Archive for NIOSH

Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

  Work plays a significant role in workers’ mental health. This impact is so substantial that managers impact workers’ mental health more than doctors or therapists do, according to the Workforce Institute’s Mental Health at Work study. The U.S. Surgeon General even emphasizes the role of workplaces in shaping our mental and physical well-being, noting that the average full-time U.S. worker spends about half of their waking life at work. Employment arrangements, wages, and Read more [...]

An Urgent Call to Address Work-related Psychosocial Hazards and Improve Worker Well-being

  Work-related psychosocial hazards are factors in the work environment that can cause stress, strain, or interpersonal problems for the worker. This has the potential to cause physical and psychological harm. Work-related psychosocial hazards are on the verge of surpassing many other occupational hazards in terms of their contribution to poor health, injury, disability, and costs.[1][2][3][4] The extensive and cumulative impacts of these exposures represent an alarming public health problem Read more [...]

Using Internal Traffic Control Plans to Prevent Construction Worker Injuries and Fatalities in Work Zones

Struck-by injuries are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and second most common cause of fatalities among construction workers. From 2011 to 2022, there were 1,462 fatal occupational injuries that occurred at road construction sites .[1] Of these, 68% (n=1,000) were among workers in the construction industry (See figure) followed by workers in transportation and warehousing (11%; n=168) and professional and business services (9%; n=132) industries.  Forty-four percent of the occupational Read more [...]

Women’s History Month Reflections on Occupational Exposures and Health Equity

  March was Women’s History Month and this year’s theme was “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” This theme urged us to think about the diversity of U.S. women workers and how NIOSH is addressing health equity. Health equity is the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.[1] Occupational health inequities [2] can be influenced by exclusion and discrimination based on factors such as gender, socioeconomic Read more [...]

Celebrating 20 Years of Research: Highlights From NIOSH’s Nanotechnology Research Center’s Field Studies Team

  As the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) marks its 20th anniversary, we celebrate the groundbreaking work of the Field Studies Team. Organized in 2006, the team began by evaluating potential workplace exposures to engineered nanomaterials. Engineered nanomaterials (those created on purpose and not incidentally) have at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nanometers. One nanometer is extremely small—one millionth of a Read more [...]

A Reflection on World Futures Day 2024: NIOSH Efforts to Help Build a Better Tomorrow

  Future Day was first celebrated worldwide on March 1, 2012 as a forward-looking reflection on all the possibilities the future holds for humanity.1 Just two years later, the global think tank Millennium Project helped expand the unofficial holiday into what is now recognized as World Futures Day.2 World Futures Day is structured as an open, free-of-charge, all-day event where internationally-recognized futurists, foresight leaders, and members of the public voluntarily come together from across Read more [...]

Sweating the Small Stuff: 20 years of NIOSH Research on Engineering Controls for Nanotechnology

Engineered nanomaterials are intentionally produced substances that have at least one primary dimension less than 100 nanometers (nm). Nanomaterials may have properties different from those of larger particles of the same material, making them unique and desirable for specific product applications (e.g., cosmetics, electronics, construction materials). The health effects associated with nanomaterials are not yet clearly understood, so it is important for producers and users of engineered nanomaterials Read more [...]

Dispelling Myths to Make Healthy Hearing a Reality

This World Hearing Day, March 3, 2024, the World Health Organization is promoting awareness of hearing loss to reduce societal misperceptions and stigma and is encouraging you to do the same. Over 80% of ear and hearing care needs are not met worldwide.[1] Hearing care has an annual cost of nearly $1 trillion (US) globally.[2] Changing mindsets on ear and hearing care is the first step to combatting this largely preventable global health issue. This blog tackles myths on work-related hearing risks Read more [...]

Changing Mindsets on Hearing Disorders Associated with Work Hazards

  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Hearing Loss Prevention Program has been an official member of the World Hearing Forum (WHF) since it was launched in 2019. The Forum was assembled by the Office of Ear and Hearing Care of the World Health Organization to promote ear and hearing care worldwide. NIOSH’s membership to the forum builds upon the Hearing Loss Prevention Program’s long-standing contributions to the prevention of work-related hearing Read more [...]

Protecting the Well-being of the Nation’s Health Workforce

  The American Journal of Public Health recently published a special supplement with 15 articles focusing on health worker mental health. As part of this special issue, our article Protecting the Mental Health and Well-being of the Nation’s Health Workforce summarizes the scope of the issue and prevention efforts underway at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). A summary consisting of excerpts Read more [...]

AJPH Highlights Health Worker Mental Health

The American Journal of Public Health recently published a special supplement with 15 articles focusing on health worker mental health. This special issue of the journal was sponsored and edited by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and stems from the health worker mental health initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NIOSH. Research indicates health workers experience high levels of physical injury, harassment, stress, and burnout and many Read more [...]

Finding the Right Fit—Is Your Respirator “The One”?

Finding the right fit is one of the most important parts of a relationship. You don’t just grab any old fish from the sea that swims by and hope for the best. First, it’s necessary to test the waters and ensure you’re simpatico before settling on a partner. It’s Valentine’s Day, and yes, this advice could apply to your romantic life, but we also love to use today to show our love of respirators and we love to play matchmaker on your behalf as well. (That’s a lotta Read more [...]

Prevention Through Design to Address Continuing Construction Workplace Deaths and Injuries

Nearly 1 in 5 of all workplace fatalities occur in the construction industry (BLS, 2024). In 2022 there were 1,092 fatalities in the construction industry (BLS, 2024); in 2021 and 2022 there were 144,480 cases of construction industry workers missing days away from work from a non-fatal injury or illness (BLS, 2023). These and other statistics show that construction remains one of the most dangerous industries for workers. What if we could “design out” or minimize hazards and risks to Read more [...]

NIOSH Global Collaborations on Workplace Safety of Nanomaterials

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) has taken on a global leadership role on research and guidance for nanomaterials in the workplace since the formation of NTRC in 2004 [1]. Global Collaborations is one of the ten critical topic areas for nanotechnology research and communication identified by NTRC [2]. The NIOSH global collaboration efforts build on the strong NIOSH NTRC research and guidance efforts contributing to the global Read more [...]

Nonfatal Occupational Injury Surveillance Data: Examples from Michigan

The importance of developing a tracking system for occupational fatalities, injuries and illnesses was recognized in the original Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. The Secretary of Labor at that time elected to delegate responsibility to collect, compile, and analyze occupational safety and health statistics. Despite the authority in the OSH Act to cover all workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the Department of Labor decided to base their data collection program on an Read more [...]

Most-viewed NIOSH Products in 2023

Each January we look back at our most-viewed products from the previous year. This helps us gauge our impact and understand the type of information our users are seeking. Interest in all our platforms remains high. The subject matter making our most-viewed lists covers a wide range of topics including the prevention of firefighter cancer, heat stress, falls, suicide, hearing loss, and hazardous drug exposures. Continue reading to see our most-viewed information on the NIOSH blog, X/Twitter, Facebook, Read more [...]

Long COVID and Occupational Medicine Practice

  Some individuals with COVID-19 do not recover to their usual state of health, experiencing a broad array of new or continuing debilitating symptoms collectively referred to as “long COVID.”  Long COVID can have a significant impact on a worker’s return to work. In June 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted the webinar Evaluating and Supporting Patients with Long COVID in Returning to Work.  As an extension of the webinar, we recently published Read more [...]

ONDCP Launches New Recovery Ready Workplace Toolkit

  In 2022, approximately 110,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. At the same time, 46 million Americans aged 18 or older experienced a substance use disorder in 2022. Nearly two thirds of those people (30.1 million) were employed. The drug overdose epidemic is occurring in and impacting workplaces. Unintentional overdose from the nonmedical use of drugs resulted in 388 worker deaths in 2020, an increase of nearly 500 percent from 2012. It is now clearer than ever that employers can play Read more [...]

Is Occupational Physical Activity Harmful to Health?

  A recent webinar from the National Occupational Research Agenda’s Cancer, Reproductive, Cardiovascular, and Other Chronic Disease Prevention (CRC) cross-sector council describes research related to the potential effects of occupational physical activity on workers’ cardiovascular health. This blog summarizes the webinar and discusses the differences between (1) leisure-time physical activity, and (2) occupational physical activity in relation to cardiovascular health and other Read more [...]

Looking to the Past and the Future of NIOSH Nanotechnology Guidance

NIOSH has been at the forefront of research on engineered nanomaterials since the early 2000’s.  As the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) celebrates its 20th anniversary, we look back over two decades of NIOSH NTRC published guidance to help reduce worker exposures to engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). Both companies and workers use this guidance to keep workers safer. NTRC research has led to improved recommendations for controlling exposures during advanced manufacturing Read more [...]

Health Equity, Work, and Motor Vehicle Safety

  Among U.S. workers, driving a motor vehicle or being exposed to traffic hazards as a pedestrian while at work is a significant risk. In fact, motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause death at work in the United States [1]. Many factors can play a role in work-related MVCs, but have you considered how these factors may have different impacts on workers, depending on their social or demographic characteristics? Given NIOSH’s commitment to advancing health equity, our motor vehicle Read more [...]

Hazardous Exposures to Silica in Metal and Nonmetal Mining Indicate the Need for Better Prevention

  Mined raw materials, or products produced from them, are essential for all industries. Mining will remain an essential industry even with the shift to sustainable energy as critical minerals that will support the needs for zero-emission vehicles, carbon-free energy, and production of energy resources and everyday products must be mined. Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is one of the most prevalent and severe health hazards in mining – one that has been well-known since the Hawks Nest Read more [...]

Want to Improve the Well-Being of Health Workers? The System Itself Must Change

  The pandemic has brought attention to the safety, health, and well-being of workers in healthcare. Recent efforts to address these issues include, the Office of the Surgeon General’s Addressing Health Worker Burnout,(1) an “Advisory on Building a Thriving Health Workforce,” from the National Academy of Medicine’s National Plan for Healthcare Workforce Wellbeing (2) and the  NIOSH Health Worker Mental Health Initiative (3). For today’s health workers, feeling Read more [...]

Preparing for the Future: NIOSH Applications of Strategic Foresight

  Change is all around us, and it is happening more intensely and more rapidly than ever before. NIOSH recognizes that many of the social, technological, economic, environmental, and political changes we experience can impact the design of work and the lives of working people.1 We also understand the benefit of proactively preparing for future changes and the implications they may bring for the practice of occupational safety and health (OSH). Since 2020, NIOSH has been engaged in the practice Read more [...]

Stay Safe and Warm This Holiday Season Like Frosty the Worker

♪ Frosty the Worker, Is a jolly happy soul, With his big warm boots and his warm-up breaks, The cold cannot take its toll. ❄ ♪Hypothermia and chilblains, May be fairy tales one day, Cuz’ with training and prevention, Frostbite can be kept at bay.❄ ♪It really isn’t magic when, A warm wool hat is worn, For with proper gear there is no fear, When an employer plan is formed.❄ ♪Oh, Frosty the Worker, We’ll keep you warm when you’re outside, Read more [...]

Help for the Holidays: Preventing Fatigue, Violence, and Stress in Retail

  The holidays can be the most stressful time of the year—especially for retail workers who often work long hours and irregular shifts. These workers might also deal with crowds, violence, and robberies. This blog highlights the risk of fatigue, violence, and stress for workers in retail stores and provides strategies for making retail work environments and workers safer and healthier. Preventing Fatigue Fatigue is the body’s first response to insufficient sleep, a disturbed sleep Read more [...]

The Role of Skills in the Future of Work

  To survive and thrive in a fast-changing world, workers need to keep updating their skills to improve their employment chances, advance their careers, and meet the shifting needs of employers.1 Employers typically look for workers with proficiency in the technical and cognitive skills needed to do the job, but they also look for more portable and transferable skills (i.e., cross-sector competencies) that can be taken from job-to-job and transferred to different situations and social contexts, Read more [...]

On-duty Injuries Among Ohio Law Enforcement Officers

Law enforcement officers (LEOs) face many workplace hazards. Current research does not include a complete picture of nonfatal injuries that officers sustain while on-duty. Workers’ compensation (WC) data are an underutilized source for occupational injury surveillance in the law enforcement field. A recently published research article explored patterns and characteristics of workers’ compensation injury claims over a 19-year period among LEOs in Ohio. Researchers from the National Read more [...]

Social Connection and Worker Well-being

  In May, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, released Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community calling for a whole-of-society approach to address the epidemic of loneliness and isolation.1 Below we briefly highlight information from the Advisory and its implications for worker well-being. Based on decades of research examining the importance of social connection to Read more [...]

The Cannabis Industry and Work-related Asthma and Allergies

  In January 2022, there were about 428,000 people working in the legal cannabis industry across the country.[1] Workers in the cannabis industry face potential workplace hazards, including exposure to: Bacteria, mold, and other fungi resulting from high humidity. Wet conditions and poor ventilation in work environments. Endotoxins (bacterial cell wall components released when certain bacteria disintegrate). Organic particulate matter and dust from the plants. This is more likely to occur if Read more [...]

NIOSH Ag Centers Celebrate 10 Years on YouTube

One hundred years ago, farmers, loggers, and fishermen turned to their families and communities for advice on safety, health, production, and repairs. They may have even consulted the Farmer’s Almanac or asked a cooperative extension agent. Although family, friends, print media, and extension agents are still great sources of information, the farmers, loggers, and fishermen of this century also began to use smart phones to find answers. And as these “computers in our pocket” have Read more [...]

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposures Continue in Operating Room Settings

Despite legislation and improved technology, data from Massachusetts hospitals show that sharps injuries have increased in the operating room (OR) [1]. These injuries place healthcare workers at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens (BBPs). There is an urgent need to renew efforts to protect healthcare workers inside the operating room. The Massachusetts data highlight a gap and the need to establish a national surveillance program that would help hospitals develop further measures to prevent Read more [...]

Using Public Health Data to Protect Workers in the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry

  Oil and gas extraction (OGE) workers play an important role in supporting the U.S. economy. In 2021, 326,160 workers were employed by OGE companies to help meet U.S. energy needs.1 This work is not done without risk. Workers in the OGE industry regularly face hazardous exposures such as flammable and toxic gases and vapors, and high-risk environments such as working at heights, around heavy equipment, below suspended loads, with explosive materials, and around pressurized lines and vessels. Read more [...]

Visualizing Ohio Workers’ Compensation Claims by Event/Exposure

  Research has shown that large state datasets of workers’ compensation (WC) claims can be successfully linked to state employment data to examine claim counts and rates by industry and cause of injury.1-6 This can give us better insight into industry trends, helping to focus attention towards areas where employers and workers would benefit most from occupational safety and health interventions. NIOSH and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OHBWC) collaborated to publish one Read more [...]

New Burnout Prevention Training for Public Health

  A new free online training, Understanding and Preventing Burnout among Public Health Workers: Guidance for Public Health Leaders will help managers and supervisors prevent burnout in the public health workers they lead and in themselves. The course, from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, is part of a health worker mental health initiative. Designed for supervisors to fit into their busy schedules, the 3.5 hour training is divided into three units. Each unit consists Read more [...]

ABLES: A Leader in Public Health Lead Surveillance

In the early to mid-20th Century, it was becoming increasingly apparent that the metal lead had a Jekyll and Hyde persona. At that time, lead was a common and useful additive to paint and gasoline among other uses. However, evidence mounted, implicating lead as the cause of many health problems (see related blog). In adults, low levels of chronic, non-work-related lead exposure were linked to kidney damage, heart disease, infertility, and neurological disorders.[1] Symptoms of lead poisoning were Read more [...]

Mental Health, Alcohol Use, and Substance Use Resources for Workers and Employers

  The workplace is an important setting to address mental health conditions, excessive alcohol use, and other substance use disorders among workers. In 2021, more than half of U.S. adults who reported a mental illness in the last year were employed. National U.S. data show that 70% of all adults with a substance use disorder (including alcohol or illicit drug use disorders) are employed. Alarmingly, rates of suicide, drug overdose deaths, and deaths from conditions fully caused by alcohol Read more [...]

Safety Culture in Healthcare Settings

  As of 2019, more than 18 million people, 11.5 % of the United States workforce, were employed in healthcare settings. Everyday healthcare workers face hazardous work conditions due to exposures to infectious agents and hazardous drugs and chemicals. Examples include: Influenza Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Mycobacterium tuberculosis Antineoplastic agents Surgical smoke Disinfectants Physical agents like radiation Healthcare workers also perform risky tasks Read more [...]

When data are not there, what do we do? A multi-step approach to occupational health inequity research

When we have a research question but cannot find a dataset to answer it, what should we do? This situation happens quite often in new areas of research, such as occupational health inequities. One approach is to get funding to do primary research so that you can collect the data you need to answer the research question. This is easier said than done because without some assurance that the question is worth asking (i.e., there is existing data to show that the new research has the potential to benefit Read more [...]

Clearing Up Myths About Older Workers While Understanding and Supporting an Aging Workforce

  The National Center for Productive Aging and Work is a key part of the Total Worker Health® Program in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The center operates as a hub that conducts original research, fosters collaborations, and offers expert guidance to support an aging workforce. The center encourages workplaces to integrate workers of all ages, and it gives useful resources on age-related issues for businesses and industries. Why It Matters Trends in population Read more [...]