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TRAUMATIC INJURY

	hazard signs, worker avoiding falling box

Outputs: Research to Practice

Historically, NIOSH has been a leader in applying research into workplace solutions that reduce injury and illness. Research to Practice (r2p ) is a NIOSH initiative focused on the transfer and translation of research findings, technologies, and information into highly effective prevention practices and products that are adopted in the workplace.

The goal of Research to Practice is to increase workplace use of effective NIOSH and NIOSH-funded research findings. NIOSH continues to work with our partners to focus research on ways to develop effective products, translate research findings into practice, target dissemination efforts, and evaluate and demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts in improving worker safety and health.

NIOSH prevention information is most readily found in publications such as NIOSH Alerts, Current Intelligence Bulletins, Workplace Solutions, Fact Sheets, Criteria Documents, and other publications. If you are looking for prevention information for a particular problem area, you may find the appropriate publications listed on NIOSH Traumatic Occupational Injury Topics . If a topic page on the problem area does not exist, another way to search for appropriate information is to scan the list of publications that address traumatic occupational injuries. Finally, the investigative reports conducted as part of the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program each have preventive recommendations based on the investigation of specific fatal incidents.

Selected Research-to-Practice Efforts Addressing Traumatic Injury Problems

Ladder Smart Phone App for Reducing Falls

Ladder-related injuries are a persistent, and yet preventable, public health problem with significant economic impact on society. In 2013, approximately 511,000 people in the United States were injured from ladders and treated in hospital emergency departments, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings. The financial cost of these injuries was $24 billion, including work loss, medical, legal, liability, and pain and suffering expenses. Falls-from-ladders are a leading cause of fall injury and death in all industries. In 2011, there were 113 deaths from work-related ladder-falls and approximately 34,000 additional nonfatal injuries from work-related ladder-falls treated in hospital emergency departments in the U.S. Among construction workers in the U.S., about 81% of reported fall injuries treated in emergency departments involved a ladder. These injuries can be severe and cause disability, changing the lives of workers and their families. Ladder angle significantly affects ladder stability. Research has suggested that ladder users tend to position extension ladders at suboptimal angles, which increases the risk of ladder slide-out events and associated falls. A ladder set too steeply or too shallow cannot provide safe support.

Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed, evaluated, and patented a method and technology for positioning extension ladders at an optimal angle. NIOSH then partnered with ATL International and DS Federal Inc. to transform the ladder safety technology into the first NIOSH Smart Phone application “Ladder Safety.” It features an easy to use ladder positioning tool—an indicator that provides visual, sound, and vibrational signals—to assist users in quickly positioning an extension ladder to the proper angle. The application also provides graphic-oriented interactive reference materials, safety guidelines, and checklists for extension ladder selection, inspection, accessorizing, and use, which can serve as a convenient reference and training tool. To ensure that the guidance materials are up-to-date with the latest ladder safety standards, NIOSH partnered with the American Ladder Institute and the American National Standards Institute A14 committee. The NIOSH Ladder Safety Smart Phone app is available as a free download for Apple and Android mobile devices in both English and Spanish. Read the full story of impact .

Online Workplace Violence Training for Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers dedicate their lives to the treatment and care of patients. They sometimes put their own safety and health at risk to help a patient or visitor. The unique culture and unpredictability of hospitals increase the risk of both physical and non-physical violence among healthcare workers. In 2013, there were 9,200 nonfatal workplace violence injuries among healthcare workers, which was more than 67% of nonfatal violence-related injuries occurring in all industries. These figures underestimate the burden of workplace violence, because only assaults that resulted in time away from work, and not the psychological trauma or less severe physical injuries that healthcare workers experience from workplace violence, are reported. Additionally, the number of assaults reported by healthcare workers is considered greatly underreported. Some reasons include: lack of awareness, fear of retaliation, unintentional assaults, and persistent perception within the healthcare industry that workplace violence is part of the job, and fear that reporting will reflect poorly on the worker.

Many new and experienced healthcare workers are not formally trained in workplace violence prevention strategies. Recognizing the gap in knowledge, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) partnered with Vida Health Communications, Inc., to develop an online training course for nurses. This course was developed mainly as a resource for nurses and other healthcare professionals who are required to complete continuing education units to maintain their licenses, but the training can benefit anyone employed in the healthcare industry. From project conception to dissemination, NIOSH researchers collaborated with healthcare workplace violence prevention experts from academia, labor unions, nurse organizations, private consultants, and other government agencies to ensure course content and design met the learning needs of healthcare professionals. Read the full story of impact .

NIOSH Fall Prevention Guardrail System

Falls from elevations is the primary cause of fatalities in the U.S. construction industry, especially falls from roofs, unprotected edges, and through unprotected roof and floor holes and skylights. During the years 2004 through 2010, a total of 7,429 fatalities occurred in the U.S. construction industry (annual average of 1,061) according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injury database, which is maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of these, the 7-year total of fatalities that occurred by falling at a construction site was 2,598 (annual average of 371), which represents a total of 35.0% of all construction-related fatalities for the 7-year period. Fatalities caused by falling from roof edges, and through roof and floor holes and skylights amounted to a 7-year total of 951 (annual average of 136) which is 36.6% of all fatal falls that occurred in construction during those 7 years. These situations, workers falling from roof edges and through holes and skylights, can be addressed with a guardrail system to prevent falls to a lower level.

Researchers with the Division of Safety Research designed, developed, and patented a multifunctional guardrail system that can be adapted to flat and vertical surfaces, and to seven different roof slopes for residential, industrial, and commercial construction job sites. Feedback from workers who have used the guardrail system during residential construction activities indicated their acceptance of the system. The NIOSH guardrail system is now a commercial product through a non-exclusive licensing agreement between NIOSH-CDC and Reese Wholesale, Inc., Indianapolis, IN.

Partnering with Industry to Build Safe EMS Work Environments

NIOSH has formed strong partnerships with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division and Vehicle Research and Test Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Ambulance Manufacturer’s Division of the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to conduct collaborative research to reduce or eliminate vehicle crash-related injuries and fatalities to Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers in ambulance patient compartments. Together, this broad industry-government partnership has developed a family of 10 ambulance specific crash test Recommended Practices that are, or will soon be, published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Once the SAE Recommended Practices are published, the team is working closely with the GSA, which publishes KKK-1822-F, the Federal Specification for the Star-of-Life Ambulance, the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 1917 Automotive Ambulance Standard Committee, and the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Service’s Ground Vehicle Ambulance Standard Committee, to incorporate each of the SAE Recommended Practices in their bumper-to-bumper ambulance standards. As of October 2015, the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 1917 Automotive Ambulance Standard and the Commission for the Accreditation of Ambulance Services Ground Vehicle Standard V1.0, have now adopted all six of the published SAE Recommended Practices, while the GSA has incorporated five. Both commercial bumper-to-bumper ambulance standards are being considered by individual states to replace the GSA’s General Services Administration’s Federal Specification for the Star-of-Life Ambulance, which today largely governs the design of all ambulances purchased by the U.S. government and most state and local entities.

 

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