Archive for NIOSH

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 [...]

Family Farms: When Working From Home Can Put Children at Risk

Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries for workers,[1] but since many farms share work and home spaces, it is also one of the few industries in which family members are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. Every day, 33 children in the United States are seriously injured in agricultural-related incidents, and every three days a child dies on a farm.[2] However, over 60% of children impacted by a farm incident were not working when the injury occurred.[3] Adult supervision Read more [...]

Promoting Best Practices for Clinical Care of 9/11-exposed Members

In September 2023, the nation observed the 9/11 Day of Remembrance to commemorate the tragic events that unfolded 22 years ago. The memories and impact of 9/11 have not faded with time. Importantly, although it’s been over two decades since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many people continue to suffer from physical and mental health conditions arising from exposure to those attacks and their aftermath. Also not fading with time is the commitment of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program to Read more [...]

Respiratory Protection Week 2023: Filling in the Gaps

We’re back for another Respiratory Protection Week! This year we’re shining some light on our Respirator Approval Program’s efforts to fill in gaps related to respiratory protection and answering some of your remaining questions about NIOSH Approved® respirators. As you may know, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the federal institute responsible for the evaluation and approval of respirators used in U.S. occupational settings. NIOSH’s Read more [...]

Labor Day 2023: Statement by NIOSH Director, John Howard, MD

Labor Day often evokes thoughts about the end of summer and start of a new school year. It can be easy to forget that the origins of the holiday lie in the labor movement of the late nineteenth century when workers fought for their rights, including safer working conditions. A lot has changed since then and while we have made significant progress in improving worker safety and health, new challenges continue to arise as work and workplaces evolve. At the National Institute for Occupational Safety Read more [...]

Workplace Safety and Health in a Barbie World

As the occupational safety and health community continues to combat very real and serious hazards, we are closing out the summer with a little fun. This summer Barbie and friends have recaptured national attention breaking box office records with movie ticket sales exceeding one billion dollars in just a few weeks. While Barbie’s first “job” in 1960 was as a fashion designer, she went on to hold over 200 jobs[1] across various industries (of course with the corresponding outfits Read more [...]

2023 Day of Service and Remembrance: Statement from Program Administrator, John Howard, MD

The events of September 11, 2001 devastated Americans 22 years ago. However, in the face of this tragedy we saw bravery, resilience, and hope in the actions of responders and survivors of those events. Today, the nation gathers together to observe this solemn National Day of Service and Remembrance. The World Trade Center Health Program honors all people impacted by 9/11. We remember those who lost their lives, those who survived, and all who responded with courage and selflessness at the World Trade Read more [...]

Training to Reduce Heat Stress Incidents Among Miners

Workers who are exposed to occupational heat stress (i.e., the combination of heat from environment factors, metabolic heat, and clothing/PPE) may be at risk for heat-related illnesses and injuries.  Heat-related illnesses may include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rashes, and rhabdomyolysis. Injuries with heat as a factor may also occur, such as falls when someone becomes dizzy or slips on sweat puddles on floors. All miners should be trained on heat stress, a growing issue Read more [...]

NIEHS and NIOSH Explore the Expansion of Recovery Friendly Workplace Programs

Recovery friendly workplaces (RFWs) have emerged around the United States as an important intervention to both prevent and address substance use disorders (SUD) and the opioid overdose crisis among workers. A RFW program strives to prevent SUD and overdose by creating a safe, hazard-free and healthy workplace by reducing the chance of injury and the subsequent use of opioids, providing support for workers who are struggling, and facilitating opportunities for employment for people in treatment and Read more [...]

Exploring Workers’ Compensation Injury Claims among Firefighters

  A recently published research article explored patterns and characteristics of workers’ compensation injury claims over a 17-year period among firefighters in Ohio. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) collaborated with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (OHBWC) to conduct the study, which provided valuable insights into the occupational health and safety challenges faced by firefighters. Based on data from the OHBWC claims database, Read more [...]

The Sound of Rockbursts: A new monitoring approach for longwall coal mines

  A rockburst is a phenomenon where rock or coal is violently ejected into mine openings. Rockbursts can release significant amounts of energy and have the potential to injure workers and disrupt operations. Despite decades of research, these events are notoriously difficult to predict, and focus has turned to managing the related risks. In hardrock mines, seismic monitoring – the same technology used to monitor earthquakes, has proven invaluable for understanding and managing rockburst-related Read more [...]

Protecting Workers and the Public from Wildfire Smoke

  The Canadian wildfires highlight the hazard of wildfire smoke, an issue faced annually by many communities across the United States. In this blog, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and National Center for Environmental Health teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide employers, workers, and the general public information to help stay protected from wildfire smoke. Wildfire smoke is Read more [...]

International Women in Engineering Day

  June 23, 2023 is International Women in Engineering Day. In the United States, women make up 14% of the engineering workforce (15% internationally).[1]  In 2020, 24% of bachelor’s degrees in engineering were earned by women, and women of color earned 10% of the total engineering degrees.[1]  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) understands the importance of diversity throughout the STEM fields and in occupational safety and health. To celebrate Read more [...]

Prevention of Injuries and Fatalities Involving Overturn of Drill Rigs and other Specialty Equipment for Foundation Construction

Introduction Every year, drill rigs and other heavy, specialty equipment used for deep foundation construction (Figure 1) overturn potentially causing injuries and fatalities, as well as damage to the surrounding sites. There are many safety hazards associated with working around this heavy equipment, including the “Focus Four Hazards”: falls, caught-in or -between, struck-by, and electrocution. However, the overturn of drill rigs and similar heavy equipment used for deep foundation construction Read more [...]

Los cascos para la construcción y las lesiones cerebrales traumáticas relacionadas con el trabajo

  Una lesión cerebral traumática (TBI, por sus siglas en inglés) es una perturbación en el funcionamiento normal del cerebro que puede ser causada por un golpe, una sacudida o una lesión penetrante en la cabeza. Las TBI son un problema de salud pública a nivel mundial y una de las causas principales de muerte y discapacidad relacionadas con lesiones [1]. Si bien las lesiones cerebrales traumáticas pueden ser leves, algunas pueden ser mortales Read more [...]

Tome medidas ahora para prevenir las enfermedades relacionadas con el calor en el trabajo

Antes de que comience el verano debemos prever las exposiciones al calor relacionadas con el trabajo y los posibles casos de enfermedades relacionadas con el calor entre los trabajadores. La exposición al calor, junto con la actividad física y otros factores ambientales, pueden aumentar la temperatura del cuerpo y causar estrés por calor. El cuerpo responde al estrés por calor con un intento de estabilizar su temperatura, un proceso que puede causar tensión por Read more [...]

Sharing quality information on all things related to hearing: Wiki4WorldHearingDay2023

Background The U.S. workforce is ethnically diverse. Lack of safety and health training and language barriers are among the most frequently cited challenges companies face in promoting safety among immigrant workers (Flynn, 2014). Contributing quality, plain language health information in multiple languages to Wikipedia increases its accessibility and reach. Unaddressed hearing loss is a serious and costly problem around the world. No matter the country, people with hearing difficulties often take Read more [...]

National Safety Month 2023

Each June, we celebrate National Safety Month. Safety matters every day of the year, but during June it gets the extra attention it deserves so we can all stay safe from the workplace to anyplace. As part of the celebration of safety, the National Safety Council (NSC) selects themes for each week of the month. This blog will highlight research and prevention efforts from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and NSC in this year’s focus areas of emergency preparedness; Read more [...]

NIOSH TWH Affiliate Program Rapidly Creating New Worker Well-being Opportunities

  The NIOSH Total Worker Health® Affiliate Program is growing quickly, demonstrating enthusiasm for Total Worker Health (TWH) approaches by employers, researchers, and practitioners. With over 55 members as of March 2023, the TWH Affiliate Program aims to advance worker safety, health, and well-being through non-funded collaborations with governmental and nonprofit organizations, including labor, education, training, and research organizations. Innovative Program Fosters Collaboration and Read more [...]

The National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank: Advancing Research and Treatment

The National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank (NMVB) is a virtual biospecimen tissue biorepository that was developed in 2006 at the University of Pittsburgh in partnership with a network of sites in the mid-Atlantic region.  It was created to assist researchers and healthcare professionals better understand and treat malignant mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive, and deadly type of cancer that is often associated with exposure to asbestos. While there are treatment options, Read more [...]

The National Firefighter Registry for Cancer: Understanding the Link Between Firefighting and Cancer

  Firefighting is a demanding profession that presents many risks from acute injuries on the fireground to long-term illness, like cancer. Firefighters can encounter cancer-causing chemicals by breathing them in, getting them on their skin or in their eyes, or by ingesting them. Exposure to these chemicals can occur while being near burning materials, from wearing turnout gear that is not properly cleaned or stored, and from residual contaminants in areas where firefighters work and live. Research Read more [...]

National Correctional Workers Appreciation Week 2023

  May 7-13, 2023, is National Correctional Officers Week also referred to as Correctional Workers Week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 393,000 correctional officers and jailers worked inside correctional facilities in the United States in 2021.[1] The total number of correctional workers is likely much higher as facilities may also employ chaplains, healthcare providers, teachers, food service workers, and maintenance personnel. Correctional workers face a variety Read more [...]

Economic Security and Worker Well-being

  The future of work incorporates ongoing and future changes to the workplace, work, and workforce. Understanding the adaptations in how work is being performed and the associated consequences on worker safety, health, and well-being is essential and requires sustained attention from occupational safety and health researchers and their partners. To meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the future of work, NIOSH launched a Future of Work Initiative (NIOSH FOW).[1] Its priority topics Read more [...]

Workers’ Memorial Day 2023: Statement by NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.

Each year, NIOSH pauses on April 28th, Workers’ Memorial Day, to honor those who were killed or injured on the job. While tremendous progress has been made since Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act on this day in 1970, much still needs to be done. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021 more than 5,100 workers were killed and 2.6 million more were injured on the job. The societal costs—not just economic, but the toll on families and loved ones—is Read more [...]

Honoring Science and Service at NIOSH

Exemplary science is the foundation for all National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research and prevention activities. Each year, NIOSH recognizes outstanding science and service from our employees. This year’s Science and Service Awards took place on April 27, 2023. The awards booklet contains the finalists, awardees, and honorable mentions as well as information on the occupational safety and health pioneers whom many of the awards are named after. The winners in each Read more [...]

Working Hours and Fatigue: Meeting the Needs of American Workers and Employers

In November 2022, the American Journal of Industrial Medicine (AJIM) published a special issue focusing on work-related fatigue. The issue explores factors that may increase work-related fatigue and actions to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses. [1] This issue is a result of discussions and collaborations from the 2019 NIOSH Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Forum and also pulls from reports by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on long work hours and shift work. Read more [...]

Research Shows Benefits of Reduced Aerial Ladder Rung Spacing

As a critical part of their job, firefighters often climb aerial ladders up to 30 meters (or 98 feet) long and positioned at various angles. Aerial ladders are mechanically-operated, long, extendable ladders mounted on fire trucks and are used to reach high places for extinguishing fires and rescue operations. While climbing, firefighters typically wear heavy protective equipment and may also carry additional equipment related to fighting fires or rescuing occupants from burning buildings. They may Read more [...]

Struck-By Injuries in the Construction Sector: Common Hazards, Barriers, and Opportunities to Keep Workers Safe

Struck-By Injuries Struck-by injuries occur from violent contact or impact between an object or piece of equipment and a person. Struck-by injuries can be fatal, and even when a worker is not seriously injured can result in days off work to recover. To help prevent struck-by injuries, companies are encouraged to have a stand-down; a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. This year will be the 4th annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents. This event Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery: Unknown Illness in Worker at Greeting Card Plant

Camilla works at a plant that produces greeting cards and ribbon products. She started working at the plant over 15 years ago when production first started. The plant is open around-the-clock for three shifts with workers in multiple departments across two floors of the building. Camilla worked in different departments over the years but spent the most time on the morning shift in greeting card production. She’s always loved holidays, and her favorite part of her job is seeing the new designs Read more [...]

Workplace Medical Mystery Solved: Unknown Illness in Worker at Greeting Card Plant

Camilla started experiencing worsening respiratory symptoms while working at a plant that produces greeting cards. Her doctor ordered tests to see what was happening with Camilla’s lungs. The results of two lung function tests showed concerning results. One was a carbon monoxide diffusing capacity test that estimates the ability of the lung to transfer oxygen from the air to the person’s bloodstream. The other was a spirometry test which measures the ability to move air in and out of Read more [...]

A Focus on the Occupational Safety and Health of Women in Mining

  The mining industry plays an important role in the U.S. economy and supply chain, with most products derived in part or entirely from mined rocks and minerals. Active mines can be found in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, [1] and include underground and surface mines operating in several different sectors, such as coal; metal; nonmetal; and stone, sand, and gravel. Women make up 10-17% of the mining workforce and have been underrepresented in occupational safety and Read more [...]

Critical Steps Your Workplace Can Take Today to Prevent Suicide

  Employers can play a vital role in suicide prevention. Historically, suicide, mental health, and well-being have been underrepresented in workplace health and safety efforts, but this is changing. In some European countries, there are workplace standards for workplace psychosocial hazards that put workers at risk for suicide. Additionally, in France, employers have been made accountable for toxic workplaces and management practices that contributed to worker suicides.[1] Some of the latest Read more [...]