Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance
NIOSH Docket Number 223
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requested comments on the draft guidance document, Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance, NIOSH Docket Number: NIOSH 223. Upon completion of the public comment period, NIOSH responded to all comments and have now utilized these comments to produce a newly revised ERHMS document which is currently available on the NIOSH docket.
Following the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, concerns were raised regarding the ability of the emergency response community to ensure the safety and health of all workers involved in a large scale, complex emergency response. More recent disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, continue to reveal the gaps which exist in the safety and health programs utilized during large scale emergency events.
This draft document proposes a new framework for ensuring responder safety and health by monitoring and conducting surveillance of their health and safety during the entire cycle of emergency response, including the pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment phases of a response. The proposed system is referred to as the “Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS)” system, and includes a guidance section describing the principles involved in ensuring optimal responder safety and health, as well as tools which can be utilized to help facilitate the execution of these principles during an actual response.