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Safer and Healthier at Any Age: Strategies for an Aging Workforce

Categories: Manufacturing, Total Worker Health

An older man standing in front of several unfinished doorsProfound changes continue to unfold in the American workforce as Baby Boomers—Americans born between 1945 and 1964—swell the ranks of our workplaces. This has led many employers to fear the possibilities of negative impacts associated with this demographic trend.  On one hand, they are concerned that having age-gifted workers on the job may mean escalating age-related healthcare costs, workers compensation and pension liabilities.  On the other hand, they worry about impacts on quality and productivity or an impending shortage of skilled labor as skilled, experienced veteran workers retire. But these concerns haven’t been paralyzing.  We’ve learned some employers are looking at the aging workforce issue more broadly, often positively, and have implemented policies and practices that support a more competitive, sustainable and safer workforce, regardless of its overall age.  We’ll share with you some strategies from our research and partners’ research and we invite you to share your own experiences as well.

Wildland Fire Fighting Safety and Health

Categories: At-risk Populations, Cardiovascular Disease, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Outdoor Work, Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Health

Photo courtesy of Todd Wyckoff, New Jersey Forestry Services

Wildland fires continue to increase in the Western United States as hot, dry and windy conditions persist, resulting in an extended fire season and factors conducive to fires. Currently, drought conditions are prevalent in the West due to low snow-pack levels, below average rainfall, record setting temperatures and high winds, resulting in a greater than average number of fires this year. Since January 2012, over 32,000 fires have burned almost 3.3 million acres in the US. [NIFC, 2012a].   (For current data see the Fighting Wildfires Topic Page).  Additionally, in the last 50 years, there has been a general increase in the occurrence and severity of forest wildfires in the US, as over 5 million wildfires have burned over 206 million acres [NIFC, 2012b]. 

When wildland fires occur in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), the area where houses meet undeveloped land, they can easily become catastrophic because a large number of people, homes and structures are at-risk. When a fire ignites in these areas, a quick and aggressive response from wildland fire agencies and wildland fire fighters is required. 

You Can Help Keep Your Kids Safe at Work

Categories: At-risk Populations, Manufacturing, Service Sector, Training, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Young Workers

Are you the parent of a teen or young adult?  Chances are he or she is looking for or has found a summer job.  Work provides teenagers with job skills, independence, and unique experiences that help them transition to adulthood. Despite the benefits of work for young people, a number of hazards exist in the work environment that put them at risk for injury, illness and even death.  Every minute a young worker is injured on the job[i]. Adolescents and young adults (age: 15–24 years) suffer approximately twice the rate of occupational injuries as older workers[i]. The United States has set a goal of reducing the incidence rate of occupational injury by 10% among adolescents aged 15–19 years old by 2020[ii].

While employers have the biggest responsibility to reduce occupational injuries among adolescent workers, others have crucial roles to play as well. The young workers themselves must follow the safe work practices established by their employers. Schools, labor unions, and federal and state agencies also bear responsibilities.  Parents, like you, also play a vital role in protecting young people in the workplace.

First Father’s Day Tied to the Workplace

Categories: Mining, Observances

Did you know that the first Father’s Day has workplace origins?  On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event to explicitly honor fathers.1  The Sunday sermon was held in memory of the 362 men who were killed in explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, West Virginia the previous December.  These explosions remain the worst mine disaster2 and the worst industrial catastrophe of any kind3 in the history of the United States.  The 362 casualties left more than 1,000 widows and children.

 
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