While some studies have begun to address the problem, more information is needed. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is proposing a survey of hospital- and nursing home-based workers to better identify and prevent WRA among health care workers.
While job exposure matrices based on probability of exposure have been utilized, specific exposures/etiologic agents are not well-characterized and quantitative exposure measurements are unavailable. NIOSH hopes to identify modifiable occupational risk factors for asthma that will lead to prevention strategies.
The proposed survey would involve several thousand New York City area health care workers. The aim of the project is twofold:
- Measure the frequency of asthma onset, related symptoms, and exacerbation of asthma in the selected health care occupations.
- Assess associations between asthma outcomes and exposures to identify modifiable risks.
A survey has been developed to collect information about work history, workplace exposures, and asthma. Respondents would be able to take the survey online or by phone.
Those responding would have one of nine job titles, including certified nursing assistants, central supply, environmental services, licensed practical nurses, lab techs, operating room techs, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and dental assistants. The results would be disseminated to various health care workers, researchers, clinicians, government agencies, and others.
The goal of the research is to make health care workers aware of the hazards in their environment and be more prepared to help create strategies to reduce the risks. Also, medical providers who treat health care workers would be armed with knowledge of how occupational exposures can impact the respiratory health of their patients.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 26, 2012
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