NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Office
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NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Office

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      The Emergency Preparedness and Response Office integrates occupational safety and health into emergency responses and during planning to protect response and recovery workers. This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming work. What are our priorities? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Emergency Preparedness and Response Office (EPRO) prepares for and responds to chemical, biological, radiological, and natural events. The program integrates occupational safety and health into responses to protect response and recovery workers with the help of partners from industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, academia, and other federal agencies. What do we do? 1. Manage policy, legislation, science, and program activities associated with worker safety and health during emergency responses and for emergency preparedness activities at NIOSH. 2. Support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) emergency response efforts: a. Contribute to the development of response plans, b. Staff the Worker Safety and Health Team within the CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC), c. Coordinate with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration through the National Response Framework Worker Safety and Health Annex, and, d. Participate in emergency preparedness and response training activities and exercises. 3. Participate in response planning activities at the local, state, national, and international levels to ensure the timely identification of health hazards associated with emergency responses and implementation of adequate protection measures to protect the health and safety of responders. 4. Use the Disaster Science Responder Research Program to improve and encourage the scientific study of response workers during emergencies. 5. Support efforts to select and safely deploy staff and coordinate technical assistance from NIOSH during emergencies. What have we accomplished? 1. Led the Worker Safety and Health Team as part of the Medical Care Task Force in the CDC's EOC during the 2014-2015 Ebola response. 2. Published 9 interim guidance documents, 8 factsheets, 2 training modules, and 10 communication products that contained recommendations and information to protect workers during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic. 3. Provided worker safety and health expertise to numerous employers, employees, unions, international aid organizations, and government agencies through guidance documents, direct consultation, webinars, hospital assessments, trainings, and weekly stakeholder calls. 4. Coordinated 207 NIOSH staff supporting the Ebola response, including staff deployed domestically to 21 states and internationally to 5 countries. 5. Through EPRO's input, the EOC prioritized CDC responder health and safety during the 2014-2015 Ebola Response, which led to the creation of the Safety Officer role in West African countries and the Disaster Risk Mitigation Unit which is now responsible for protecting deployed CDC responders. 6. Established a Disaster Science Responder Research Program steering committee and developed a strategic roadmap for the program. What's next? 1. Publish: a. A training video to support the Ebola funeral and mortuary workers guidance. b. Guidance to protect flight crew from disease on commercial aircraft. c. Anthrax sample collection procedures in the NIOSH Manual of Analytic Methods. 2. Release the first public version of Emergency Responder Health Monitoring Surveillance (ERHMS) Info Manager software and accompanying training documents. 3. Conduct 3 in person trainings on ERHMS. 4. Fund 2 pilot/feasibility studies as part of the Disaster Science Responder Research Program. 5. Participate in: a. 4 CDC exercises for all-hazards preparedness including: chemical, pandemic influenza, hurricane, and a city without water. b. 1 Department of Homeland Security operational test demonstration jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency. NIOSHTIC No 20048117
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