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Archive for August, 2009

Combustion

The following is a digital reproduction of the events leading to the explosion at the BP Refinery in Texas City, Texas. The explosion and fire resulted in the death of fifteen workers and the injury of 170 by flammable gasoline.

This video was produced by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board who have a youtube channel.

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Hospital

As a medical student, I’ve learned that back pain is pervasive and often intractable.  One medical researcher, Audrey Nelson, has put forth tremendous effort to address this health malady in nurses.  According to a recent Washington Post article,

Back injuries have been a major contributor to the nursing shortage, but for decades the efforts to reduce work-related musculoskeletal injuries in hospitals and nursing homes relied mostly on body mechanics classes or training in lifting techniques that proved to be largely unsuccessful.

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Recently, the CDC published stats on the average work-days missed due to illness or injury adjusted by sex, age and group. This data comes from the National Health Interview survey, 2007. You may find the results surprising. Even in the age of technological distraction, Wii still make it to work. The summary findings:

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Did you know a teenage worker dies every ten days?

Since it’s August and many teenagers are pursuing the time-honored pursuit of summer jobs, I thought we should take a look at an archived (2007) EPI article regarding teen work-related injury and deaths. In 2007, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended barring teenagers from construction. While mining, transportation and warehouse jobs have higher rates of fatality; these industries typically do not employ teenagers.

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Occupational Epi unveiled

Dr. Alice Hamilton

Dr. Alice Hamilton

What is occupational epidemiology?

You can certainly find more comprehensive definitions through the links to your right, but, in short, epidemiology is the study of factors affecting illness and health. The “occupational” part situates our inquiry in the context of work.

The mother of Occupational Epidemiology is Dr. Alice Hamilton. Of the many firsts she achieved (like becoming the first woman appointed to faculty at Harvard University), she pioneered a field which continues to benefit the world. Read her amazing story here. There is a video of her story that I will try to unearth.

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Possibly the texting device of choice for motorists.

Possibly the texting device of choice for motorists.

Whether you’re a truck driver or daily commuter, you have probably given thought to whether cell phone use should or should not be permitted while steering a multi-ton vehicle at high speeds. The state of Virginia has been proactive making text messaging illegal for motorists. House Bill (HB) 187, sponsored by Delegate John A. Cosgrove, was signed into law July 1st of this year.

The press release. Warning this links to a pdf – NOT a website.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has been a main proponent of the research and legislation behind HB 187. The VTTI also hosts a few interesting topics on their page including “The 10 Most Dangerous Foods to Eat While Driving.”

Check it out.

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