martes, 25 de agosto de 2015

NIOSH Research Rounds - August, 2015

NIOSH Research Rounds - August, 2015

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In This Issue


Long-term Care Facilities Can Find Challenges in Preventing TB

Preventing tuberculosis (TB) among workers in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities presents many challenges for workplace safety and health, according to a paper by NIOSH researchers published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Older adults have higher TB rates than younger adults, and long-term care residents are more likely to have TB than people who live in their own homes. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical in long-term care facilities to protect residents and their friends and family who visit—as well as the 3 million-plus U.S. workers who provide care in these facilities.

Precautions Can Improve Cold-Room Comfort

Work in cold, damp conditions can be uncomfortable, even just for an hour or two. However, workers who prepare food for 8-hour shifts in refrigerated, 40°F food preparation and storage enclosures called cold rooms may feel extremely uncomfortable, have declining work performance, and be more likely to get hurt on the job.

Current safety guidelines in technical standards apply to below-freezing conditions or outdoor work, but not to cold rooms. For this reason, cold rooms are an overlooked area of work-related cold stress, and employers and workers are unlikely to have guidance tailored to their particular needs.

Baby’s on the Way—What About Your Respirator?

Pregnant women may turn to maternity clothes for comfort but may wonder whether they need a new respirator in the workplace. Will their fit-tested facemasks still provide a tight seal if they gain weight during pregnancy? Results of a new NIOSH study, accepted for publication by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, suggest that the fit-tested model of respirator provided before pregnancy will continue to fit a pregnant worker as long as she follows medical guidelines for healthy weight gain during pregnancy. A larger study is warranted to validate the findings, the researchers said.

In the United States, more than 3 million industrial workers and nearly 5 million nursing staff wear respirators to protect themselves from airborne toxins. As part of a workplace safety and health program, respirators can help stop airborne toxins from reaching the lungs when ventilation and cleaning measures alone cannot remove all contaminants, or if the cost of installing these measures is prohibitive. Because respirators must fit properly to function and significant changes in body weight can affect fit, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires annual fit testing. Whether pregnant women who wear respirators at work should undergo another fit testing was unclear prior to this study.

Better Sleep after Brain Injury May Aid Recovery

Most of us at some time in our modern, high-tech lives have had problems falling asleep or staying asleep—the classic tossing and turning of insomnia. For people who have had a traumatic brain injury like a concussion, sleep trouble related to the injury can persist for months and cause serious medical problems such as chronic headaches, difficulty concentrating, and depression.

In the United States, 7 million traumatic brain injuries occur each year, with nearly half related to motor vehicle crashes. The body needs sleep so it can repair and regulate itself. Research shows that a brain injury can prevent sleep by damaging areas that control the sleep/wake cycle, or circadian rhythm.

Role-Play Decreases Bullying among Nurses

Role-play is an effective technique to teach ways to prevent bullying in nursing schools, according to NIOSH research published with university and other partners in the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice.

Previous studies have shown that emotional bullying by experienced nurses toward their new colleagues is a prevalent problem in undergraduate nursing schools. Like other kinds of bullying, emotional bullying in the workplace can affect employee health and safety. In one study, a sample of novice nurses said that bullying caused them to work uncomfortably fast, and it even caused them to consider leaving the program. In extreme cases, these effects could compromise patient care by impairing a nurse’s ability to practice effectively or, even, at all.

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