CDC Implements New Tiered Travel Health Guidance System

May 20, 2004

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented a new system for providing travelers with guidance about potential health hazards and the steps they can take to protect themselves when traveling abroad. The new system makes it easier for the public to understand what their risks may be during an emerging public health crisis and what they can do to protect themselves.

"As we learned during last year's SARS outbreak, infectious diseases can spread quickly as people travel around the globe," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. "This new system allows us to provide travelers with very important, real-time information that will be easy for them to apply to protect their health."

The new system is effective immediately and will replace the previous travel alerts and advisories. Guidance will be posted on the CDC Travelers' Health web site as cases of disease occur and will include four levels:

  • In The News is the lowest level of notice and will provide information about sporadic cases of disease or an occurrence of a disease of public health significance affecting a traveler or travel destination. The risk for an individual traveler does not differ from the usual risk in that area.
  • Outbreak Notice provides information about a disease outbreak in a limited geographic area or setting. The risk to travelers is defined and limited, and the notice will remind travelers about standard or enhanced travel recommendations, such as vaccination.
  • Travel Health Precaution provides specific information to travelers about a disease outbreak of greater scope and over a larger geographic area to reduce the risk of infection. The precaution also provides guidance to travelers about what to do if they become ill while in the area. CDC does not recommend against travel to a specific area, but may recommend limiting exposure to a defined setting, for example, poultry farms or health-care settings.
  • Travel Health Warning recommends against nonessential travel to an area because a disease of public health concern is expanding outside of areas or populations that were initially affected. The purpose of a travel warning is to reduce the volume of traffic to affected areas, limiting the risk of spreading the disease to unaffected areas.

CDC has broad authority under section 301 of the Public Health Service Act  to make information available to the public regarding the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and other impairments of man. CDC endeavors to provide accurate and credible health information and promote health through strong partnerships both at home and abroad.


National Click It or Ticket Crackdown Kicks Off with Overwhelming Public Support

As more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies take to America's roadways for the national Click It or Ticket Mobilization, a new survey shows that 81 percent of the public supports the effort. To amplify the power of the enforcement, $30 million in Congressionally-funded national and state television and radio advertising is aimed at those least likely to buckle up and most likely to die in a crash - teens and young adults.

The Mobilization, which combines strict enforcement of seat belt laws with targeted advertising, has consistently proven effective in increasing belt use, both nationally and at the state level. National belt use among young men and women ages 16-24 moved from 65-72 percent, and 73-80 percent respectively, while belt use in the overall population increased from 75-79 percent.

According to preliminary estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,332 passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-20, died in fatal crashes in 2003, compared to 5,625 in 2002. Teens and young adults are nearly twice as likely to be killed in fatal crashes and three times as likely to be injured in a crash compared to the adult population.

The national survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign in April, 2004. It surveyed 800 voters and has a margin of error of + 3.46 percent. The survey also found that 83 percent of those surveyed had seen, read, or heard about the Click It or Ticket campaign.

The national television ad seen on several major networks features people driving in several regions of the country without their seat belts on. In all cases, they receive a ticket, and then buckle up. The ad will be seen primarily in programs that deliver large audiences of teens and young adults- especially men, including Fear Factor, WWF Smackdown, Major League Baseball, NBA Conference Finals, NASCAR Live, and the Indy 500.

Primary seat belt laws enable law enforcement officers to ticket motorists based solely on an observed seat belt violation, just as they do any other motor vehicle law. According to NHTSA, states that have enacted primary laws on average experienced an 11-percentage point increase in belt use.

During the Mobilization, law enforcement officers will intensify enforcement of seat belt and child passenger safety laws by setting up checkpoints or saturation patrols across the country. Seat belt violators and drivers failing to restrain their child passengers will be ticketed.

The Mobilization is conducted by NHTSA with support from the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign of the National Safety Council, and in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, state highway safety offices, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

OSHA Proposes $133,650 in Fines against Two Employers after Worker Loses Leg in Conveyor

Failure to protect workers at a Model City, N.Y., recycling facility and landfill against a variety of safety hazards has resulted in citations and fines against two companies.

OSHA cited Modern Recycling Inc., which runs the recycling facility, and Modern Landfill, Inc., which runs a landfill at that same address, for alleged violations of safety standards after a Nov. 20, 2003, accident in which a Modern Recycling worker lost his leg when he was caught in the conveyor of a tire-shredding machine.

OSHA's inspection found that the emergency cord that would have immediately stopped the conveyor was broken and that Modern Recycling knew this but had not fixed the cord. In addition, workers were not trained in how to shut off the conveyor, and piles of tires and the limited space surrounding the machinery increased the potential for workers being caught in the conveyor.

Modern Recycling Inc. was fined $63,000 for an alleged willful violation for failing to maintain an operable stop cord for the conveyor. The company was also fined $51,750 for 20 alleged serious violations, including failing to train workers on how to stop the conveyor, poor housekeeping, an inadequate number of emergency exits, defective ladders, no fire extinguisher training, no procedures to prevent the accidental startup of conveyors during maintenance and a variety of machine guarding, electrical and fall hazards. An additional $900 fine was proposed for an alleged other-than-serious violation for failing to record lost workday injuries.

Modern Landfill Inc. faces $18,000 in fines for 10 alleged serious violations after OSHA found employees exposed to hazards posed by unguarded machinery, unsafe electrical equipment, lack of personal protective equipment, defective ladders, missing stairrails and unmarked and uncertified steel chain slings.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA Area Director, and/or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Federal Agencies Launch Effort to Help Teen Workers Stay Safe and Healthy on the Job this Summer

Millions of American teens are preparing to enter the workforce this summer doing a variety of jobs that will teach them valuable skills. While most will earn extra money and gain valuable work experience, many risk being seriously or even fatally injured on the job.

Eighty percent of U.S. teenagers work during their high school years. In 2001, 45,000 teens were injured at work, and 175 died as a result of an on the job injury.

To address this challenge, numerous federal agencies, collectively known as the Federal Network for Young Worker Safety and Health (FedNet) have joined together to educate teens, their parents, counselors and employers on how young people can stay safe on the job.

It provides teen worker safety and health materials in English and Spanish. Topics covered include safe driving, lawn care, life guarding, farm work, construction, parks and recreation and restaurants.

There are five basic things teens can do to help reduce the risk of injuries and illnesses:

  1. Talk to their employer;
  2. Know their workplace rights;
  3. Stay alert and work safe;
  4. Get safety and health training; and
  5. Find and follow practical safety tips like those found on FedNet's website.

The nine FedNet agencies committed to coordinating their efforts to help reduce work-related injuries and illnesses among teen-age workers include the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Education, Health & Human Services, Interior, Labor, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

If you are hiring teens for the summer, remember Environmental Resource Center can provide all recommended and required safety and environmental training. Contact us at 800-537-2372 for information on training at your site or in a city near you.