Is your medical practice, office, or facility accessible for people living with disabilities? Adjustable exam tables, lowered check-in desks, and providing paperwork in simple text or braille are just a few examples of changes that will improve accessibility, customer service, and patient care. For more examples of how your community can be more inclusive for all, visit CDC’s Disability Inclusion and Disability A.L.L.Y. campaign webpages.
More than 200 law enforcement officers died by struck-by incidents from 2005–2019, which was 24% of motor vehicle-related officer deaths. NIOSH recently published an infographic (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/leo/pdfs/FACE-LEO-Struck-infographic-VFa-508_revised.pdf) outlining four ways that law enforcement officers can lower their risk of being struck by a passing vehicle while outside the patrol vehicle.
Free Webinar: Tales from the Trenches - What Actually Happens During an OSHA Inspection? (Back by Popular Demand!)
This free webinar will cover all aspects of an OSHA inspection, including highlighting common pitfalls for employers, by walking through scenarios that have actually occurred in the field. OSHA is more aggressive now than ever and employers should retrain managers and supervisors on what to do when the government knocks at their door. After attending this webinar, attendees will learn:
Date: Thursday, August 26, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m. ET (GMT -5, New York)
Duration: 1 Hour
Event Type: Live Webinar -- EHS Today-hosted webinar sponsored by Avetta
The pandemic catapulted the OEHS profession into the national spotlight. AIHA leveraged the opportunity to educate target audiences about the vast AIHA Back to Work Safely resources developed by AIHA members and the value of OEHS professionals in the workplace. AIHA worked with the Chicago-based agency CS-Effect to effectively communicate its message through media outreach, social media, digital assets, and industry-specific resources and guidelines, and connected AIHA experts with journalists and reporters covering COVID-19 stories.
As a result of this close cooperation, in 2020 the Back to Work Safely website had more than 168,000 unique views and the guidance documents were downloaded more than 1.5 million times, featured in over 60 stories in national and international media outlets, and even referenced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and governors’ offices throughout the country.
Members also helped spread the word about our resources by volunteering to speak at conferences, author articles, and reach out to allied associations. For example, AIHA Treasurer-Elect Nancy M. McClellan, MPH, CIH, CHMM, submitted an article on ventilation and COVID-19 to the American Chemical Society, which alerted ACS to AIHA’s Back to Work Safely resources. ACS subsequently included a reference to the Back to Work Safely website in the ACS Chemical Health and Safety journal. A version of the article Nancy submitted to ACS is reproduced below for those interested.
As AIHA continues its public awareness outreach, we encourage members interested in volunteering to contact Sue Marchese. Members can be as involved as their time allows.
(August 3, 2021 / Sue Marchese and Nancy M. McClellan / The Synergist Blog)
Operational and Enhanced Ventilation Is Covid-19 Prevention Critical
By Nancy M. McClellan, MPH, CIH, CHMM
As our nation rolls out the COVID-19 vaccination program, businesses reopen, and people return to work, it is critical that we do not lose the progress made thus far. Health and safety measures remain necessary to not only reduce the spread of COVID-19 but also to address health concerns stemming from buildings that have been shut down for extended periods of time. These concerns include, for example, the waterborne pathogens Legionella and Pseudomonas in stagnant water systems. When normalcy returns, buildings that were shut down with forethought and maintained during the closure period will be functional, safe, and ready to reopen. Buildings that were not closed properly, not maintained during the closure, and not effectively cleaned could pose a health hazard. These buildings will need to be addressed with guidance for recovering from COVID-19 building closures (PDF) and reducing the risk of COVID-19 using engineering controls (PDF).
The current state of indoor air quality (IAQ) represents an uphill climb over the past several decades. In addition to cleaning chemicals and environmental particulates, other hazards that pose health risks include mold, pollen, dust, smog, smoke, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other viruses and bacteria released through building materials (such as treated wood, furniture upholstery, and carpeting).
These pollutants and more can impact and jeopardize human health and performance depending on their toxicity, amount of exposure, and the sensitivity of facility occupants. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the potential annual savings and productivity gains from improved IAQ are estimated to be as high as $14 billion from reduced respiratory disease, $4 billion from reduced allergies and asthma, $30 billion from reduced sick building syndrome, and $160 billion from direct improvements in worker performance that are unrelated to health.
CDC, ASHRAE, OSHA, AIHA, and other supporting agencies and organizations have agreed that since the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants transmit readily by airborne routes, facility ventilation operation and enhancements are a critical component to facility pandemic resilience. This awareness of ventilation importance is especially critical to higher-risk settings such as chemical manufacturing, healthcare, and education. Within the occupational and environmental health and safety, industrial hygiene, and ventilation engineering professions, great strides have been made to determine guidelines for optimum ventilation control systems, effective air mixing, increased fresh air introduction, improved filtration media, and implementation of air disinfection technology.
Many building owners are addressing their facility’s ventilation controls to ensure they are connected and operational. Once ventilation system controls are assessed and addressed, it becomes more feasible to adjust for improved mixing, maximized fresh air intake, and upgraded filtration media. After optimizing ventilation systems, facility managers can consider adding capabilities to ventilation ductwork. These additions include promising air disinfection technologies that have been used for decades such as ultraviolet light in the C spectrum, and emerging technologies such as needlepoint bipolar ionization.
Facility managers also have increasing options for continuous evaluation of IAQ indoor air quality so that potential adjustments and improvements can be assessed on the basis of indicators such as carbon dioxide, temperature, relative humidity, volatile organic compounds, and others relevant to specific environments.
No individual transmission-reducing measure is a silver bullet, but taken together, these measures add up to improved IAQ. These measures not only provide opportunities for collaboration among the facility maintenance, health and safety, technology, and ventilation engineering communities, they also reassure occupants that the buildings they are returning to are safe.
ASHRAE: “ASHRAE Position Document on Infectious Aerosols” (PDF, April 2020).
CDC: “Scientific Brief: SARS-CoV-2 and Potential Airborne Transmission.”
Environmental Health Perspective: “Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers: A Controlled Exposure Study of Green and Conventional Office Environments” (June 2016).
Facility Executive: “Occupant Health Hinges on Indoor Air Quality” (December 2020).
OSHA: “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”
U.S. Green Building Council: “LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction” (2009).
Firefighters are at an increased risk for rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis, or rhabdo, is the breakdown of damaged muscles. This breakdown releases muscle cell contents (proteins and electrolytes) into the blood. This can damage the heart and kidneys, result in permanent disability, and can even be fatal! If treated early, most firefighters can return to work in a few days without lingering effects. Firefighters should learn the signs and symptoms of rhabdo and quickly seek medical care to prevent serious medical problems.
Read more about this featured subject HERE: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/newsroom/feature/fighters-risk.html
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) is now under a new name: The Board for Global EHS Credentialing (BGC) - Details of this change are found here: https://ehscredentialing.org/
The BGC has a new online directory that lists all Diplomates in good standing (current on all fees with no outstanding ethics concerns) in the Public Roster showing their name, certification type, certification number, current status, and date certified.
Types of Searches Available:
CLICK HERE to visit the BGC Public Roster portal to search the directory.
Since the Fall 2020, healthcare workers have been reporting to HPAE concerns over highly suspicious ill-fitting, misshapen, sometimes torn and, often, odd-smelling “3M” masks they are being given by their employers while providing care for patients during a pandemic outbreak. Workers have reported to their employers that it is difficult to get proper seal with these masks to ensure they are fully protected. As it turns out, the nation is inundated with fake respirator masks. Here is a guide on how to tell whether the masks you’ve been provided is potentially counterfeit - click here:
Natl. AIHA Tasked by CDC to Develop Public Education on Workplace Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases
AIHA has received a Notice of Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under CDC’s program “Improving Clinical and Public Health Outcomes through National Partnerships to Prevent and Control Emerging Infectious Disease Threats,” AIHA will develop more public education resources aimed at various working populations to complement the Association’s current library of Back to Work Safely resources, which were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
AIHA has announced that the annual AIHce EXP 2021 and professional development courses (PDCs) will be fully virtual (May 24-26). The virtual conference will be packed with thought-provoking keynotes, practical case studies, and actionable education sessions related to COVID-19 as well as dozens of other cutting-edge OEHS topics to help attendees stay up to date. Many of the professional development courses will be held virtually as well. Every full registration automatically comes with access to AIHce OnDemand session recordings, enabling attendees to catch up on sessions they missed or earn additional contact hours through December 31, 2021.