NIOSH Publishes Updated NORA Public Safety Agenda

Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic diseases are the first recommendation because stress is such a big factor affecting public safety workers' health, it says. Sudden cardiac events are responsible for 7 to 22 percent of on-duty deaths among police officers, 17 percent among wildland firefighters, and 11 percent among EMS workers, it says.

NIOSH published a newly updated National Occupational Research Agenda for Public Safety in the Federal Register on April 12, asking for public and stakeholder comments on it by June 11. "The purpose of public comment is to gather input from stakeholders who are not on the Public Safety Sector Council. Since this is a research agenda for the nation, we want as broad input as possible," the agency's leaders in this initiative noted in an email announcing it.

The names included in the email were Maryann D'Alessandro, Ph.D., Public Safety Program Manager; Bill Haskell, M.S., Public Safety Co-Coordinator and NORA Council Co-Chair; Dr. Jeffrey Burgess, M.D., NORA Council Co-chair; Corey Butler, M.S., Public Safety Co-Coordinator; and Andrew Palmiero, M.S., Public Safety Assistant Coordinator.

This NORA Public Safety Agenda lists eight recommendations:

  • Reduce cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases
  • Reduce infectious disease transmission
  • Reduce musculoskeletal disorders
  • Reduce motor vehicle injuries
  • Reduce workplace violence
  • Promote healthy work design and well-being
  • Increase surveillance
  • Increase resilience and preparedness

The agenda explains why each of these is important. For musculoskeletal disorders, for example, it explains that they are often the most commonly reported work-related injuries among public safety workers. EMTs and paramedics reported the highest incidence of MSDs, at 184 per 10,000 full-time workers, and firefighters reported a rate of 179 per 10,000 full-time workers, according to BLS data cited in the agenda.

Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic diseases are the first recommendation because stress is such a big factor affecting public safety workers' health, it says. Sudden cardiac events are responsible for 7 to 22 percent of on-duty deaths among police officers, 17 percent among wildland firefighters, and 11 percent among EMS workers, it says.

To comment, go to www.regulations.gov and enter CDC-2018-0033 in the search bar.

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