227975 Methods and results of a New Hampshire study of unintended, workplace chemical exposures: Subsequent strategies for surveillance-based prevention using poison center information

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

David Skinner, MA, MBA , Dept. of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Lowell, MA
Karla R. Armenti, ScD , New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Concord, NH
Melissa Heinen, RN, MPH , Salus Consulting, LLC, Minneapolis, MN
Background: New Hampshire, and recently Maine, studied poison center call information to determine potential causes of unintended, mainly acute, workplace chemical exposures. Study results included identification of a wide variety of chemical exposures, event circumstances, and opportunities for prevention. Now, interest exists in implementing results with surveillance-based prevention. Methods: Both studies used mainly qualitative analyses of call records to the Northern New England Poison Center (NNEPC). Methodology for extracting information from narrative descriptions had transparency, consistency, and reproducibility. (This methodology can help other states gain study validity.) Based on results, recommendations were formed for safer workplace chemical practice. Results: Similarity of results existed between the New Hampshire and Maine studies. However, both study periods were short; and workplace chemical substance use changes over time. Further, results from two states may not capture all chemical substances and exposure circumstance. Hence, other states may benefit from performing similar studies, and converting their results into ongoing surveillance-based prevention. Conclusions: Strategies are needed to transform study results into ongoing surveillance-based prevention. As more states engage in this activity, a more complete national picture of chemicals in the workplace will emerge. This understanding will help reduce a potentially serious type of workplace injury.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 1) describe circumstances of unintended, workplace chemical exposures; 2) discuss workplace, chemical-substance surveillance; and 3) define how surveillance can translate into preventive action.

Keywords: Surveillance, Workplace Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have done previous health-related studies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.