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Spooky Safety

Categories: Observances


Were you wondering how the NIOSH Science Blog was going to tie in to Halloween? After all, if we have something to say about National Doughnut Day, there has to be a connection to Halloween, right? For us, the problem was picking which horrifying hazard to highlight.

Well, we aren’t going to talk about the hazards related to candy manufacturing or those facing haunted house workers (think shiftwork or chainsaw noise). We won’t discuss the workplace challenges faced by Mummies (see: Safer and Healthier at Any Age), vampires, the headless horseman, witches, werewolves (must be clean shaven to pass a respirator fit test), haunted pirates, or those working or cohabiting with bats. We won’t get into preparing for a zombie apocalypse or touch on what doom awaits if you walk under a ladder. We won’t even discuss hazards faced by firefighters putting out Devil’s Night fires or the potential musculoskeletal disorders faced by pumpkin farmers or grave diggers.

Keeping the Momentum Going for Total Worker Health

Categories: Total Worker Health


Earlier this month NIOSH hosted the  1st International Symposium to Advance Total Worker HealthTM together with 17 other partners. The symposium was a tremendous success. The over 350 attendees were able to learn from the perspectives of over 100 presenters from within the United States and other countries representing nonprofit, private, government, and academic institutions, including the four NIOSH-funded Centers of Excellence to Promote a Healthier Workforce. We have seen lively post-conference discussions on other social networking sites (search #TWH2014 on Twitter and NIOSH Total Worker Health group on LinkedIn) and wanted to extend the conversation to our blog readers by asking the following questions:

  • What are the most pressing issues related to Total Worker Health?
  • If you attended the conference, what was the main message you took away from the meeting?  What would you like to see at future conferences?

In addition, on October 8-10, 2014, NIOSH was one of eight federal sponsors of the Healthier Federal Workers Conference. Over 130 individuals from more than 40 agencies attended the third Healthier Federal Workers conference that incorporated sessions with themes related to Total Worker Health. We have also seen lively conference discussions on Twitter (search #HFW2014). To keep the momentum going from this conference, we ask readers: What is the most pressing health challenge facing the federal workforce?

Given that there was such as wealth of information presented at these conferences and much more research being conducted, we have decided to post a series of blogs on Total Worker Health. Please provide your input on the questions posed in this blog in the comment section below and watch for upcoming posts on Total Worker Health issues.

For more highlights related to both conferences, see the Director’s Desk in the November issue of NIOSH eNews, coming soon!

Heidi Hudson, MPH and  Michelle Lee, BA, CWWS

LCDR Hudson is a US Public Health Service Officer and the Coordinator for Research Translation and Communication in the NIOSH Office for Total Worker Health.

Ms. Lee is a Public Health Associate in the NIOSH Office for Total Worker Health with a focus in Research Translation and Communication.



Drive Safely Work Week 2014

Categories: Motor Vehicle Safety


The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is calling on leaders of companies and organizations to emphasize road safety for all employees—not just those who drive company vehicles— as a core component of the organization’s safety culture. NIOSH supports this call to action. This year, the theme of Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), NETS’s signature campaign, is “Driving your safety culture home.” This year’s campaign will be observed October 6-10, 2014, but DSWW campaign materials can be used throughout the year.

Whether we are driving for work, commuting to and from work, or just running errands, we all share the risk and costs of motor vehicle crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.S., and the second leading cause of unintentional fatal injuries off the job. 1,2According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the annual economic cost of crashes is $277 billion, or nearly $900 for each person living in the U.S. Considering the fact that nearly half of the U.S. population is in the workforce, road safety campaigns designed for workers, their families, employers, and communities can make our roads safer.

Can Predictive Analytics Help Reduce Workplace Risk?

Categories: Safety and Health Data, Technology

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” — Niels Bohr



  • Text message to chemical plant manager: Chlorine leak expected on line 2 tomorrow. Inspect and repair.
  • High priority email and automatic call to coal mine superintendent: 83% chance of roof fall on section 4. Evacuate immediately and take corrective actions.
  • Monthly notice to OSHA regional administrator: HIGH PRIORITY INSPECTION ROSTER: Firms listed below have a greater than 80% probability of violations reflecting hazardous conditions requiring mitigation.

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