Putting Together the Big Picture for the World Trade Center Disaster Investigation

Imagine conducting root cause analysis for an incident that required review of 14,000 photographs. Organizing those photos to create a picture of what happened on 9/11 was the daunting task assigned to a team from the NIST Fire Research Division. Kathryn Butler offers a first-hand account of their efforts. Photo Credit: N. Hanacek/NIST

Imagine assembling a jigsaw puzzle of more than 14,000 pieces without an image on the box showing what the final picture will look like. Imagine that important pieces were missing and needed to be searched for. And imagine that this puzzle was four-dimensional, involving time as well as space.

This was the task for our small dedicated team in the wake of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster on Sept. 11, 2001. In the weeks following the disaster, my colleagues in the Fire Research Division and I started to think about how we might assemble the story … Read more...

CDC: Largest Annual Increase in Drug Overdoses in 50 Years

Provisional drug overdose data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the United States experienced the largest annual increase in deaths reported from overdoses in at least 50 years. If you think workplaces are not impacted by this staggering increase, think again.

Nearly 21 million Americans are living with a substance use disorder (SUD), and 70 percent of them are employed, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). It’s likely that almost every workplace employees one or more employees who are living with a SUD or who are in recovery.

Employers spend an average of $8,817 annually on each employee with an untreated SUD, according to research gathered by NSC and NORC at the University of Chicago. However, each employee who successfully recovers from an SUD can save their employer as much as $8,500, due to utilizing less health care services, missing fewer workdays related … Read more...