The Monthly Weekly: New Year, New NIOSH Publications
Editor’s note: The Monthly Weekly is an occasional feature that reviews the previous month’s news coverage from The Synergist Weekly newsletter.
Less than a month into the new year, NIOSH has already released two new publications related to topics of high interest to Synergist readers: controls and exposure assessment. One of the new publications is a report on elastomeric half-mask respirators (EHMRs) with modified or covered exhalation valves, and the other is a document on field-based monitoring for respirable crystalline silica.
Here, SynergistNOW provides highlights of these and other new publications recently released by NIOSH.
Modified EHMRs. A report published by NIOSH this month describes an agency study that measured exhalation resistance and levels of inspired carbon dioxide in nine different EHMR configurations mounted on a headform. According to the new report, EHMRs with exhalation valves that were either modified or covered to improve source control met NIOSH’s performance requirement for exhalation resistance.
Silica monitoring. A new NIOSH document describes how to implement field-based monitoring for respirable crystalline silica using portable Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The publication is primarily intended for industrial hygienists and allied professionals who have health and safety responsibilities within the mining industry, though IHs working in other industries may also find it useful.
Future of work. In late December, NIOSH published an agenda outlining the research priorities of its Future of Work Initiative, a program introduced in 2019 to address occupational health and safety research needs related to ongoing and emerging changes in work, the workplace, and the workforce. The agency says the initiative is intended to “prepare the occupational safety and health ecosystem for a safer, healthier, and more productive future.”
Dust exposures and ergonomics. Simple Solutions for Dusty Environments at Metal/Nonmetal Mines, a booklet published by NIOSH in December, is intended to help health and safety professionals control occupational exposures to dust at surface mines and facilities. According to NIOSH, the solutions presented in the booklet can help reduce dust exposures as well as risks for musculoskeletal disorders and traumatic injuries.
Occupational exposure to Histoplasma. Two new fact sheets published by NIOSH last month provide employers and workers with information about histoplasmosis, an infection caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, which lives in the environment—especially in soil containing large amounts of bird or bat droppings. Job activities that involve the disruption of soil or plant matter or demolition, construction, or renovation can increase workers’ risks of being exposed to Histoplasma.
Bonus: 2021’s most popular documents. A NIOSH Science Blog post published earlier this month revealed the five NIOSH publications that received the most downloads last year. An updated version of the Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation, which was published in September, was fourth on the list. The most popular publication was the NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2016.
The latest industry news from The Synergist is available on AIHA’s website and in The Synergist Weekly e-newsletter, which is delivered to members every Thursday. We look forward to updating readers about other new NIOSH publications as well as issues of importance to IHs and occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.
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