Archive for NIOSH

Promoción del bienestar de las trabajadoras a través de la salud maternal e infantil: Adaptaciones para facilitar la lactancia materna en el lugar de trabajo

Las contribuciones de las madres que trabajan, uno de los segmentos de la fuerza laboral de los Estados Unidos con más rápido crecimiento, son vitales para que haya una economía sólida. Sin embargo, estas madres también pueden tener dificultad para equilibrar sus carreras y demandas de trabajo con sus planes de tener hijos y su cuidado. Con su enfoque holístico para el bienestar del trabajador, Total Worker Health® fomenta políticas y prácticas Read more [...]

Women in STEM

In honor or Women’s History Month, this blog highlights a few of the talented female researchers working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at NIOSH. Their varied paths into STEM fields are as interesting as they are inspirational. After reading these stories please pass them along to other women and girls so that they can inspire the next generation of scientists. Kyla Retzer, MPH/ Research Epidemiologist Kyla Retzer’s journey into a STEM field started early in school. Read more [...]

Towards a Biosocial Approach to Occupational Safety and Health

The integration of the social determinants of health paradigm by occupational and public health researchers and institutions is leading to a recognition of the need for a more holistic and nuanced perspective on work and its impact on population health (Ahonen et al 2018; Schulte and Vainio, 2010; WHO 2008). Fundamental to this transformation is the need to complement traditional approaches to occupational health with new conceptual and methodological perspectives that can better account for the Read more [...]

Twenty–Nine Year Summary of Silicosis in Michigan

Silicosis is a lung disease caused by exposure to airborne silica. Generally, it causes scarring (pulmonary fibrosis) after 20 or more years of exposure. Since 1988, Michigan has been identifying individuals who develop silicosis with the goal of targeting prevention actions. Michigan’s system is both the longest running and only comprehensive surveillance system for silicosis in the United States. We recently reported on the 1,048 Michigan residents with confirmed silicosis identified over Read more [...]

National Engineers Week 2019

This week is National Engineers Week which is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) employs over 200 engineers and engineering technicians who identify, evaluate, develop, and implement engineering control technology to prevent occupational disease and injury. NIOSH engineers cover various disciplines including: Read more [...]

Good Clean Fun: Cleaning Considerations for Elastomeric Respirators

Valentine’s Day is a day for all of us to reflect on love and relationships. With so much romance in the air, we began to think about what makes for a lasting relationship? How can we all achieve our own happily ever after? Being the relationship experts that we are here at NIOSH, we have some tips for your love life. When it comes to a long-lasting relationship, it is important to encourage the best out of each other. Successful partnership are ones in which you can confidently rely on your Read more [...]

Promoting Worker Well-Being through Maternal and Child Health: Breastfeeding Accommodations in the Workplace

As one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. labor force, the contributions of working mothers are vital to a strong economy. Yet working mothers can also struggle to balance their career and work demands with reproductive plans and caregiving. As a holistic approach to worker well-being, Total Worker Health® encourages policies and practices that simultaneously protect workers while also improving their health and well-being—such as providing the work-related support to sustain an Read more [...]

Preventing Electrocution of Construction Contract Workers

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released a report based upon U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data showing that 77% of the 325 contract worker electrocutions that occurred from 2012-2016 involved workers employed in the construction industry (NFPA 2018). Nearly 60% of the electrocutions were caused by direct contact with electricity. Construction workers account for a large portion of electrical injuries in the US each year. In Read more [...]

Exploring Individual and Organizational Stress-reducing Interventions across Industries

Physical and mental job stress are critical drivers of individual health problems and organizational and societal costs. Health effects of stress lead to higher absenteeism, turnover, and loss of productivity for organizations, as well as higher healthcare expenditures. Long-term impact of stress on employees leads to chronic health conditions. Workplace interventions can help working adults reduce stress which in turn may reduce the impact of chronic health conditions. In May 2018, research on stress-reducing Read more [...]

NIOSH, Wiki Education Foundation, and Harvard University Work Together to Make Occupational Safety and Health Content Accessible to All

Choosing the right final project for a graduate level course can be a daunting responsibility for any instructor. Harvard Research Scientist and Instructor Dr. Diana Ceballos heard NIOSH researcher Dr. Thais Morata share details at a NORA conference about NIOSH’s collaboration with academia and Wikipedia to teach students science translation and knew it was a perfect match. After just a few emails and quickly enrolling to use the Wiki Education Foundation platform, an incredible new way of Read more [...]

NIOSH Info: What was hot in 2018

  It’s the season of reflection and of lists. We’ve looked back at 2018 to see what NIOSH information was most popular and compiled lists of the 2018 top five most accessed NIOSH blogs, tweets, web pages, search terms, publications and Facebook posts. Instagram Instagram is our fastest growing social media platform. In 2018, we gained over 1,200 followers bringing our total followers to 2,287. We began sharing short animated clips on our platform highlighting our research, as well Read more [...]

North Pole Medical Mystery SOLVED!

Crisis averted. Barring severe weather issues or a catastrophe, it looks like children around the world will receive their presents now that the elves are healthy and back at work. (Read the case details here). After Santa requested a NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation, NIOSH researchers were mysteriously transported to the North Pole to try to figure out what was causing elves in the toy shop to suffer from congestion, cough, shortness of breath, sore throats, burning eyes, and fatigue. NIOSH Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery at the North Pole

What is going on at the North Pole? Several elves in the toy making department have reported congestion, cough and shortness of breath. While it is cold and flu season, all of the elves have had their flu shots and the issues seem to be contained to the elves working in the toy shop. A handful of elves also report sore throats, burning eyes and fatigue. This is highly unusual. Santa and the elves cannot recall a similar situation in all of their years. In trying to identify a culprit, they remembered Read more [...]

Health for the Holidays: Risks and Recommendations for the Retail Industry

It’s finally here—the most wonderful time of the year… for shopping. People will visit retail stores to buy a variety of goods: the cleaning supplies they will use to prepare for holiday celebrations, the food and beverages they will serve at holiday gatherings, the holiday gifts they will give loved ones, and much more. Economic projections suggest retailers should brace themselves for a heavy amount of seasonal shopping traffic this year. According to an October 2018 Gallup poll, Read more [...]

Improving Programs to Control Hazardous Energy: New website offers tools and templates

A new website from the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Manufacturing Sector Council features ways in which businesses and companies can safeguard employees from the release of hazardous energy (any source of electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy) during service and maintenance activities. The new website features a resource guide with step-by-step guidance and customizable materials and templates to help implement effective strategies for controlling Read more [...]

A Mini-Symposium on Cumulative Risk Assessment in the Occupational Setting

Many of us in the occupational safety and health field have likely faced an issue similar to this: The workers in my plant are exposed to both noise and solvents. I’ve read that both of these exposures can interact to cause hearing loss. How should I control these exposures to reduce the risk of occupational hearing loss? If I control each of the exposures to their relevant occupational exposure limits, is that good enough? Or should I control these exposures to levels below their occupational Read more [...]

The 2018 Summer Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP)

The 2018 Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) summer marked the program’s 15th year of placing students in the field with a worker or community based organization on projects that investigate work-related health and safety issues. This summer, 22 OHIP interns worked on 12 occupational health and safety projects in eight locations. At the start of the OHIP summer, the interns met in Los Angeles for a three-day national orientation, where they visited worksites to identify hazards and Read more [...]

Workers Using Prescription Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines Can Face Safety and Health Risks

The opioid crisis that faces the nation has a great impact on workers and NIOSH has a comprehensive program to address opioids in workers. One issue of concern is workers who use prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines for medically appropriate reasons. Workers who use either prescription opioids or benzodiazepines or a combination of prescriptions for both of these drugs, for medical reasons, can face safety and health risks in U.S. workplaces, which employ 160 million people across all occupations Read more [...]

Three Tips for Choosing the Right Hearing Protector

We live in a noisy world. Some noises can damage our hearing, leading to hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and difficulty communicating especially in background noise. Permanent noise-induced hearing damage is incurable. If you cannot reduce your noise exposure by turning down the volume, moving away from the sound, or limiting the time you are exposed, hearing protection is your only option. But hearing protection comes in so many styles, materials, color, and sizes – how can you Read more [...]

Visualizing National Worker Survey Data through Worker Health Charts

Anne is the CEO of a major hospital in a large metropolitan area. She is concerned by reports the Human Resources Department is receiving from employees about harassment and bullying. She understands that harassment and bullying can create a hostile work environment. With these concerns in mind, she includes questions about hostile work environment in the hospital’s annual employee survey. Anne finds the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) interactive data visualization Read more [...]

NIOSH and USDA Partner to Protect Workers after Hurricane Florence

Responders face many challenges and hazards when responding to disasters. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) maintains an emergency preparedness and response resources page to help workers stay protected during response and recovery activities. In some cases unique hazards are identified during a response and NIOSH works to develop communication materials to ensure the health and safety of responders. NIOSH has learned from responders that the challenges faced can be Read more [...]

Simplify: How to quickly code industry and occupation data

“As a graduate student in public health, I wanted to survey workers to gather information on workplace safety and health. I conducted a survey to find out what jobs (occupations) and industries use mobile devices while working. I now have 3,209 surveys to analyze and I’m not sure where to begin…” It can be daunting turning survey information from thousands of people into something useful. Each survey respondent has a different job or may work in a different industry and all Read more [...]

Job Strain, Long Work Hours, and Suicidal Thoughts

September 9-15th, 2018 is National Suicide Prevention week. Workplace suicide and mental health in general are often underrepresented in workplace health and safety discussions. However, globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability (WHO, 2017). In the US, the suicide mortality rate increased by 24% from 1999 to 2014, particularly among middle-age adults. The suicide mortality rate in US working populations has been also on the rise. A recent study Read more [...]

N95 Day 2018: Getting Down to the Particulars about Filter Class

Calling all N95 filter facepiece respirator users, program managers, educators, manufacturers, and general enthusiasts of respiratory protection. Today is N95 Day and we are psyched! We’ve planned this N95 Day party to be particularly packed with information pertaining to particles. (Say THAT five times fast.) We admit it; we are pretty geeky when it comes to protection against particles. But after almost 100 years of research and discovery, there’s a lot of information on the subject. Read more [...]

Labor Day Message from NIOSH Director, John Howard, MD

More than just a “day off,” Labor Day provides us a moment to pause and reflect on the efforts and sacrifice all men and women across the nation have worked through to keep this country moving, day and night, contributing to the economic and material well-being of its inhabitants. NIOSH’s mission has been and will be to ensure the safety and health of all workers. One way to capture the importance of this work is to tell someone’s story. Years ago, NIOSH produced a video, Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery Solved: Water Patrol Deputy Gets Sick Out on the Lake

Jim worked as a water patrol deputy for the county sheriff’s office. While working a 10-hour shift in the hot sun over a busy holiday weekend he began to feel sick. It started with a headache while he was working in a channel where hundreds of boaters congregate for a floating party.  He then became dizzy and started to slur his speech. Jim’s patrol partner rushed him to the shore where medics took him to the hospital. Read more about his case here. At first it seemed Jim may Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery: Water Patrol Deputy Gets Sick Out on the Lake

“Today’s going to be a scorcher–expect highs to reach a balmy 99 degrees!” exclaimed the voice from the radio. Jim grumbled as he listened to the weather report on his drive to work. Jim is a deputy with the county sheriff’s office assigned to the water patrol unit. Hot summer days always bring people out to the local lake, but since it is Labor Day weekend and the area is experiencing a heat wave, Jim expected the lake to be extra crowded with boats filled with families, Read more [...]

Gases and vapors continue to pose hazards on oil and gas well sites during gauging, fluid transfer, and disposal

Background A previous NIOSH report (2016)1 described the death of nine oil and gas extraction workers that occurred during gauging or sampling activities at open thief hatches on crude oil storage tanks. Hydrocarbon gases and vapors (HGVs) and associated oxygen displacement were the primary or contributory factors in these fatalities. Additionally, wellsite exposure assessments conducted by OSHA and NIOSH identified HGVs at open thief hatches in concentrations that were immediately dangerous to life Read more [...]

Characterizing 3D Printing Emissions and Controls in an Office Environment

Disclaimer: Mention of any company, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or imply that any company or its products or services are preferred over any other.   3D printing or additive manufacturing allows users to “print” a variety of items, from airplane parts to prosthetic limbs. Read more [...]

Beyond Determining Compliance: How Can Workers’ Compensation Insurers’ Exposure Data Be Improved and Used?

The workers’ compensation system can be used for more than processing work-related illness or injury insurance claims. The data collected through this system provide valuable information to identify how these injuries and illnesses happen, so that they can be prevented. In recent years, use of workers’ compensation injury and illness data in the public health field has grown. However, occupational exposure data (also known as industrial hygiene data) collected by many workers’ compensation Read more [...]

Grounds for Change: Reducing Noise Exposure in the Grounds Management Professions – Part 2

Workers in grounds management professions, which includes landscaping, lawn maintenance and horticulturists, are often exposed to hazardous noise while on the job. Part One of this summer series discussed some of the dangers of noise, including hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and other health issues. In addition to its negative effects on personal health, loud noise can cause annoyance and stress. When working with noisy equipment, you should be able to recognize when noise levels are Read more [...]

The Powerhouse: Students’ contributions towards expanding and improving occupational safety and health content in Wikipedia

The history and motivation behind the efforts NIOSH is putting into expanding and improving occupational safety and health in Wikipedia was discussed in earlier NIOSH Science Blogs (May 19,2015 and July 25, 2018)  and thru the NIOSH January 2017 eNews. Here we will focus on the partnerships created between NIOSH and university graduate and training programs since 2016. In 2015, the NIOSH authors of this Blog reached out to university professors to encourage adoption of the platform developed Read more [...]

Grounds for Change: Reducing Noise Exposure in Grounds Management Professionals – Part 1

While the dog days of summer mean slowing down for some people, sunshine brings the busy season for those in the grounds management professions, which includes landscaping, tree care and horticulture. This summer work means breaking out tools that can create loud noise: lawn mowers, edgers, chainsaws, chippers — just to name a few. This noise is more than just an annoyance, it can create long-term health effects including hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and even cardiovascular Read more [...]

Expanding and Improving Occupational Safety and Health Content in Wikipedia. It Matters.

NIOSH is one of the first US federal agencies to collaborate with the Wikimedia organizations and it is doing so by actively contributing data and the latest research to help improve the health of the population. NIOSH’s effort involves examining mechanisms to help make sure that the occupational safety and health information that reaches Wikipedia’s millions of readers is complete, up-to-date, and free of errors. The January 2017 NIOSH eNews article Reaching Our Audience Where They Are: Read more [...]

How Can we Measure Impulse Noise Properly?

Impulsive noise is typically generated by the rapid release of compressed gases (impulse) or the collision of solid objects (impact) and is defined as the instantaneous change in sound pressure over a short period of time. Considerable research has shown that impulsive noise is more likely to cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) than continuous noise of equal energy. Exposure to high-intensity impulses can cause acoustic trauma and instant mechanical damage to the inner ear. Exposure to impulsive Read more [...]

Workplace Noise: More than just “All Ears”

Noise is everywhere, but how loud does it need to be to cause harm? While many people know that loud noise can hurt their ears, they don’t know how loud is too loud or how long they can listen before it becomes harmful. Noise around 85 decibels (dBA) – which is loud enough that you must raise your voice to be heard by someone three feet away (arm’s length) – can damage your hearing after repeated exposures lasting 8 hours or more. Equipment, like printing presses and lawn Read more [...]

Fentanyls and the Safety of First Responders: Science and Recommendations

The severity of the opioid epidemic is well-documented. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that drug overdose deaths in the United States more than tripled from 1999 to 2015.[1] From 2015 to 2016, opioid overdose deaths increased by more than 20 percent—rising from 52,898 in 2016 to 64,070 deaths in 2017.[2] Additionally, in 2016, U.S. life expectancy declined for the second year in a row caused in part by an increase in unintentional injuries, chiefly drug Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery Solved: What is causing a recycling worker’s respiratory distress?

While working at a metal recycling facility, Joe was suddenly overcome with shortness of breath, coughing, chest pressure, and eye irritation. After transport to a local hospital, Joe was diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. Read more about his case here.  What was the cause of his illness? The plume of smoke Joe ran through was a thick yellow gas. Testing revealed it was chlorine gas accidently released from an intact, closed-valved cylinder being processed for scrap Read more [...]

Workplace Medial Mystery: What is causing a recycling worker’s respiratory distress?

Joe worked at a metal recycling facility in Nevada. His typical job duties included operating a material handler to load scrap metal into a shear for crushing. During his shift at the recycling facility, Joe looked up to see a plume of thick yellow smoke swirl around a pile of scrap metal and was suddenly overcome with shortness of breath, coughing, chest pressure, and eye irritation. He thought about grabbing a fire extinguisher but then ran away from the smoke until the air cleared. Joe’s Read more [...]

NIOSH in Alaska: Improving Worker Safety

This blog is pulled from a story originally posted in the CDC’s “Inside Story: Public Health in Action” on 2/8/18 Before he became an epidemiologist, Devin Lucas grew up in a fishing family. His grandfather moved to Anchorage in 1953 and purchased a commercial fishing vessel. Then his dad grew up in the business. So did Lucas and all his siblings. He fished for salmon off the Kenai Peninsula from the outlet of the Kenai River to the Cook Inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Eight of the Read more [...]