User login

Please log in using your Environmental Health computer login. For help, please call 513-558-1040.

Follow UC_ERC on Twitter

ERC Logo

Interdisciplinary trip - Cincinnati highlights on February 21, 2014

On Friday, February 21st, 2014, students from the Education and Research Center (ERC) visited three locations NIOSH (Columbia Parkway), River Metals Recycling, and Cincinnati Fire Museaum


Submitted by Sarah Gamble, RN, BSN and Janie Allen-Blue, RN, BS

The interdisciplinary group included students from the Occupational Health Nursing and Industrial Hygiene programs. The NIOSH location on the east side of Cincinnati is called the Division of Applied Research and Technology (DART). We learned about current research endeavors.  Thomas Connor, PhD, and Barbara A. Mackenzie presented “Preventing Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings.” They focused on hazardous drugs, specifically anti-neoplastic drugs (cancer fighting drugs), and exposures in the healthcare setting.  

Claire Caruso, PhD, a research scientist, focuses on the hazards in the workplace that are linked to inadequate sleep. Dr. Caruso’s research included nurses whose jobs include shift rotations, night work, and extended shifts.  We also received information about the Total Worker Health program (TWH) integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and the advancement of health and well-being (Caruso, Robison, Charles, 2013).  Workplace violence and bullying has really come to the forefront.  Bullying in the workplace has been around for a long time, but we are now compelled to do something about it since realizing that bullying has stressful and psychological implications. I believe that employers have a responsibility to protect all employees from bullying and that employees should have the ability to submit a complaint without repercussions. In terms of violence in the workplace, well I believe every employer should have a NO TOLERANCE policy.

Tracy Galinsky, PhD, and Captain, U.S Public Health Service, discussed safe patient handling, associated risk factors, and preventative interventions. According to Dr. Galinsky, providing education to healthcare workers about safe patient handling is crucial to prevent work related strains and sprains.  It was interesting to learn about lifting hazards for pregnant women in the workplace. While one might understand that lifting is hazardous, having an understanding of the hazards of prolonged standing, bending at the waist and squatting is important. If organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medication (ACOEM) do not have guidance on lifting then it’s no wonder that employers and employees are uneducated in regard to the hazards for pregnant women.

Dr. Jerry Smith and Debbie Sammons provided a demonstration of their work with Rapid Methamphetamine Detection equipment. This technology is in use by law enforcement and other agencies to provide these groups the ability to rapidly detect Methamphetamines.  This equipment helps to identify possible methamphetamine labs and highly toxic and flammable cooking sites. The detection equipment will help to keep workers safe.

In many industrial settings, hearing protection is vital to ensuring employees have a safe work environment. I enjoyed observing the hearing protection device labs at NIOSH.  It’s amazing to see today’s technology in hearing protection. Hearing is such a sensitive sense and many of us don’t realize the things we do that jeopardize our hearing.

River Metals Recycling

Submitted by: Ryan Peck

Our second stop along the trip was at River Metals Recycling, in Newport, Kentucky.  We were introduced to the facility by safety manager Brent Charlton and vice president of operations Steve Winters.  The Newport facility employs nearly 40 workers, with around 25 workers on-site at any given time during operating hours.  Normally the facility is in operation for 5 ½ days per week, (Monday-Friday and Saturday mornings) but can increase hours as needed during peak times.  This location purchases and sells both ferrous (metal that sticks to a magnet; ex. vehicles, iron, steel) and non-ferrous (ex. aluminum, copper, brass) scrap.   During normal operation, the plant is able to shred roughly 120 tons (240,000 lbs.) of material per hour.  Most of the processed material is transported to purchasing clients on barges that travel along the adjacent Licking River as well as the nearby Ohio River.  These barges carry an average load of around 1,300 tons (2,600,000 lbs.).  River Metals goes above and beyond many similar companies by providing its clients with metallurgy reports of all recycled materials shipped out, saving the clients from performing the metallurgy testing. 

The work environment at River Metals Recycling is very safety-conscious. At the time of our visit, the plant had an impressive 186 days without injury.   As a result of their safety efforts, this facility was given the SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) distinction by OSHA.  This status is only given to companies who have shown to operate an exceptional injury and illness prevention program. River Metals is the only recycling plant in all of Kentucky with this recognition. Through the tour we were able to see the whole operation of the facility from where the materials are initially dropped off by the public to where the final recycled materials are shipped out.  For a recycling plant with so many moving parts and changing environments, it operates with great precision and efficiency.  It was certainly an eye opening experience to see how a well-run, safety conscious facility like this operates.


Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati

Submitted by: Jean Schechtman, RN, BSN, COHN-S

The last stop was the Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati.  Cincinnati has played a large part in the history of firefighting.  The first firefighters were citizens trying to stop the destruction of property.  They designed wooden buckets that could be passed from person to person filled with water, then threw the water on the fire.  Although many people assisted in putting out the fire, not much of the water reached the fire.  Pumpers were designed and used in Cincinnati, by 1853 the first successful steam fire engine was invented.  On April 1, 1853, Cincinnati established the first professional and fully paid fire department in the U.S. Cincinnati continued to contribute to the development of firefighting equipment, in 1913 the Ahrens-Fox fire engines were some of the most famous fire engines in the world. The museum has many examples of fire trucks, engines and pumpers.  One of the pumpers was donated by the Aurora, Indiana fire department. I work with a current member of the Aurora Fire Department and I was interested in seeing this pumper. I took a photograph of the pumper to share with my co-worker.  We ended the day by climbing into a fire truck with open sides. We had a group picture taken as we pretended we were firefighters in control of a fire.