Archive for NIOSH

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 [...]

NIOSH Miner Health Program Addresses Substance Use and Work

  Drug overdoses have accelerated over the past two decades, and in 2017, the United States Department of Health and Human Services deemed the opioid crisis a public health emergency. In April of 2021, the U.S. surpassed 100,000 drug overdose deaths for the preceding 12-month period, marking a nearly 29% increase from the previous 12-months. This milestone is 80% higher than the number of deaths for the same period five years prior.[1]  The overdose epidemic has been fueled by the rapid Read more [...]

Pre-pandemic Mental Health and Well-being of Healthcare Workers

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers faced substantial work-related stress. Most research on the mental health and well-being of healthcare workers has focused on physicians and nurses, with less attention paid to other healthcare occupations. Recent research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated the pre-pandemic mental health and well-being of a broad range of healthcare workers, including lower-wage healthcare support workers with patient Read more [...]

Students Making Their Mark at NIOSH

Training the next generation of occupational safety and health specialists is a critical part of the NIOSH mission. Most training is done through the NIOSH supported Education and Research Centers (see related blog). In addition to these formal programs, each year NIOSH is fortunate to host student interns within the Institute. NIOSH staff give students a glimpse into the type of work conducted at NIOSH and the students’ work provides real benefit to NIOSH researchers. Summaries of many of Read more [...]

Risk-Based Model to Resume Field Research and Public Health Service During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces across the world strictly limited or ceased in-person activities, including parts of the Federal government.  While much work continued remotely, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) needed to make decisions about allowing employees to travel to conduct workplace safety and health field research and public health service work. To assist with these decisions, NIOSH developed a risk-based model to conduct fieldwork, balancing Read more [...]

Are Insurer Risk Control Services Effective?

Workers’ Compensation Risk Control Workers’ compensation insurance systems provide medical care and lost-time wage payments for workers who are injured or become ill due to work. Workers’ compensation insurers also provide employer risk control services including: Onsite risk assessment visits Video-based safety and ergonomic job analyses Industrial hygiene air/noise sampling, and physical hazard assessments Safety program development Training The main purpose of risk control service Read more [...]

NIOSH Education and Research Centers: Research

As discussed in a previous NIOSH Science Blog, NIOSH Education and Research Centers: Training, there are 18 NIOSH-funded Education and Research Centers (ERCs) that engage in meaningful research, training, and outreach activities across 17 states. In honor of the 45th anniversary of the ERCs, this blog will highlight research activities conducted by the ERCs. The interdisciplinary nature of the centers gives rise to a broad spectrum of research priorities that range from mechanistic studies investigating Read more [...]

Precarious Work, Job Stress, and Health-related Quality of Life

Quality of work is a central issue in understanding worker well-being [1]. Work is changing due to several factors including technology and demographics and so is the way work is organized and designed. These changes have led to non-standard work arrangements, like gig work, resulting in an increased prevalence of precarious work [2]. While there is no standardized definition of precarious work it can be broadly defined as uncertain, unstable and insecure work in which workers, as opposed to businesses Read more [...]

Strategies for Advancing Occupational Safety and Health: Examining Health Inequities

How can we improve occupational safety and health research to better address health inequities? The United States has a long history of occupational safety and health (OSH) research, policy, and intervention. Despite this, long-standing occupational health inequities continue, with underserved workers experiencing higher rates of injury and illness. Occupational Health Equity Program researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently wrote a commentary published Read more [...]

Día Mundial contra el Cáncer 2020. Reflexiones acerca de una década de investigación de NIOSH sobre el cáncer

  Este blog se publicó originalmente en inglés en el 2020. Contiene una gran cantidad de recursos que todavía son relevantes hoy en día; por eso estamos publicando el blog en español, para compartir esta información con una audiencia más amplia. El 4 de febrero del 2020 es el Día Mundial contra el Cáncer, y estamos reflexionando acerca de las investigaciones sobre el cáncer ocupacional que se están realizando Read more [...]

Demonstrating the Ability to Protect Healthcare Personnel from COVID-19 in High-Risk Settings

This content can also be found on CDC’s Safe Healthcare Blog. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about stresses to the U.S. healthcare workforce never seen before. Since early in the pandemic, reports have abounded of healthcare personnel (HCP) being infected, sometimes resulting in severe outcomes and death. As of July 20, 2022, there have been nearly 1 million COVID-19 cases and over 2,000 deaths reported to CDC among U.S. HCP. Meanwhile, the increased workload and the emotional toll of caring Read more [...]

National Marble Day: A Look at the Manufacturing of Glass Marbles

  The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays series. July 23rd is National Marble Day.  There is much more to these little spheres than you might think. Although the game of marbles was originally played by children, it grew into a fun pastime for adults as well. There are treasure hunts to find special marbles; collectors seek out old marbles as well as the beautiful creations of modern glass makers. Marbles have been used for play for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, Read more [...]

Exposure Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Refined Coal Tar Sealant Applications

  Coal tar sealants are applied as a protective coating for paved surfaces. Many polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are found in these sealants. Several of these PAHs are known or suspected to cause, or increase the risk of developing cancer, but to date there has been no published research on workplace exposures to coal-tar-based sealant. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) undertook the first occupational exposure assessment study for PAHs Read more [...]

Education and Training Concerning Masks and Respirators for Construction Workers

Various types of masks and respirators are receiving increased attention in many workplaces, including on construction sites. Use of masks is part of a multi-layered prevention strategy for COVID-19, and many workplaces require or encourage employees to wear them. Masks are designed to cover a person’s mouth and nose to help contain large droplets or airborne particles when a person exhales, coughs, or sneezes. Respirators provide crucial respiratory protection by filtering out small airborne Read more [...]

ERCs Partner to Offer Webinar Series on Human Factors and Ergonomics and Industrial Hygiene

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the NIOSH Education and Research Centers (ERC) which are extramurally funded university-based centers that carry out multidisciplinary education and research training activities and offer graduate and postgraduate training in the core and allied fields of occupational safety and health. The ERCs serve as a resource for our nation’s workforce through continuing education[1] and outreach. Together, the 18 ERC Continuing Education Programs provide critical Read more [...]

What Measures Can Companies Use to Evaluate Safety Management Practices and Identify Opportunities for Improvement?

  What measures can companies use to evaluate safety efforts and identify opportunities for improvement?  The most commonly used measures of safety performance are lagging indicators such as injury counts and costs.1,2 While lagging indicators can be beneficial, using them as the only measure of safety can be a barrier to safety improvement. For example, companies with few injuries may not have enough information to identify trends3, as is often the case for smaller companies.  In Read more [...]

Fireworks

The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays series. The Fourth of July is the quintessential American holiday. Not only are we celebrating the birth of our nation, but we take a break in the heat of summer to participate in parades, cookouts, swimming, and FIREWORKS!    While many of us enjoy the exhilaration of a professional fireworks display: the flashes of light, bright colors, and explosive noises, most of us have probably never thought much about what goes into Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery Solved: What Is Making This Roofer Sick?

Ray worked as a roofer and started feeling sick during work. His symptoms started halfway through the first day and, by the end of the second day, he felt even worse with a headache, cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. At the doctor’s office, his tests came back normal. Read more about his case  here. When Ray and his coworkers got sick, the roofing company ordered an investigation. On the days crew members got sick, they were placing a rubber membrane on the roof using a Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery: What Is Making This Roofer Sick?

Ray drove to his work site on Monday morning, sipping coffee along the way. Spring was almost over, and everything was in full bloom. He was thankful for a cloudy day and cranked up the air conditioning, he knew he would start sweating once he got to work. Today Ray and his crew were working on a rubber roofing membrane installation. Ray parked and walked over to where the crew was setting up. Everyone was sharing stories from the weekend, but Ray hadn’t left the house since his kids came home Read more [...]

Climatologic Conditions, Chronic Disease and Work: Emerging Evidence and Implications

  As concerns about climatologic conditions (CC) are rising globally they remain poorly addressed in many settings such as the workplace. Climate-related hazards such as heat exposure and extreme weather events are and will continue to shape workers’ work experiences, risks for chronic disease, other health outcomes, and productivity. As such, central goals for occupational safety and health (OSH) need to include a better understanding of and targeted approaches to prevent and reduce the Read more [...]

Pausas para ir al baño

Aunque los trabajadores pueden suponer que tendrán acceso a baños en el trabajo, muchos que laboran en una amplia gama de sectores comerciales y ocupaciones dicen que no pueden hacer las pausas que necesitan para ir al baño mientras están trabajando.1-6 Las pausas insuficientes para ir al baño son algo importante que hay que considerar en lo que a la salud y la seguridad se refiere en muchos puestos de trabajo, como los que incluyen la atención de pacientes Read more [...]

The Manufacture and Selection of Eye Protection at Work

The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays series. June 6th was National Eyewear Day (and May was Healthy Vision Month).  To celebrate we are highlighting eye protection at work. Thousands of people each year experience work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection.  Ensuring that workers wear proper eye protection and have it available is an important aspect of work safety management programs.  Read more [...]

The Role of Robotics in the Future of Work

  NIOSH established the Future of Work Initiative in response to rapid changes in the workplace, work, and workforce. The Initiative seeks to prompt research and practical approaches to address future occupational safety and health concerns. Increased use and rapid technologic advances in robotics fits within the sphere of changes in how work will increasingly be done. The rapid increase in use, and new types of robots, has resulted in numerous knowledge gaps on how robotics technologies can Read more [...]

Save Your Hearing Day

The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays seminar series. Today is National Save Your Hearing Day. Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses. [1] About 12% of U.S. workers have hearing difficulty. [2] Among noise-exposed workers, 23% have hearing difficulty compared to 7% of non-noise-exposed workers. [3] Twenty-four percent of worker hearing difficulty is due to occupational exposures including hazardous noise and ototoxic chemicals (chemicals causing damage Read more [...]

Umbrella Manufacturing

The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays seminar series. During this time of year many of us will grab an umbrella when walking out the door, a useful device that has been with us for a long time but is seldom thought about until you need one. The umbrella is a vital piece of personal weather protection useful for keeping rain or sunlight off a person. They have also found their way into fashion, popular cocktails, the beach, and our backyards. Umbrellas were present in some of Read more [...]

Health Worker Mental Health Initiative

A new Surgeon General’s Advisory highlights the urgent need to address the health worker burnout crisis across the country. Workers providing health services face many on-the-job challenges that can lead to work-related stress. For many of the 20 million health workers in the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has led to new and worsening mental health concerns, including burnout, compassion fatigue, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidal ideation. These concerns affect each worker’s Read more [...]

World Whiskey Day: Safety and Health for Bourbon Distillery Workers

The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays seminar series. Saturday, May 21, 2022 is World Whiskey Day Founded in 2012 by a Scottish college student, the day is now recognized by whiskey drinkers all over the world to celebrate their favorite spirit. There are historical references to whiskey dating to at least the 15th century. The term itself comes from a Gaelic word that means “water of life.” There are many spirits that come under the general term whiskey – Read more [...]

Shiftwork May Lead to Health Problems among Police Officers: What Can be Done? Using Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) Study Data to Examine First Responder Health

  Ensuring the safety of our community is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year kind of job. Weekends and holidays included. Working at night (outside the normal daylight hours of 7am – 6pm) is known as “shiftwork” and it has been linked to certain health issues. Police officers and detectives frequently work 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shift, and it is common that these shifts rotate. The Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) study has been used to look Read more [...]

Commercial Vehicle Operators and Legionnaires’ Disease

A New Concern Among Commercial Vehicle Operators Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia that almost always requires treatment in the hospital. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and elsewhere have found Legionnaires’ disease occurs at twice the rate in transportation workers as in non-transportation workers. Among the transportation workers reporting Legionnaires’ disease, most (77%) were driver/sales workers or truck drivers.[1] The Read more [...]

Manufacturing Mondays Blog Series: Military Appreciation

The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays seminar series. May is Military Appreciation Month, established by Congress in 1999. There are several important days to remember that encompass Military Appreciation Month like VE Day (Victory in Europe Day, May 8th), Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May), and Memorial Day (the last Monday in May). This year, with many service members overseas supporting our NATO allies in Eastern Europe, it is especially important to recognize and Read more [...]