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The History and Future of NIOSH Morgantown

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Mining, Motor Vehicle Safety, Nanotechnology, Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Health, Safety and Health Data, Violence

The state-of-the-art NIOSH Morgantown facility opened in 1996.

To commemorate Workers Memorial Day, NIOSH is hosting a week of blogs with a new post each day ending on Monday, April 28th.  To start us off, we will highlight the past and look to the future with a retrospective on the history of occupational safety and health research and NIOSH in Morgantown, West Virginia.   

Occupational safety and health research has deep roots in Morgantown. In 1967, the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Respiratory Diseases (ALFORD) was created within the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) to focus on a prominent problem of the Appalachian occupational environment–”black lung disease” in coal miners. ALFORD’s director was Dr. W. Keith Morgan. The lab was initially housed in the West Virginia University (WVU) Health Sciences Center, and its research focused on detecting black lung disease and assessing its physiological effects. In 1969, work began on a new facility for ALFORD on 4.6 acres of land donated by WVU to PHS. In the same year, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 (Coal Act) was passed. The Coal Act mandated a range of measures to protect coal miners, including limits on coal mine dust exposures and a program providing medical screening with chest radiographs to coal miners at operators’ expense.

Free On-line Violence Prevention Training for Nurses

Categories: Health care, Training, Violence

In 2012, the Healthcare and Social Assistance (HCSA) sector was amongst the largest industry sectors in the U.S. employing an estimated 19.4 million workers (13.5% of the total workforce)[1]. On average, over the last decade, U.S. healthcare workers have accounted for two-thirds of the nonfatal workplace violence injuries in all industries involving days away from work [2].  Healthcare workers face the risk of both physical violence and non-physical violence, such as verbal abuse, on the job.  These numbers represent only the assaults that resulted in time away from work and not the less severe physical injuries or the psychological trauma that HCSA workers experience from workplace violence. Additionally, these data only capture the reported incidents.  The literature suggests that the number of assaults reported by healthcare workers is greatly underreported.

Reducing Taxicab Homicides

Categories: Motor Vehicle Safety, Service Sector, Transportation, Violence, Wholesale and Retail Trade

Photo of the type of camera used in New York City and Seattle taxicabs.

Taxicab drivers face one of the highest homicide rates of any occupation.  While rates of homicide have declined among the general working population (in 2010, 0.37 per 100,000 employed), they remain high in the taxicab industry (7.4 per 100,000 employed for the same year).  In the early 1990s, bullet-resistant partitions were the dominant safety equipment in use in taxicabs.  Currently, cameras are in greater use and have become the security equipment of choice for industry regulators and taxicab fleet operators.

New research from NIOSH examines the effectiveness of partitions and security cameras in reducing homicides among taxicab drivers.  This is the first study to methodically collect data from a nationally representative sample of the largest taxicab cities.  Data was collected over a 15-year time span (1996-2010) for 26 cities (8 cities using security cameras, 7 cities using partitions, and 11 control cities that used neither cameras nor partitions) and allows for comparison of homicide rates pre- and post-installation of cameras.  The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Women’s Health at Work

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Cancer, Chemicals, Construction, Health care, Personal Protective Equipment, Reproductive Health, Service Sector, Stress, Transportation, Violence, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Women

 

This week is Women’s Health Week. With over 58% of U.S. women in the labor force[i], the workplace must be considered when looking at women’s overall health.   We must keep in mind that susceptibility to hazards can be different for men and women.  Additionally, women face different workplace health challenges than men partly because men and women tend to have different kinds of jobs. Women generally have more work-related cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, and anxiety and stress disorders.  Social, economic, and cultural factors also put women at risk for injury and illness.  While workplace exposures can affect both male and female reproduction, issues related to reproduction and pregnancy are of particular concern to women.  Below you will find summaries, with links to more research, of some hazards faced by women in the workplace as well as links to industry-specific research from NIOSH  that relates to women.   More information is available on the NIOSH topic page Women’s Safety and Health Issues at Work.

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