Outreach

Providing Service to the Community

The Southern California Education and Research Center goes beyond training our graduate students, residents, and working professionals. We provide a wide variety of services to the community. Each academic department, as well as the Outreach Program itself, delivers assistance in many ways.

Through the years, the Outreach Program has conducted extensive activities that benefit the professional occupational safety and health community as well as the broader population. Examples of these activities demonstrate the wide-ranging scope and impact of the program:

Short Occupational Health Videos

Immigrant Occupational Health Video

Ergo Occupational Health Video

Mechanic Occupational Health Video

Painter Occupational Health Video

Center-wide Administration:

In 2012/13 alone The ERC co-sponsored four OH conferences – American Occupational Health Conference in Los Angeles; Occupational Neurology in San Francisco; Arizona Safety and Health Symposium; APA/ NIOSH in Los Angeles.

Dr. Krause provided an invited introductory presentation at a public hearing of Cal/OSHA’s Standard Setting Board.

Dr. Krause works in collaboration with Culinary Workers Union Local 226, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and the Chinese Progressive Association on research affecting hotel housekeepers and restaurant workers.

The Occupational Medicine Program:

Offers a monthly CME Grand Round for occupational health physicians and nurses in Orange County.

The faculty provide outreach talks on a range of occupational and environmental health topics to labor organizations and community groups (e.g. the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islanders Community Alliance, and Latino Health Access).

Faculty are active members of national and regional occupational and environmental medicine societies. Dr. Baker was the past-president of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology; Dr. Kleinman is Chair of the State of California Scientific Review Panel for Toxic Substances

The Industrial Hygiene Program:

Provides presentations and invited talks at conferences nationally and internationally by faculty including California Air Resources Board, Chinese Consulate General, Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, American Industrial Hygiene Conference (every year).

Is regularly covered by media locally and nationally on topics such as research findings on school bus filtration systems

Partners with BSI Group, Inc. and Kaiser Permanente to present the EHSsentials Symposium for Environment, Safety and Healthcare.

The Occupational and Environmental Nursing Program:

Dr. Thomas supervised students who provided health screening to attendees at a Construction and Building Trades Union convention with 400 attendees.

The Program is serving as ongoing consultant to workplace injury prevention project for JDSU Corporation, working with an OHN and professional trainer in providing literature review, logistic support to program development, statistical analysis, presentation development for internal and external dissemination, and writing for publication of successful program outcomes.

Faculty and students serve as officers in professional associations. Dr. Robbins is President-Elect of the California State Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

Dr. Robbins serves on the Consultant Panel of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The Outreach Office:

Offers a video on the website, “Preventing Injury and Illness for Service Workers.”

Conducted training under a grant from Advanced Sterilization Products for 180 occupational health and safety professionals and workers in health care facilities; trained 132 in a series of 1 1/2-2 hour webinars on the topic “2012 Revised HazCom: What It Means for Healthcare Workers and Facilities.”

Hosts the bibliography/research database for the NORA Service Sector Accommodations subgroup.

Provided BRN contact hours for a session on “Managing Complex ADA/FMLA Cases” at a meeting of the Arizona Valle del Sol Chapter of the American Association of Occupational Health. (a, b, c, e)

Submitted a grant proposal in collaboration with Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP to provide workplace safety training to hundreds of farmworkers who speak only their native language, Mixtec or Zapotec.

Future Plans

The SCERC plans to place an increased emphasis on Outreach in the coming years. There are several initiatives that will be implemented in achievable stages. Some of the initiatives rely heavily on the participation of members of the SCERC Advisory Board and program advisory committees.

Follow-up Webinars

Academic programs will offer a webinar to program alumni and others to discuss workplace health and safety issues in the form of case studies that have arisen at their workplaces. Each webinar will be moderated by a faculty member or member of a SCERC advisory committee. The Industrial Hygiene program would take the lead on this activity because participants from medicine and nursing are constrained by HIPAA from discussing cases, even anonymously. This activity would benefit employers of the alumni by providing suggestions for improved practices, controls, etc.

Consultation Services

Programs will offer organizations and businesses in minority communities or with minority owners or leadership brief consultations on their IIPP or other workplace practices. Since this is a brief commitment, the topic would probably be limited to, e.g., is the ventilation system adequate, do they need a medical surveillance program, do they have slip, trip and fall hazards they may be aware of?

Members of the SCERC Advisory Board and committee members, most of whom are practicing professionals, would mentor the participating students, under faculty supervision. Second year students and PhD candidates, either individually or in interdisciplinary groups of two or three would spend part of a day at a business, write a report on their findings, discuss the report with the mentor and faculty supervisor and report back to the business on what they found and suggestions for improvements.

Consultation Services – Workplace Stress Reduction

This option is a more thorough concept for implementing b., specifically designed around Workplace Stress. The goal would be to develop an occupational total worker health practice internship training program in collaboration with the Center for Social Epidemiology led by Dr. Peter Schnall for ERC-supported students to be able to go to businesses and offer to conduct a workplace health survey/screening about psychosocial stressors and health outcomes such as obesity/high blood pressures, etc.

The workplace evaluation would use survey instruments to assess psychosocial stressors and psychological health outcomes and might also include assessment of physical health outcomes such as weight or blood pressure. The collected data would be entered into a computer software program, analyzed and a report prepared for the worksite with recommendations for workplace interventions that would also provide tools for employees and managers for dealing with stressors.

Newsletter

The Center intends to develop an online newsletter that includes new research findings and aggregates articles on occupational health and safety and provides links to additional resources.

Weekly Updates: Employer’s Corner Webinars

Register for the free live webinars here.

Spanish: Personal Protective Equipment During COVID-19 – 5/22/20

Personal Protective Equipment, Part 1 – 4/1/20

Personal Protective Equipment, Part 2 – 4/2/20

Managing Safety in an Outpatient Setting During COVID-19 – 4/22/20

Podcast

Dr. Alya Khan moderates a podcast series for the Western Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association (WOEMA) on COVID 19.

June 2, 2020:
Skin Eruptions Associated with COVID-19 Infection and Prevention. An interview with Dr. Heather Lampel.

May 29, 2020:
COVID-19: Perspectives from Infectious Disease and Epidemiology. An interview with Dr. Shruti Gohil.

May 7, 2020:
ACOEM Getting Back to Work. An interview with Dr. Tanisha Taylor.

May 7, 2020:
Cal/OSHA Guidance for Employees and Workplace Safety during COVID 19. An interview with Dr. Paul Papanek.

April 25, 2020:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Decontamination. An interview with Dr. Sheri Belafsky and Dr. David Rempel.

April 21, 2020:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Prioritization. An interview with Professor Dr. Philip Harber.

April 9, 2020:
COVID 19 Serologic Testing: What We Know and What We Need to Know. An interview with pathologist, Dr. Kirstine Oh.

Cleaning Workers Research Database

(updated 1-23-14)
NORA Services Sector
Accommodations Subgroup

Alamgir H, Yu S [2008]. Epidemiology of occupational injury among cleaners in the healthcare sector. Occup Med 58(6):393–399.

Abstract: BACKGROUND: The cleaning profession has been associated with multiple ergonomic and chemical hazards which elevate the risk for occupational injury. AIMS: This study investigated the epidemiology of occupational injury among cleaners in healthcare work settings in the Canadian province of British Columbia. METHODS: Incidents of occupational injury among cleaners, resulting in lost time from work or medical care, over a period of 1 year in two healthcare regions were extracted from a standardized operational database and with person-years obtained from payroll data. Detailed analysis was conducted using Poisson regression modeling. RESULTS: A total of 145 injuries were identified among cleaners, with an annual incidence rate of 32.1 per 100 person-years. After adjustment for age, gender, subsector, facility, experience and employment status, Poisson regression models demonstrated that a significantly higher relative risk (RR) of all injury, musculoskeletal injury and cuts was associated with cleaning work in acute care facilities, compared with long-term care facilities. Female cleaners were at a higher RR of all injuries and contusions than male cleaners. A lower risk of all injury and allergy and irritation incidents among part-time or casual workers was found. Cleaners with >10 years of experience were at significantly lower risk for all injury, contusion and allergy and irritation incidents. CONCLUSION: Cleaners were found to be at an elevated risk of all injury categories compared with healthcare workers in general.

CATEGORIES: HOSPITAL WORKERS; INJURIES; MSDs; DERMAL; RESPIRATORY

 

Arif AA, Delclos GL, Whitehead LW, Tortolero SR, Lee ES [2003]. Occupational exposures associated with work-related asthma and work-related wheezing among U.S. workers. Am J Ind Med 44(4):368–376.

Abstract: National estimates of occupational asthma (OA) in the United States are sparse. Using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) 1988-1994, associations between occupation and work-related asthma and work-related wheezing among U.S. workers were analyzed. This study identified several occupations that were at risk of developing work-related asthma and/or wheezing, with cleaners and equipment cleaners showing the highest risks. Other major occupations identified were farm and agriculture; entertainment; protective services; construction; mechanics and repairers; textile; fabricators and assemblers; other transportation and material moving occupations; freight, stock, and material movers; and motor vehicle operators. The population attributable risks for work-related asthma and work-related wheezing were 26% and 27%, respectively. This study adds evidence to the literature that identifies work-related asthma as an important public health problem. Several occupations are targeted for additional evaluation and study. Of particular interest are cleaners, which are being increasingly reported as a risk group for asthma. Future intervention strategies need to be developed for effective control and prevention of asthma in the workplace.

CATEGORIES: RESPIRATORY

 

Arif AA, Hughes PC, Delclos GL [2008]. Occupational exposures among domestic and industrial professional cleaners. Occup Med (London) 58(7):458–463.

Abstract. Background: Despite being a large part of the workforce, cleaners remain a relatively understudied occupational group in the USA. Aims: The aims of this focus group study were to identify and characterize occupational exposures, symptoms and job tasks among domestic and industrial professional cleaners. Methods: Twelve focus group sessions were conducted in Lubbock, TX, and Houston, TX. Participants were asked about their job tasks, type of products they use to clean, bodily symptoms, job training and work environment. Results: Out of 99 attendees, 79 domestic and industrial cleaners participated actively in the focus group sessions. Three general themes emerged regarding cleaning professionals’ work experiences: (i) job training, (ii) chemical exposure and use and (iii) competence. Domestic cleaners demonstrated significant skills deficit across each of these three themes as compared to industrial cleanersDomestic cleaners reported more frequent exposure to respiratory irritants and sensitizers and also reported adverse respiratory symptoms as compared to industrial cleaners. Conclusions: The results from this qualitative study are consistent with earlier findings from quantitative studies placing domestic cleaners at risk of exposure to chemicals that are respiratory irritants and/or sensitizers.

CATEGORIES: DOMESTIC WORKERS; INDUSTRIAL WORKERS

Bello A, Quinn MM, Milton DK, Perry MJ [2013]. Determinants of exposure to 2-butoxyethanol from cleaning tasks: a quasi-experimental study. Ann Occup Hyg. 57(1):125‒135.

Abstract. BACKGROUND: The quantitative assessment of airborne cleaning exposures requires numerous measurement methods, which are costly and difficult to apply in the workplace. Exposure determinants can be used to predict exposures but have yet to be investigated for cleaning activities. We identified determinants of exposure to 2-butoxyethanol (2-BE), a known respiratory irritant and suspected human carcinogen, commonly found in cleaning products. In addition, we investigated whether 2-BE exposures can be predicted from exposure determinants and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) measured with direct reading methods, which are easier to apply in field investigations. METHODS: Exposure determinants were studied in a quasi-experimental study design. Cleaning tasks were performed similarly as in the workplace, but potential factors that can impact exposures were controlled. Simultaneously for each task, we measured concentrations of (1) 2-BE according to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety 1430 method and (2) TVOC with photoionization detectors (PIDs). Simple and multiple linear regression analyses were performed to identify 2-BE exposure determinants and to develop exposure prediction models. RESULTS: Significant determinants from univariate analyses consisted of product type, tasks performed, room volume, and ventilation. The best-fit multivariable model was the one comprised of product type, tasks performed, 2-BE product concentration, room volume, and ventilation (R(2) = 77%). We found a strong correlation between the 2-BE and the TVOC concentrations recorded by the PID instruments. A multivariable model with TVOC explained a significant portion of the 2-BE concentrations (R(2) = 72%) when product type and room ventilation were included in the model.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that quantitative exposure assessment for an epidemiologic investigation of cleaning health effects may be feasible even without performing integrated sampling and analytic measurements.

CATEGORIES: CANCER; CHEMICAL HAZARDS; RESPIRATORY

Colt JS, Karagas MR, Schwenn M, Baris D, Johnson A, Stewart P, Verrill C, Moore LE, Lubin J, Ward MH, Samanic C, Rothman N, Cantor KP, Beane Freeman LE, Schned A, Cherala S, Silverman DT [2011]. Occupation and bladder cancer in a population-based case-control study in Northern New England. Occup Environ Med 68(4):239‒249. 

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: We used data from a large, population-based case-control study in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont to examine relationships between occupation, industry and bladder cancer risk. METHODS: Lifetime occupational histories were obtained by personal interview from 1158 patients newly diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma of the bladder in 2001-2004, and from 1402 population controls. Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate ORs and 95% CIs, adjusted for demographic factors, smoking and employment in other high-risk occupations. RESULTS: Male precision metalworkers and metalworking/plasticworking machine operators had significantly elevated risks and significant trends in risk with duration of employment (precision metalworkers: OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.4 to 3.4, p(trend) = 0.0065; metalworking/plasticworking machine operators: OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.6, p(trend) = 0.047). Other occupations/industries for which risk increased significantly with duration of employment included: for men, textile machine operators, mechanics/repairers, automobile mechanics, plumbers, computer systems analysts, information clerks, and landscape industry workers; for women, service occupations, health services, cleaning and building services, management-related occupations, electronic components manufacturing and transportation equipment manufacturing. Men reporting use of metalworking fluids (MWF) had a significantly elevated bladder cancer risk (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.5). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the hypothesis that some component(s) of MWF may be carcinogenic to the bladder. Our results also corroborate many other previously reported associations between bladder cancer risk and various occupations. More detailed analyses using information from the study’s job-specific questionnaires may help to identify MWF components that may be carcinogenic, and other bladder carcinogens associated with a variety of occupations.

CATEGORIES: CANCER; CUSTODIAL WORKERS

 

Zheng T, Cantor KP, Zhang Y, Lynch CF [2002]. Occupation and bladder cancer: a population-based, case-control study in Iowa. J Occup Environ Med 44(7):685–691.

Abstract: While considerable efforts have been made to investigate the role of occupation and industry in the risk of bladder cancer, many reported associations have not been consistent, and strong evidence of increased risk is apparent for few occupational groups. To further examine the issue, a large, population-based, case-control study was conducted in the state of Iowa among both men and women. A total of 1452 incident bladder cancer cases and 2434 controls were included in the study. Occupational history was collected from respondents for each job held for 5 years or longer since age 16. Among men, excess risk was observed for industries including plumbing, heating, and air conditioning (odds ratio [OR], = 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 5.0); rubber and plastic products (OR = 3.1; 95% CI, 1.2 to 8.5), motor vehicle parts and supplies (OR = 4.5; 95% CI, 1.2 to 16.5), and occupations including supervisors for transportation and material moving (OR = 6.5; 95% CI, 1.4 to 29.9), material-moving-equipment operators (OR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.0 to 3.6), automobile mechanics (OR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0 to 2.6), painters (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 1.0 to 7.7), and metal- and plastic-working machine operators (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.4). Among women, significant excess risk was observed for secondary school teachers and record clerks. Housekeepers and butlers and workers in laundering and dry cleaning were also at increased risk. In conclusion, these results suggest that occupational exposures may play a significant role in the risk of bladder cancer.

CATEGORIES: CANCER; DOMESTIC WORKERS