied Anthropometry was to reduce on-the-road tractor-trailer incidents through the improved ergonomic design of the truck bed environment. This project translated an anthropometric dataset of 1,950 professional truck drivers collected by NIOSH on a national scale and provided the research results to industry stakeholders. Sharing these results with stakeholders, several of whom have been engaged throughout the research process, has led to several impacts that are likely to improve the safety and health of truck drivers. Impacts include: a) truck manufacturers and parts suppliers have used this information to improve the design of next generation truck cabs, including improved ingress/egress capability of truck cabs and improved integration of seat belts into cab designs; b) a software developer has begun upgrading a simulation database, which will greatly enhance the bio-fidelity of the software in simulating the work space in truck cabs; and c) the data are being used to upgrade industry standards and design safer trucks, which has the potential to increase cab visibility, reduce blind spot crashes, and increase fit and thus the use of seatbelts among truck drivers.
- Title: Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: Managing the Health and Safety Concerns Associated with Engineered Nanomaterials
- Authors: Hodson L, Geraci C, Zumwalde R, Castranova V, Kuempel E, Birch E, Curwin B, Evans D, Gao P, Hoover M, Ku BK, Mercer R, Methner M, Murashov V, Pearce T, Rengasamy A, Schubauer-Berigan M, Schulte P, Shaffer R, Shvedova A, Stefaniak A, Trout D, Turkevich L, Williams V, Fazio G
- Source: Education and Information Division (EID) / Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC)
- Background: Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale to produce new structures, materials, and devices, and it promises scientific advancement for many industry sectors. Generally, nanotechnology covers engineered structures, devices, and systems that have a length scale between 1 and 100 nanometers. At this size, materials begin to exhibit unique properties that affect physical, chemical, and biological behavior. As with any new technology, the earliest and most extensive exposure to hazards is most likely to occur in the workplace. Workers within nanotechnology-related industries have the potential to be exposed to uniquely engineered materials; however, occupational safety and health risks associated with manufacturing and using nanomaterials are not yet clearly understood.
Relevance: The NIOSH document titled, Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: Managing the Health and Safety Concerns Associated with Engineered Nanomaterials, reviews what is currently known about nanoparticle toxicity, process emissions and exposure assessment, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment. This updated version incorporates some of the latest results of NIOSH research but is only a starting point. The document provides a summary of NIOSH's current thinking and interim recommendations, as well as serves as a request from NIOSH to occupational safety and health practitioners, researchers, product innovators and manufacturers, employers, workers, interest group members, and the general public to exchange information that will ensure that no worker suffers material impairment of safety or health as the field of nanotechnology develops.
NIOSH collaborates closely with multiple stakeholders, many of whom assisted in identifying the need for this product. As a result, this guidance document has been widely reviewed and cited throughout the world as well as has had far reaching impact. More specifically, a) the information contained within the document was used by an international standards committee as the basis for a major technical standard on health and safety practices in occupational settings relevant to nanotechnologies; b) companies have adopted the risk management practices outlined in the document; and c) it has been identified by a federal coordinating body as a key contribution to national and international activities focused on addressing health and safety concerns of nanotechnology. Projected long-term impacts of this document include: the adoption by businesses of a framework for responsible development of nanotechnology; a reduction of workplace exposure to engineered nanomaterials; a standardized approach to measuring nanomaterial emissions and workplace exposures; and the creation of an exposure database, a worker registry, and a summary of engineering controls. Partners were instrumental in vetting and reviewing this guidance document, in providing NIOSH researchers with access to nanotechnology facilities to conduct studies, and in providing confirmation of the value of adopting the guidance issued by NIOSH. They will remain instrumental as the NIOSH and the nanotechnology community moves towards harmonization of exposure registries, medical surveillance, and exposure databases.
- Title: NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings
- Authors: MacKenzie B, Connor T, DeBord G, O'Callaghan J, Trout D
- Source: Division of Applied Research and Technology (DART)
- Background: About 5.5 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs, including pharmacy and nursing personnel, physicians, environmental services workers, workers in research laboratories, veterinary care workers, and shipping and receiving personnel. Published studies have shown that workplace exposures to hazardous drugs can cause both acute and chronic health effects such as skin rashes, adverse reproductive outcomes (including infertility, spontaneous abortions, and congenital malformations), and possibly leukemia and other cancers.
- Relevance: In the Alert titled, NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings 2010, NIOSH presents a standard precautions or universal precautions approach to handling hazardous drugs safely: that is, NIOSH recommends all hazardous drugs be handled as outlined in this Alert. The initial Alert was published in 2004; in 2010 NIOSH updated the Alert, specifically Appendix A, to include 21 additional drugs. These additions were new or existing drugs that had new warnings from 2004 to 2007. Throughout the process, NIOSH worked closely with several stakeholders such as pharmacy and nursing organizations, pharmaceutical and safety equipment manufacturers, health and safety professionals, researchers, and other government agencies. In addition, an extensive review process was implemented to obtain input in identifying which new FDA drug approvals and new warnings of existing drugs should be listed as hazardous, as well as to ensure the information contained in the list was an accurate reflection of the current state of hazardous drugs in healthcare settings. The Alert and its updated lists have had an impact on worker safety and health. To date, it has been translated into several languages; many institutions around the world have reported relying on the list to identify drugs that require special handling practices to protect workers and to using the Alert as a reference for safe handling recommendations; several pharmaceutical companies have voluntarily listed their drugs as hazardous; and it is leading to an early awareness by industry to self-report the potential hazards of their compounds to workers. Additionally, the NIOSH Webpage containing the Alert received over 34,000 hits since the most recent list was published in 2010.
- Title: Partnering with Industry to Build Safe EMS Work Environments
- Authors: Green J, Moore P
- Source: Division of Safety Research (DSR)
- Background: Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel in the U.S. have an estimated fatality rate of 12.7 per 100,000 workers, more than twice the national average. The surveillance data and case investigations identify riding unrestrained as an important risk factor for EMS workers. Among all ambulance occupants, riding in the patient compartment was associated with greater injury severity. Ambulance crashes are one of many hazards faced by EMS personnel. Although no complete national count of ground ambulance crashes exists, the total number of fatal crashes involving ambulances can be ascertained by using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
Relevance: NIOSH has been involved in ambulance worker safety issues related to crash survivability since 2001. This research effort has received substantial contributions from many government and industry partners throughout its history. The project titled, Partnering with Industry to Build Safe EMS Work Environments builds on past research and focuses specifically on translating past and present NIOSH research results. In 2009 in collaboration with industry partners, including a prominent trade association representing ambulance builders and equipment manufacturers, NIOSH agreed to participate in the development of a series of industry-based standards; at which time, there was no national standard for ambulance design or certification. Additionally, a new crash test methodology technical committee was established that included representatives from government agencies, builders and manufacturers, and independent test laboratories. Since its establishment, the technical committee developed a new test procedure using NIOSH research data describing ambulance patient compartment response in a 30 mph frontal impact.
This recommended practice, which was published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in May 2010, describes the input loading to be used when designing and testing all seating, worker/occupant restraints, gurneys, and cabinet or equipment mounts. The publication of this recommended practice represents the first significant building block to developing and manufacturing safer ambulance patient compartments. It has been referenced in three other draft standards currently undergoing validation; it has been broadly accepted by manufacturers and end users and endorsed by NHTSA, likely due to the collaborative approach used to develop the recommended practice; and it has led to the early redesign and testing of seating and restraint systems to the new criteria by the seating and occupant restraint community well in advance of its formal publication. Additionally, this partnership effort has resulted in the establishment of other technical committees charged with addressing: a) patient compartment crash response, b) seat design, c) gurney design, d) equipment mounting, and e) patient compartment structural integrity. The long-term goal of this project, and anticipated impact, is to reduce crash-related injury or fatality for EMS workers and ensure occupant safety by raising the level of patient compartment safety to the same level that currently exists for passenger cars, vans, and light trucks in the event of a 30 mph frontal crash.
More information about EMS and Motor Vehicle Safety can be found at:
- Title: NIOSH Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Cap Lamp
- Authors: Sammarco J, Matty T, King G
- Source: Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR)
- Background: An underground mine is the most difficult environment to illuminate according to the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. A dynamic environment, an underground mine includes dust, confined spaces, low reflective surfaces, and low visual contrasts. Lighting is critical to miners since they depend heavily on visual cues to detect hazards in underground mines, such as pinning, striking, slipping, and tripping hazards. Consequently, illumination greatly affects miners' ability to perform their jobs safely. Typically, a miner's cap lamp is the primary and most important source of light.
Relevance: Based on MSHA accident data and an aging workforce (average age of a U.S. mine worker is about 43 years), it is reasonable to assume that the current quality of underground mine illumination is problematic. First, MSHA injury data for 2000-2004 indicate there are a high number of accidents involving falls of ground, slips and falls, and powered haulage. These accident categories rank within the top four highest rates of lost-workday injuries; slips and trips have the second highest rate. Lighting, especially from a cap lamp, plays a critical role for miners as they visually inspect the mine roof, ribs, back and floor for hazards. Objects associated with hazards are typically of very low contrast and reflectivity. Additionally, there are age-related factors that require a better quality of light.
Prior to the start of this project, NIOSH contacted key stakeholders to assist in identifying critical research needed to improve mine safety. Stakeholders included the Mine Safety and Health Administration, mining industry leaders, and academicians. Feedback from these stakeholders, along with research reports from international researchers and requests from cap lamp companies, identified improved mine illumination and the reduction of pining/striking accidents as the most critical areas for research. As a result, NIOSH partnered with industry to develop an improved miner cap lamp. Human subject test results of the light-emitting diode (LED) cap lamp showed up to a 194% improvement in floor hazard detection, up to 79% improvement in peripheral motion detection, and disability glare (crucial for seeing any hazard) decreased up to 54%. In addition, knowledge gained from this research resulted in: a) major changes to an international standard, b) industry-initiated changes to a test procedure, the light beam distribution, the LED color temperature, and the battery charger, and c) design improvements for future cap lamps. The NIOSH LED cap lamp uses up to 50% less power than traditional cap lamps, is programmable, can be reconfigured by workers to suit the worker's visual needs, and provides better lighting of hazardous areas. It is expected that use of the NIOSH LED cap lamp will result in a reduction of slips/trips/falls and pining/striking incidents and have a global impact on worker safety in the mining industry, and potentially in other industries as well.
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