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Occupational health and safety issues for emergency responders.

Seitz T; Bernard B
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :56
This presentation includes a discussion of occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues in emergency response. It is based on experience gained from responses at the World Trade Center and anthrax-contaminated sites, and includes considerations for future response and preparedness efforts. Occupational health and safety specialists play an important role on emergency response teams. Responsibilities may include providing guidance to other response team members as well as the first responder community and downstream health care workers caring for sick or injured persons. OH&S specialists will be required to fit. into an Incident Command Structure and deal with multiple bureaucracies, contentious situations, and constantly evolving work environment issues. Medical concerns facing OH&S specialists may include vaccination considerations, prophylactic antibiotic use and side effects, fatigue, stress, and physical and mental fitness for duty. Responders may be asked to facilitate worker notification regarding exposure and risk of disease, as well as overall worker surveillance. Worker health and safety issues must be approached with prevention in mind using the traditional hierarchy of controls. Administrative controls include such things as pre-event training, on-site training, adequate staffing, and preventing persons that are not adequately trained and protected from entering contaminated areas or situations of unknown risk. Conducting exposure assessments and ensuring the adequacy of engineering controls and personal protective equipment are also important considerations. Using smallpox as an example, potential roles and responsibilities of OH&S responders will be discussed.
Occupational-health; Safety-measures; Emergency-responders; Emergency-response; Health-care; Health-care-personnel; Workers; Work-environment; Fatigue; Stress; Physical-fitness; Worker-health; Chemical-warfare-agents; Biohazards; Biological-warfare-agents; Biological-weapons
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: December 18, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division