NIOSH Announces Plan to Address Native American Workplace Risks

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a strategic plan to address the occupational safety and health risks facing Native Americans and Alaska Natives, said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD. Announced on May 4th.

There are nearly 3 million AI/AN workers in the United States, the institute reported in eNews in April, but the occupational health and safety challenges faced by American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) workers There is little information about the risks above.

According to NIOSH, the most AI/AN workers are employed in the areas of office and administrative support, sales, administration, transportation and material movement, and food preparation and serving. Many are also employed in tribal enterprises such as food production, housing, livestock, product manufacturing, healthcare and tourism.

NIOSH is working with tribes, tribal service organizations, academia, state and local health departments, and U.S. government agencies because few published studies have specifically examined occupational health and safety risks for AI/AN workers. and developed a strategic plan to address these issues. knowledge gap.

This strategic plan has four areas of focus: research, practice, policy and capacity development to prevent occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths among AI/AN workers.

Initiatives under the Strategic Plan include:

  • developing partnerships,
  • establish research priorities,
  • writing a guide grant,
  • increase the capacity of the internal organs, and
  • Implementation of local worker health and safety activities.

NIOSH surveys and reports

NIOSH also published the results of a recently completed occupational health study. Researchers at the Institute found that among workers in Midwestern health care facilities, skin disorders caused by cleaning and disinfecting products containing alcohol, bleach, and chemicals known as quaternary ammonium compounds ( irritation and rash) were examined. Researchers found that workers using alcohol-containing products had about three times the chance of skin damage, while workers using bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds were less likely to use cleaning and disinfecting products. found to be approximately twice as high compared to non-workers.

Glove use was about 9 times higher among workers using bleach compared to workers using alcohol, and 13 times higher among workers using quaternary ammonium compounds compared to workers using alcohol. was twice as expensive.

Researchers believe that training of healthcare workers should include methods to minimize the risk of exposure to cleaning and disinfecting products, including wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves. concluded.

Another study examined occupational heat exposure in crop and construction workers in Washington State. Researchers looked at patterns of days above maximum temperature thresholds of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (F), 85 degrees Fahrenheit, 89 degrees Fahrenheit, 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and 95 degrees Fahrenheit for agricultural and construction workers.

The researchers found that Central Washington, with its large number of crop workers, had the most days above the heat threshold of 90°F and above and 95°F and above. The days when the heat threshold is crossed coincide with the summer peak in outdoor employment. Therefore, NIOSH researchers emphasized the importance of understanding occupational heat exposure over time in different geographic areas.

NIOSH also said a Washington state cannabis store worker shot in an armed robbery, a farm worker killed after being hit by a tomato harvester, a dairy farm worker killed after a tractor rolled down an embankment, and A cargo clerk crushed by a trailer at a store loading dock.

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