Archive for NIOSH

The Effectiveness of DIY Air Filtration Units

  Portable air filtration units, or air cleaners, remove airborne particles (called aerosols) from the air indoors. Air filtration units were widely used during large wildfire outbreaks in the western United States,[1] and their use surged nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to reduce exposure to aerosols containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Homemade or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) air filtration units are an alternative to commercially produced products that can be made from supplies available Read more [...]

Oil and Gas Workers Count

  Energy has been in the news lately. Amid the discussions about energy prices and climate change, there has been far less media attention on the people who do hazardous work extracting the oil and gas so many of us use to stay warm and get where we need to go. These workers and the companies they work for are part of a global energy market that changes quickly. At the most recent meeting of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Oil and Gas Extraction Sector Council, health and safety Read more [...]

Most-viewed NIOSH Products of 2022

  As we look forward to 2023, we also are taking a look back at our most-viewed products of 2022. After two years of information focused on COVID-19, 2022 brought a variety of topics that engaged our users including ergonomics, construction, ladder safety, and working in the heat. Below is a summary of the top NIOSH information from 2022, where a surprising twist on lifting safety took social media by storm just a few weeks ago. NIOSH Science Blog The NIOSH Science Blog allows researchers to Read more [...]

Safety Intervention Grant Programs Can Be Effective in Preventing Workplace Injuries

  Workers’ compensation (WC) insurers and other organizations offer grant programs to fund employers to install equipment and other engineering changes to improve workplace safety. Research provides some evidence that these types of programs can be effective in preventing workplace injuries. As a key example, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OHBWC) since 1999 has offered a Safety Intervention Grant (SIG) program where thousands of employers have been provided matching funds Read more [...]

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

  January 9, 2023 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Law enforcement officers (LEO) place their lives and their health and safety at risk while protecting the public. While some of the risks may be obvious, there are many hazards officers face in the line of duty including: motor vehicle incidents, needlestick injuries, noise and lead exposure, shift work and associated fatigue, and workplace stress and exposure to traumatic incidents that may impact mental health. This blog highlights Read more [...]

Researching Risk of Birth Defects Among Children of Male Firefighters

  Over 1.1 million firefighters protect our communities and environment in the United States.1 Firefighters face hazardous conditions and chemicals while on the job, which may have safety and health implications. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation named reproductive health as a priority research topic in 2021. But so far very few studies have evaluated birth defects among the children of firefighters. This may be in part because of the difficulty of studying these rare conditions. Researchers Read more [...]

Staying Safe Up on the Rooftop and in Extreme Temperatures

As Santa prepares to head out for the big night, we have a few last-minute bits of advice to keep him safe in the elements and while working at heights. Fall Prevention With the amount of time Santa spends “up on the rooftop” a review of the NIOSH falls prevention materials is an essential item on his to-do list.  Santa could benefit by participating in a Safety Stand-down for all of his helpers or hosting a tool box talk on roof safety.  It appears that a little Christmas magic Read more [...]

Evaluation of the Characteristics of Workers Injured on the Job Requiring Hospitalization and Employer Compliance with OSHA’s Reporting Requirement for these Work-Related Hospitalizations

  Surveillance data is essential to identify and target prevention for all public health activity. Accurate and timely surveillance data are needed to identify causes of injury and illnesses, monitor prevention activity, plan interventions and evaluate the efficacy of these interventions. Unlike general public health surveillance, employers are a potential source of work-related injuries and illnesses surveillance data. Repeated studies have found that employers’ compliance with occupational Read more [...]

The Availability and Validity of Information on Children Exposed to the 9/11/2001 Disaster

  In 2002, the World Trade Center Health Registry (WTCHR) was established in New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to monitor the health of people directly exposed to the 9/11 attacks in NYC. The WTCHR monitors the short and long-term (20+ years) physical and mental health conditions caused by the terrorist attacks among exposed responders and civilian survivor populations. Enrollees include rescue, recovery, and clean-up workers; residents of lower Manhattan; people Read more [...]

And to All a Safe Flight: Transportation Safety Tips for Santa

As we continue our work at the North Pole, we are ready to help Santa take flight! Flying around the world in one night is a difficult task, but Santa is up to the challenge. With a few tips from our researchers, we guarantee it will be a safe and successful night! Being out all night can make Santa pretty tired! As he gets ready for the big day, Santa should take the NIOSH online course Fatigue Prevention for Pilots: A Training Program for Commercial Pilots in Alaska. There are also several new Read more [...]

Ergonomics Tips for the North Pole

This holiday season we are checking in at the North Pole throughout December with some workplace safety and health advice for Santa and the elves to ensure they stay safe. In preparation for the big day, we are providing some tips to keep Santa and the elves safe while making, lifting, loading, and delivering all those presents! With proper ergonomic techniques, they will be in tiptop shape all season long. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are injuries resulting from work tasks such as: Lifting Read more [...]

Workplace Supported Recovery: New NIOSH Research Addresses an Evolving Crisis

Introduction The nation continues to struggle with a complex, ever-changing substance use landscape and an increase in related overdose deaths. Substance use disorders (SUDs) represent an important public and occupational health issue that is costly for society and limits an individual’s success and opportunities in many important areas of life (e.g., family, friendships, employment).1,2 The complex nature of SUDs and recovery may not be understood fully by employees, unions, employers, and Read more [...]

Driving Safety Tips to Keep Your Employees Safe this Holiday Season

  ‘Tis the holiday season—the busiest time of year for workers in the retail and delivery industries. Sadly, more fatal crashes happen during the holidays because more people travel, drink more alcohol, and drive at unsafe speeds. [1] Due to the seasonal rise in online shopping, many employers will hire temporary drivers for the holiday season to meet demand for delivering packages. Drivers will deliver many more packages. They may need to drive in heavy traffic and face dangerous Read more [...]

Protecting Temporary Workers: Best Practices for Host Employers

  Hiring temporary workers can be a way for businesses to meet fluctuating labor demands. But, keeping temporary workers safe on the job presents unique challenges, in part due to their dual employment arrangement in which they are paid by a staffing company and assigned to work for a host employer company. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), host employers and staffing companies are jointly Read more [...]

Promoting Partnerships to Explore the Impacts of Technological Change on Work and Well-being

Technology has a longstanding record of impacting work, the workplace, and the workforce. Automation, or finding new ways for tasks to be completed by machines and computers, has been a common industry practice since the 1970s [1]. Historically, the increased automation of routine tasks also increased demand for highly trained and educated people to focus on the more complex aspects of work requiring creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills [2]. In recent years, however, we have Read more [...]

Worker Well-being Takes Center Stage: Fireside Chat with the U.S. Surgeon General

U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, participated in a fireside chat on the final day of the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®. Dr. Murthy joined Dr. L. Casey Chosewood, Director of the NIOSH Total Worker Health (TWH) Program, for a conversation about protecting and promoting worker safety, health, and well-being. Prioritizing Mental Health The fireside chat began with an overview of the broader mental health crisis in the U.S. Dr. Murthy described Read more [...]

The Risk of COPD is Increased for Workers in Certain Industries and Occupations and with Certain Occupational Exposures

  November is National COPD Prevention Month.  COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – is characterized by airflow obstruction and breathing-related problems. The term COPD includes the conditions of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  COPD is a major cause of illness in the United States.  It affects at least 15 million US adult men and women and is the 4th leading cause of death.[1] There is no cure for COPD, and patients get worse over time.  Prevention Read more [...]

NIOSH Rising Stars

Like many workplaces, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is working to help prepare staff to become leaders in their fields. One way NIOSH is readying its next generation of leaders is through the Rising Stars Program. The Rising Stars program was created by NIOSH to provide an opportunity for employees to obtain the skills needed to succeed and advance in their NIOSH careers. This one-year program provides a foundation of targeted training and learning experiences Read more [...]

Construction Helmets and Work-related Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. TBIs are a global public health problem and is a leading cause of injury-related death and disability [1]. While TBIs can be mild, some can be fatal or cause short- to long-term disability. Those occurring among participants in collision sports such as football are often called concussions and have been receiving increasing attention Read more [...]

Total Worker Health® Symposium: A Closer Look at Keynotes

We’re taking a closer look at the presentations delivered during the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®. Attendees from across the globe heard from experts in the field during keynote addresses, presentations, workshops, and “bright spots,” a new conference feature that highlights successful and innovative interventions in 10-minute presentations. Presentations explored opportunities to improve workers’ health and well-being and the safety and Read more [...]

Celebrating the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®

October 11-14, 2022, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) presented the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®. Held virtually and in-person at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, the symposium is the only NIOSH-sponsored event focused solely on advancing Total Worker Health (TWH) research, practice, policies, and programs. TWH is Read more [...]

Celebrating National Ergonomics Month

National Ergonomics Month is celebrated annually in October. While ergonomics broadly is the scientific study of people at work, one important aspect of ergonomics is to prevent injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by poor workstation design and work environment. NIOSH ergonomists have been pioneering the study of MSDs through the development of risk assessment tools, the use of emerging technologies and sharing information on effective interventions. MSDs happen when injury occurs Read more [...]

Scientific Peer Review During the Pandemic and Beyond: Changes, Benefits, and Impacts

  The COVID-19 pandemic began significantly impacting the operations of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in March 2020. Travel restrictions were implemented, and CDC employees ordered to work from home. The Office of Extramural Programs (OEP) Review Team had a confirmed in-person peer review meeting for World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) research applications occurring within a week. Suddenly it was impossible to convene this, or any, in-person panel to Read more [...]

Taking Action on Health Equity: A Tale of 2 Clinics

It was the best of timing, it was the worst of timing. As an Occupational Medicine physician, my patients describe their work to me every day. Through these descriptions, I learn a lot about their health and well-being. Managing health in the work environment is important to overall health; yet work information is not captured in a standardized way in most medical encounters. Timely interventions to address hazardous work exposures are an actionable component of ensuring health equity, where everyone Read more [...]

Workplace Lead Exposure Trends

What do home renovations, bullet manufacturing, and battery recycling have in common? You could be exposed to lead while working with materials used during these activities.

Keeping Manufacturing Workers Safe: National Manufacturing Day/Month and Beyond

The blog content expands on information presented in the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays series. Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) is celebrated on the first Friday of October and has expanded in some states and organizations to Manufacturing Week or Month. In addition to being an opportunity to showcase modern manufacturing, it’s also an opportunity to inspire the next generation of workers to begin careers in manufacturing. The observance is recognized through a series of focused events throughout Read more [...]

A Case Study to Demonstrate Noise and Ergonomic Issues in the Workplace

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month and National Ergonomics Month.  Lacey is a veterinary technician who recently started working at a local veterinary clinic that cares for small pets. The clinic sees animals for routine visits but also provides specialty services like general surgery, dental care, grooming, and boarding services. Lacey loves working hands on with the animals but, lately, she’s experiencing some concerning symptoms. One part of Lacey’s job is assisting Read more [...]

The Evolution of Elastomeric Half-Mask Respirators and Exhalation Valves

Interest in using elastomeric half-mask respirators (EHMRs) as an alternative to N95®* filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) in healthcare settings is growing because of their ability to be cleaned, disinfected, and reused. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the high demand for N95 FFRs caused national supply shortages, leading organizations to rely on other types of respiratory protection such as EHMRs. However, at that time, all NIOSH Approved® EHMRs had exhalation valves Read more [...]

NIOSH News for National Nanotechnology Day!

  Every year on October 9th we celebrate National Nanotechnology Day. The date 10-9 pays homage to the nanometer scale: 10–9 (one billionth of a meter). Anything that can be measured in nanometers is extremely small! For instance, the width of a strand of human hair is about 90,000 nanometers, bacteria are between 300–5,000 nanometers, viruses are 5–300 nanometers, the diameter of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is 2.5 nanometers, and a single atom is 0.1–0.5 nanometers. Read more [...]

Reflecting on the NIOSH Education and Research Centers’ Continuing Education and Outreach

In recognition of the 45th anniversary of the Education and Research Centers (ERCs), we reflect on the Centers’ four decades as a NIOSH-funded grantee. This blog, which is the last in a 3-part series on the ERCs, focuses on the Centers’ effectiveness in serving as a resource to our nation’s workforce through continuing education and outreach. We encourage you to also check out the previous two blogs on ERC training and research. Background Continuing education and outreach are a Read more [...]

What Is Employment Quality? How Can We Study It for Occupational Health Equity?

Full-time, permanent employment that offers benefits and protection has been considered the standard work arrangement, but certain jobs are moving away from this standard.  Precarious employment, for example, is characterized by insecurity, short-term contracts, and limited access to workers’ rights and protection [NIOSH Strategic Plan, 2022]. These aspects of work represent employment quality (EQ). Employment Quality takes into account employment stability (e.g., the type and length of Read more [...]

Algorithms and the Future of Work

An algorithm is a series of precise, step-by-step instructions used by a machine to perform a mathematical operation.[1] The use of algorithm-enabled systems and devices will bring many benefits to occupational safety and health but, as with many new technologies, there are also risks to workers. A new commentary in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine focuses on new sources of worker risk that algorithms present in the use of worker management systems, advanced sensor technologies, and robotic Read more [...]

World Trade Center Health Program — More Than a Decade Providing Health Monitoring and Treatment

  In 2022, over 14,000 members of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program self-identify as Hispanic. This blog is dedicated to our Spanish-speaking audience as a message of outreach and as an overview of the WTC Health Program and research over the last decade. This Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor the many survivors and responders of 9/11, who require care in the WTC Health Program. This blog post is also available en español. Origins of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program Read more [...]

Programa de Salud del World Trade Center: Más de una década de proveer monitoreo y tratamiento médico

En el 2022, más de 14 000 miembros del Programa de Salud del World Trade Center (WTC) se identificaron como hispanos. Este blog está dedicado a nuestra audiencia de habla hispana, como mensaje de alcance comunitario con una descripción general del Programa de Salud del WTC y de las investigaciones realizadas en la última década. En el Mes de la Herencia Hispana de este año, honramos a los muchos sobrevivientes y miembros del personal de respuesta de los ataques Read more [...]

Setting Objectives for Fatigue Detection Technologies

This is the third blog in the series on fatigue detection technologies.   Work-related fatigue can have serious consequences for worker health and safety if not properly managed. One effective option for mitigating work-related fatigue is a well-designed fatigue risk management plan, which can be informed by many approaches and tools, such as fatigue detection technologies (FDTs). However, part of using any tool is understanding the capabilities and limitations of what it can do, and FDTs Read more [...]

Seasoned Employees in the Landscaping Services Industry

As in many other industries, the average age for workers in the landscaping services industry* has been rising, from 38.1 in 2011 to 40.9 in 2019. While knowledge and skills generally improve with age, physical abilities such as strength, reaction time, and balance may decline. Typically, the injury rate for older workers is lower than for younger workers. When older workers get injured, the injuries are more likely to be severe and expensive and lead to more lost time from the workplace. The NIOSH Read more [...]

Statement From WTC Health Program Administrator John Howard, M.D. Commemorating 21 Years Since September 11, 2001

  Each year the country observes a National Day of Service and Remembrance to reflect on the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the lives lost, and the bravery and resilience shown on that day and in the years after. Twenty-one years later, we honor the thousands more who have tragically lost their lives to health conditions stemming from their exposure to hazards and toxins in the weeks and months after 9/11. Many responders and survivors suffer from ongoing health impacts as well. Even now, Read more [...]

Highlights from a New Report on Indicators of Workplace Violence

  Federal agencies recently published a joint statistical report on workplace violence entitled Indicators of Workplace Violence, 2019. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examined incidents of fatal and nonfatal violence that occurred against persons at work or on duty, or violence that was away from work but over work-related issues from 1992 to 2019. The report includes data for Read more [...]

Respiratory Protection Week 2022: Staying Committed to Proper Respiratory Protection Practices

Happy Respiratory Protection Week! Our commitment to respiratory protection runs deep for us here at NIOSH. In fact, we’ve been dedicating an entire day or week to promoting proper respiratory protection practices since 2012. Our goal since the beginning has always been to highlight the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and provide resources that help you make educated decisions when selecting and wearing a respirator. We know the last few years have been full of change, Read more [...]

Labor Day 2022: A Statement by NIOSH Director, John Howard, MD

On the first Monday of September, we have an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the incredible contributions and achievements of American workers. Labor Day is an important reminder of the impact of the U.S. workforce and of our vision for safer, healthier workers. Sometimes, the greatest threats to workers are ones we cannot see. Work stress can negatively impact workers’ mental and physical health. We know that increased negative mental health symptoms among workers are linked to increased Read more [...]