Archive for NIOSH

Respiratory Protection During Outbreaks: Respirators versus Surgical Masks

Consistent use of respirators improves protection against respiratory illness Consistent use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is an important part of the strategy to protect healthcare professionals from inhaling infectious particles, preventing the spread of respiratory infection between healthcare professionals and patients. Two types of devices are most commonly used in the healthcare setting: N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and surgical masks (commonly called facemasks). In consideration Read more [...]

NIOSH Encourages Worker Well-Being Research

NIOSH continues to seek new ways to promote worker well-being research through programs and new initiatives, including the Total Worker Health® and Healthy Work Design and Well-being cross-sector programs. Total Worker Health (TWH) is a holistic approach to worker well-being. By acknowledging work-related risk factors that can impact health, the TWH approach seeks to improve the well-being of the American workforce, protecting safety and enhancing health and productivity. The newest NIOSH cross-sector Read more [...]

Managing Fatigue During Times of Crisis: Guidance for Nurses, Managers, and Other Healthcare Workers

At times of crisis, healthcare workers (e.g., nurses, advanced practice nurses, physicians, nursing assistants, etc.) continue to provide care, despite ever challenging work demands, including higher influx of critically ill patients, increased work stress, and a frequent need for overtime. These work demands can compound already challenging work schedules (i.e. 12-hour shifts, night shifts), making it more difficult to obtain regular shift breaks and enough time off between shifts for adequate recovery. Read more [...]

The Need for Fit Testing During Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Proper respirator use is essential for healthcare workers who are expected to interact with patients with infectious respiratory diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires healthcare facilities to maintain a respiratory protection program that specifies requirements such as annual fit testing, medical clearance, and training. Initial fit testing is required before using a respirator. In addition to annual fit testing, fit testing is required when there are changes Read more [...]

‘Take-Home’ Exposures Still Persist

Occupational health has evolved into a largely technical field dedicated to identifying and eliminating the physical, chemical, and biologic hazards found at the workplace (Peckham et al, 2017). Central to this approach has been the distinction between work-related and non-work-related exposures, injuries, and illnesses which has become a line of demarcation between occupational safety and health and other disciplines within public health (Flynn 2018; Flynn and Wickramage 2017). However, there is Read more [...]

Proper N95 Respirator Use for Respiratory Protection Preparedness

When outbreaks of infectious disease occur, we rely on healthcare professionals to care for those affected, putting themselves at increased risk of exposure to the pathogen causing the disease. While engineering and administrative controls should be the first considerations to protect these workers from this exposure, facilities should also ensure that at-risk employees are prepared to use respiratory protection, among other personal protective equipment, should the need arise. To aid healthcare Read more [...]

Artificial Intelligence Crowdsourcing Competition for Injury Surveillance

In 2018, NIOSH, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) contracted the National Academies of Science (NAS) to conduct a consensus study on improving the cost-effectiveness and coordination of occupational safety and health (OSH) surveillance systems. NAS’s report recommended that the federal government use recent advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the processing of data in OSH surveillance Read more [...]

Year of the Nurse

The World Health Organization has designated 2020 the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Nurses play a critical role in our healthcare system and in the lives of the  patients they care for. The very act of caring for and serving others can place nurses at risk for many workplaces injuries and illnesses including those related to: lifting and repetitive tasks, long hours, changing shifts, violence, stress, falls due to slippery or uneven walking surfaces, and exposure to infectious diseases Read more [...]

Are There Nano- and Microplastics in the Workplace?

The growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment is receiving an increasing amount of attention (see article in Nature). Small particles of plastics are often referred to as microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5 mm [1]) and nanoplastics (the nanoscale fraction of plastic particles). Nano- and microplastic particles (NMPPs) can be formed through environmental and mechanical degradation (the top-down mechanism). They can be also generated through condensation of molecular species, Read more [...]

Made for Each Other – a Valentine’s Day Note about Approved Respirator Configurations

It’s Valentine’s day, which means that NIOSH has some relationship advice for you … and your respirator. Have you ever become infatuated with thinking about your compatibility in a relationship – inspecting and examining every detail? Yeah. We do that too. In fact, NIOSH evaluates every respirator assembly configuration to determine that the performance requirements are met to ensure reliability. Much like when you bring your new “special someone” home to meet Read more [...]

World Cancer Day 2020 – Reflecting on a Decade of NIOSH Cancer Research

February 4th, 2020 is World Cancer Day, and we are reflecting on the role of the occupational cancer research being done at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in reducing the burden of cancer worldwide. Cancer develops as a result of the body losing its ability to control the growth and spread of abnormal cells. Globally, cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death accounting for 9.6 million deaths in 2018 (IARC 2020). There are 17 million people diagnosed with cancer Read more [...]

Drug Overdose in the Workplace and the Role of Opioids

The drug overdose epidemic continues to afflict our country. Nationally, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 [i] involving opioids (such as fentanyl, heroin and hydrocodone), stimulants (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and alcohol.[ii] Nearly 70% of these deaths involved an opioid.[ii] Recent data show that drug overdoses at work are increasing. A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics national data identified Read more [...]

The Burden of Work-Related Asthma

Over 300 workplace substances have been identified to cause new-onset asthma and the list continues to grow 1, 2. Other substances can aggravate pre-existing asthma, causing increased illness and medication requirements. Work-related asthma (WRA) comprises both new-onset and work-aggravated asthma3. An estimated 15-55% of all adult asthma is related to work4-7. Since 1988, Michigan has received funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for the development and Read more [...]

U.S. Surgeon General Highlights the Value of Worker Well-Being and the NIOSH Total Worker Health® Approach

In a recent article in Public Health Reports, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral (VADM) Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, recognizes the important relationship between employment and health. The article, “The Value of Worker Well-being,” also highlights the efforts of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the NIOSH Office of Total Worker Health®, the NIOSH-funded Total Worker Health (TWH) Centers of Excellence, and NIOSH TWH affiliates. The U.S. Surgeon General Read more [...]

2019 in Review

  January is often a time for reflection and review.  We are doing the same with NIOSH social media.  If you missed any NIOSH tweets, blogs, Facebook or Instagram posts, or other electronic media over the past year we have made it easy for you to catch up!  If you don’t follow any of these channels, make it your 2020 resolution to stay up-to-date on the latest information from NIOSH. Below we present the most popular NIOSH products and Read more [...]

Injury Among Temporary and Permanent Workers in Ohio

There are an estimated 1.4 million temporary help agency workers in the US.[i] However, to date, there has been limited research comparing injury rates of temporary and permanent workers. NIOSH recently published “Comparative analyses of workers’ compensation claims of injury among temporary and permanent employed workers in Ohio” in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The study analyzed over 1.3 million workers’ compensation (WC) claims in Ohio from 2001-2013 (including Read more [...]

Industrial Exoskeletons

Exoskeletons used in the workplace are referred to as “industrial exoskeletons.” Their purpose is to augment, amplify, or reinforce the performance of a worker’s existing body components—primarily the lower back and the upper extremity (arms and shoulders). Despite a lack of research, manufacturers of these devices claim productivity gains, work quality improvements, and a reduction of the risk of work‐related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). A new commentary from Read more [...]

Understanding the Economic Benefit Associated with NIOSH Research and Services: A Second Report of NIOSH Impact by RAND

NIOSH continues to quantify the benefits of its research and services in terms of lives saved, injuries or illnesses averted, or increases in worker productivity. Three new case studies highlight the economic benefits of personal dust monitors for coal miners, improved ambulance design, and improved amputation surveillance. These case studies are presented in a new RAND report and add to three previous case studies, as reported in a 2018 NIOSH Science blog. NIOSH tasked RAND with conducting Read more [...]

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人造石檯面,又稱「石英石檯面」,由石英骨料和樹脂粘合劑聚合而成。這些材料的外觀與天然石材相似,正越來越廣泛地用於住宅建築和家居裝飾中。在 Read more [...]

Brote de silicosis entre los trabajadores de mesones de piedra de ingeniería en cuatro estados

Los mesones hechos con piedras de ingeniería, que también se llaman “superficies de cuarzo”, se producen fusionando agregados de cuarzo con un aglutinante de resina. Estos materiales tienen una apariencia similar a la de la piedra natural y su uso se ha vuelto cada vez más popular en la construcción de casas y las mejoras del hogar. La importación de superficies de cuarzo a los Estados Unidos ha aumentado aproximadamente un 800 % entre el 2010 y Read more [...]

Asociación para educar sobre la seguridad y salud del trabajador a personas que están aprendiendo inglés en Alaska

En los Estados Unidos, la adquisición de conocimientos básicos de inglés juega un papel importante en la salud pública, como también en la seguridad y salud en el lugar de trabajo. Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) han indicado que las personas necesitan tener conocimientos básicos sobre salud para lo siguiente: Encontrar información y servicios. Comunicar sus necesidades y preferencias, y responder a información Read more [...]

Special Delivery! Remember the Workers Behind Your Holiday Packages

Chances are this holiday season you will send and/or receive a package. Probably several. We all delight in the ‘miracle’ of a package arriving on our doorstep a mere few days after ordering. It’s easy to forget that there is no magic involved. Considerable effort and many workers are responsible for the arrival of your holiday gifts. We present the lifecycle of your gift and point out the workers involved and some of the safety and health issues faced at every step. This holiday Read more [...]

Wholesale and Retail Trade Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries and Illnesses: 2006–2016

In 2010, NIOSH published a comprehensive overview of the 2006 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the Wholesale and Retail Trade (WRT) sector. Recently, NIOSH researchers expanded on this study to include the ten years of BLS data that followed, for a richer, more complex view. The resulting article, “Wholesale and Retail Trade Sector Occupational Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries and Illnesses from 2006–2016: Implications for Intervention,” Read more [...]

Bathroom Breaks

Although workers may assume that they will have access to bathrooms at work, many workers in a wide range of industries and occupations say they cannot take the bathroom breaks they need while working.1-6 Insufficient bathroom breaks are an important health and safety consideration for many jobs, such as those involving patient care or specific production schedules.4,7 Pregnant workers, older workers, and workers with certain medical conditions might also need to use the bathroom more often than Read more [...]

The Role of Veterinarians in the Opioid Crisis

More than 399,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription and illicit opioids from 1999-2017.[i] There are many efforts to educate physicians and dentists about their roles and responsibilities in addressing this national crisis. But what about veterinarians? Animals, like humans, may receive opioids for pain. Veterinarians and veterinary clinics can be registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and in many states can administer, prescribe, stock, and dispense opioids. As efforts Read more [...]

Wearable Technologies for Improved Safety and Health on Construction Sites

Background Wearable technologies are an increasingly popular consumer electronic for a variety of applications at home and at work. In general, these devices include accessories and clothing that incorporate advanced electronic technologies, often with smartphone or ‘internet of things’ (IoT) connectivity. While wearables are increasingly being used to improve health and well-being by aiding in personal fitness, innovative applications for monitoring occupational safety and health risk Read more [...]

Preparing Your Fleet for Automated Vehicles

Many of us already drive personal or company vehicles with automated features such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. While automation clearly improves safety, it also presents new issues for safety professionals. Companies need to integrate policies on vehicles with automated features into their current fleet safety management systems. They also need to consider how they’ll manage the more highly-automated vehicles that will be available in the future. To help safety Read more [...]

Partnering to Educate English-Language Learners in Alaska on Worker Safety and Health

When you think of diversity in the United States, does Alaska come to mind? In fact, Anchorage, Alaska has some of the most ethno-racially diverse neighborhoods and public schools in the entire U.S. This diversity includes nearly one in ten Anchorage residents identifying as foreign born (Farrell, 2018). In terms of languages spoken in the city, the Anchorage School District has identified over 100 languages that are spoken either by its English-language learners as their first language, or by these Read more [...]

Can Pregnant Workers Receive and Administer Flu Vaccines? Yes!

Every flu season, NIOSH gets questions from pregnant workers about the flu and flu vaccines. Here are the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions, including getting the flu shot at work and administering flu shots to patients.   Can I get a flu shot if I’m pregnant? Yes. CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that all women who are or will be pregnant during influenza season get the flu shot.1,2The flu shot can be given at any time during Read more [...]

Outbreak of Silicosis among Engineered Stone Countertop Workers in Four States

Engineered stone countertops, also known as “quartz surfacing,” are made from quartz aggregate held together with a resin binder. These materials are similar in appearance to natural stone and have become increasingly popular for use in home building and home improvement. Quartz surface imports to the United States have increased approximately 800% during 2010–2018 (U.S. International Trade Commission). Engineered stone materials may contain substantially more crystalline silica Read more [...]

Occupational Exposure Banding and Workplace Chemicals

For workers in a variety of industries, exposure to chemicals is commonplace. American workers handle, transport, or encounter thousands of chemicals every day, from cleaning products to industrial solvents. Although many of these chemicals have important uses, they can also be harmful to workers who are exposed to them. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) are developed for hazardous chemicals to reduce the risk of adverse health effects for workers with potential exposures. Unfortunately, of the Read more [...]

The Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT) for Construction

Organizational safety climate is defined as shared perceptions among employees regarding what is rewarded, expected, valued, and reinforced in the workplace with respect to safety (Zohar, 1980). It can positively influence employee safety knowledge, motivation, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as reduce injury outcomes (e.g., Clarke, 2010, Probst et al., 2008, Probst and Estrada, 2010, Zohar, 2010). Research reported in the Journal of Safety Research shows that the Safety Climate Assessment Tool Read more [...]

It’s National Bosses Day. Who is your dream boss?

Having a “dream job” is an aspiration for many people, but without a good boss, a dream job can become a nightmare. Our front-line supervisor or manager plays an unparalleled role in creating and sustaining safe work environments, health supportive-policies, and psychosocial safety. The best bosses partner with workers to design healthy jobs that provide meaning and social support and are rewarding –in all senses. A great leader can positively impact our health, quality of life, Read more [...]

Nanotechnology Research at NIOSH

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are materials that are intentionally produced to have at least one primary dimension less than 100 nanometers. These materials have new or unique properties different from those of larger forms of the same material, making them desirable for specific product applications. These properties can contribute to increased elasticity, tensile strength, electrical conduction, and reactivity. Consumer products using nanomaterials include makeup, Read more [...]

NIOSH Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Forum: A Recap and Future Directions

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has had a longstanding interest in nonstandard work hours and associated health and safety effects. The last NIOSH meeting on this topic was held in 2004 and centered around long working hours and the impact on injuries, illnesses, and health behaviors. To build on this expertise, the NIOSH Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Forum: Meeting the needs of American Workers and Employers was recently hosted by the Healthy Work Design Program’s Read more [...]

Older Wholesale and Retail Workers in Nonstandard Work Arrangements

National Employ Older Workers Week takes place the final week in September and recognizes the vital role of older workers [U.S. DOL 2019]. By 2020, workers aged 55 and over will likely make up about 25 percent of the U.S. workforce [BLS 2018]. Within the Wholesale and Retail Trade (WRT) Sector alone, in 2017 almost 4.5 million workers (more than 22 percent) are over age 55, up from 3.8 million workers in 2011 [BLS 2018]. There are many advantages to hiring older workers. In general, they have more Read more [...]

Small Business International Travel: NIOSH Has You Covered

Your company just landed a business deal overseas. It’s an exciting opportunity for the company and for your employees. But you are a small company with limited resources. What are the next steps for international business travel? Travel visas, vaccinations, import restrictions. How do you ensure your employees’ safe and healthy travel? NIOSH to the rescue. Many small businesses lack dedicated travel and human resource staff to plan such trips. This puts more responsibility for safe and Read more [...]

Reducing Fatigue and Stress in the Retail Industry: Workplace solutions

Workplace fatigue and stress is a growing topic for worker safety and health research. For instance, workplace studies have shown that the nature of retail industry work may cause fatigue and stress. Nonstandard work schedules such as irregular and extended shifts, long periods of standing, and reduced staffing are a few reasons for health issues related to job fatigue and stress [Anderson and Chun 2014; Greenhouse 2015; ACOEM 2012; Katz and Krueger 2016; NIOSH 2019]. Surveys and studies have shown Read more [...]

Statement by Dr. John Howard on the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance

The passage of time does not make the memories of 18 years ago any less vivid. As I take a moment on this National Day of Service and Remembrance to reflect on the events of September 11th, 2001, and the tragic loss of life on that day, I am also thinking of those people we are still losing to 9/11’s aftermath. The exposures at the World Trade Center in New York City, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site have caused a wide variety of health conditions. Read more [...]

¿Reduce el calzado antideslizante los resbalones, tropezones y caídas en entornos de servicios alimentarios?

Los resbalones, tropezones y caídas son el segundo tipo de causa más común de las lesiones mortales relacionadas con el trabajo y el tercer tipo de causa más común de las lesiones no mortales relacionadas con el trabajo en los Estados Unidos (1, 2). Aunque las caídas desde alturas tienen más probabilidades de causar la muerte, las caídas en el mismo nivel (que a menudo comienzan como un resbalón o tropezón) ocurren con más Read more [...]