January 21, 2004


Table of Contents

Come See the Miami Heat Play the LA Clippers

AAA MMTS Efforts on Ambulance Safety Continue to Make the News

OSHA Delays Enforcement of Respiratory Protection Rule Provisions on TB

January 13, 2004 Issue of DHS Today




Come See the Miami Heat Play the LA Clippers

If you're planning to attend the AAA Winter Healthcare Reimbursement and Human Resources Conference in Miami next week, don't miss the AMBUPAC event to see the Miami Heat play the LA Clippers.

As part of the event, you will receive:

The event is on Friday, January 30, 2004 with buses leaving the hotel at 6:30 p.m. with the game starting at 7:30 p.m. The price per ticket is $150.00 and all proceeds go to the American Ambulance Association Political Action Committee (AMBUPAC). To register for the event, please complete the attached form and fax it to Tristan North of the AAA at (703) 610-9005. If you have any questions about the event, please do not hesitate to call Tristan at 1-800-523-4447.

Special thanks to Bob Garner of American Medical Response for hosting the event for AMBUPAC and to Jim McPartlon of Mohawk Ambulance Service and Larry Anderson of LifeCare Ambulance Service for donating the gift certificates.



AAA MMTS Efforts on Ambulance Safety Continue to Make the News

The efforts of the AAA Mobile Medical and Transport Safety (MMTS) Subcommittee were reported in a January featured article of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. The text of the article is provided below. If you have any questions regarding the MMTS Subcommittee or its efforts, please contact Subcommittee Chair Larry Wiersch by e-mail at [email protected] or AAA Vice President of Government Affairs Tristan North at [email protected] or phone at 1-800-523-4447.

January Featured Article - Journal of Emergency Medical Services

Ambulance Safety Becomes a Priority

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's EMS division will convene a national meeting in 2004 to help coordinate the efforts of various organizations and individuals working on projects related to ambulance safety.

"The reason for convening this group will be to find out where we are and where we need to go," said NHTSA EMS Chief Drew Dawson. He said a report should come from the meeting with recommendations for further work. NHTSA had not set a date for the meeting.

NHTSA EMS Specialist Dave Bryson announced the meeting at a Nov. 13, 2003, ambulance symposium convened by the American Ambulance Association's Mobile Medical Transportation Safety (MMTS). Some 20 people working on various aspects of ambulance safety attended that meeting, including representatives from several federal agencies, ambulance manufacturers, safety engineers, ambulance services and insurance companies.

"Many of us are doing the same thing, and we need to bring this all together and identify which role each group should take so we don't repeat the same work," said Larry Wiersch, chair of the AAA Professional Standards Committee and executive director of Cetronia Ambulance Corps, Allentown, Pa.

After several presentations, participants broke into subgroups focused on human factors (e.g., driver training, shift length and distractions), systems technology (e.g., EMS programs and vehicle monitoring systems) and vehicle factors (e.g., ambulance design and restraint systems for patient compartments). Each group listed short-, medium- and long-term goals and developed work plans to achieve those goals.

"Each subgroup will meet via conference calls to come up with implementation plans. Then I hope to reconvene the larger group via a conference call in late January," Wiersch said.

Fire and law enforcement organizations will be invited to participate in the teleconference this month. "During the [November] meeting, we became aware we need to expand beyond EMS and include fire and police in the group," Wiersch said. "This isn't just about ambulance safety; it's about first response safety."

EMS organizations began working on ambulance safety in 2002 after horrific videos of the first ambulance crash tests showed what happens inside a patient compartment during a crash.

Nadine Levick, MD, an emergency physician at Columbia University solicited used ambulances and had them crashed by safety engineers. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health picked up on Levick's work and recently began ambulance crash tests.

In 2002, the AAA's Professional Standard Committee established the MMTS subcommittee. The Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS) founded an Ambulance Safety Subcommittee, which held its first meeting in September 2002. And the U.S. Fire Administration and the Department of Transportation launched a joint Fire Service Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative, with the goal of changing behavior and supporting the development of technology to mitigate emergency vehicle crashes and save lives. The final report on that initiative should be released early this year.

A series of articles in the Detroit News in January 2003 created impetus for those efforts, alerting the public that ambulance crashes result in some 6,500 serious injuries or deaths in the United States each year.

Nancy Romano, a safety and occupational health specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chairs the FICEMS Ambulance Safety Subcommittee. She encourages anyone interested in the topic to participate in the group's quarterly meetings, either by coming to Emmitsburg, Md., or by teleconference.

The next Ambulance Safety Subcommittee meeting will be March 4 at 9 a.m. EST, before the quarterly FICEMS meeting at 10:30 a.m. Both meetings are open to the public.

For more information on FICEMS and the Ambulance Subcommittee (including information on how to attend meetings via teleconference), click here. Contact Nancy Romano at [email protected].

For more information or to volunteer to work with the AAA Mobile Medical Transportation Safety committee, contact Larry Wiersch at [email protected].




OSHA Delays Enforcement of Respiratory Protection Rule Provisions on TB

OSHA Trade Release
January 14, 2004
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999

OSHA Delays Enforcement of Respiratory Protection Rule Provisions
Six month phase-in covers workers with potential exposure to tuberculosis

WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced today that it will delay until July 1, 2004, enforcing several provisions of the respiratory protection standard for establishments required to provide respirators for protection from potential exposure to tuberculosis.

The announcement of the six-month period to allow affected employers to come into compliance with the additional requirements, follows OSHA's withdrawal last month of its 1997 proposal on tuberculosis and the revocation of a separate respiratory protection standard for workers exposed to TB.

"Requirements such as annual fit testing and medical evaluations for covered employees may be new for some employers," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "We want to make sure they are aware of these new requirements and give them every opportunity to be able to successfully come into compliance."

With the withdrawal of the TB rule, OSHA announced it would begin applying the general industry respiratory protection standard for protection against the disease. This rule includes several requirements which were not as detailed in the revoked rule, such as updating the facility's respirator program, medical evaluation requirements, annual fit testing of respirators, and some training and recordkeeping provisions. During this six month period, OSHA will not cite these new requirements for establishments with workers exposed only to tuberculosis. All elements of the revoked rule continue to be enforced under the corresponding elements of the current respiratory protection standard.

To meet the requirements of the agency's respiratory protection standard, employers will need to revise their respiratory protection program, conduct annual respiratory fit testing, and perform a medical evaluation and annual training for employees using respirators.

This announcement does not affect establishments already covered under the respiratory protection rule where there is exposure to hazardous substances other than tuberculosis. All provisions of the rule will continue to be applied to those employers.

OSHA is dedicated to assuring worker safety and health. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.


January 13, 2004 Issue of DHS Today

Attached as a Microsoft Word file, is the most recent issue of DHS Today which is a weekly publication by the Department of Homeland Security of their news, press releases and events.