NIOSH Science Blog Posts

Preventing Needlestick Injuries at COVID–19 Vaccination Sites

  Note: If you experience a needlestick from a used or contaminated needle, seek immediate evaluation and treatment. Call the PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) hotline at      1–888–448–4911 immediately for guidance on treating exposures. Introduction The availability of effective vaccines is a major milestone for the fight against the virus that causes COVID–19. However, the effort to Read More >

Posted on by Ahmed Gomaa, L. Casey Chosewood, Marie Haring Sweeney, Susan Afanuh, Sarah Hughes, Adam Hornbeck, and Amy MobleyLeave a comment

Lung Disease in Textile Workers

This blog is part of a series for NIOSH’s 50th anniversary highlighting research and prevention throughout the Institute’s history. Background Since the 1970s, NIOSH has worked to prevent illness from cotton dust. Byssinosis is an airways disease with features of both asthma and COPD that occurs with exposure to cotton dust. In the early 1970s, Read More >

Posted on by David C. Christiani, MD, MPH, SMLeave a comment

Advancements in Elastomeric Respirator Technology for Use as Source Control

Respirator design is constantly improving and evolving to meet new challenges. Manufacturers have recently developed innovative NIOSH-approved elastomeric half mask respirator (EHMR) designs that both protect the wearer as well as provide adequate source control – protecting others by filtering the wearer’s exhaled air that may contain harmful viruses or bacteria. EHMRs are being used more Read More >

Posted on by Rohan Fernando, M.S; Jeffrey Peterson; and Lee Portnoff, M.S6 Comments

The Physiological Response of Working in Cold Environments and how your PPE can Help

Recent NIOSH science blogs have discussed the physiological impact of wearing respirators. The first blog in this vein explored the Physiological Burden of Prolonged PPE Use on Healthcare Workers during Long Shifts, including potential CO2 buildup. A second blog addressed Heat Stress Imposed by PPE Worn in Hot and Humid Environments and how healthcare workers Read More >

Posted on by W. Jon Williams, Ph.D. and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, M.A.1 Comment

Relationship Advice on Valentine’s Day: Quality Assurance—In a Respirator, That Is

  On this Valentine’s Day, what lessons can respirator manufacturers learn from Liz Taylor, Larry King, Lana Turner, and Mickey Rooney? Why, the importance of quality assurance, of course. All of these celebs were married eight times—for Liz and Larry, they actually tied the knot twice with the same person—but their repeated unluckiness in love Read More >

Posted on by Joseph Schall, MA; Rhonda Sheets; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA1 Comment

NIOSH Directors

Since the creation of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 1971, the Institute has had six Directors who shaped NIOSH into what it is today. The Occupational Safety and Health Act states “The Institute shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MALeave a comment

Protecting Worker Hearing

These days it seems there are so many steps to stay safe from the COVID-19 virus, but we should also remember to remain diligent in our efforts to protect against other workplace hazards. There is a dramatic impact on quality of life associated with worker hearing loss and ‘ringing in the ears’ (tinnitus). Unless precautions Read More >

Posted on by Elizabeth A. Masterson, PhD, CPH, COHC; Amanda S. Azman, AuD; and Travis Parsons, MS2 Comments

Envisioning the Future of Construction: Challenges and Opportunities for Occupational Safety and Health

Introduction Today’s construction industry is quite different than what existed just a few decades ago. These days, it is much less common to see workers hauling around rolls of hand drawn blueprints, punching numbers into printing calculators, or fiddling with slide rules. Records and plans are now created and stored digitally; workers use new, more Read More >

Posted on by Melissa Edmondson, MS, CIH, CPH, and Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP2 Comments

Overview of the ASTM F3407 Standard Test Method for Respirator Fit Capability

The Fundamental Importance of Fit One of the most important criteria for any filtering facepiece air-purifying respirator to be effective is that a good seal is formed between the respirator’s facepiece and the wearer’s skin. The ability to achieve this seal is called the respirator’s fitting characteristic. In 1995, when NIOSH put Title 42 Code Read More >

Posted on by Christopher Coffey, PhD; Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH; M. E. Bonnie Rogers, DrPH; and Jonathan Szalajda, MS3 Comments

Choosing the “Right” Fatigue Monitoring and Detection Technology

Fatigue can shorten concentration, slow reaction times and impair decision-making skills resulting in increased health and safety risks for workers. It has been estimated that one in five fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. can be attributed to fatigue. In addition, workers with sleep problems are 62% more likely to experience a work-related injury1,2. Read More >

Posted on by Imelda Wong, PhD; Kyla Retzer, MPH; and Emanuele Cauda, PhDLeave a comment

COVID-19 and Workplace Fatigue: Lessons Learned and Mitigation Strategies

  The declaration of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a US public health emergency on March 13, 2020, altered the way we work and live, intensified feelings of stress, and created uncertainty about the future for many people. The closure of many businesses led to financial instability and the highest unemployment rates since 1976 1. Read More >

Posted on by Imelda Wong, PhD; and Mary B. O’Connor, MS1 Comment

The Role of Organizational Design in the Future of Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted our society and economy. Every day, employers and workers find themselves encountering unforeseen challenges, finding novel ways of working, and adapting to a “new normal.” In a time when much is unknown, one thing is clear: the future of work is already here. As it unfolds, the future of Read More >

Posted on by Sara L. Tamers, PhD, MPH; Jessica M.K. Streit, PhD, CHES®; Naomi Swanson, PhD; and Leslie Hammer, PhDLeave a comment

NIOSH Celebrates 50 Years in 2021

In 2021 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that created NIOSH “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions.” NIOSH began operating on April Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA; John P. Sadowski, PhD; and Barbara L. Jenkins, MA, CA4 Comments

Most-viewed NIOSH Products of 2020

Each January we look back on the most popular NIOSH information from the prior year. With 2020 focused on COVID-19, much of what was posted and accessed on the NIOSH website and the NIOSH social media accounts related to the pandemic. NIOSH is responsible for certifying respirators, including N95 filtering facepiece respirators. Throughout the pandemic Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA; Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA; Katie Shahan, JD; Burt Tienken2 Comments

Understanding the Broad Class of Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers (CNT/F) Used or Produced in U.S. Facilities

  Engineered nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes and nanofibers (CNT/F), hold great promise for society by revolutionizing many industries with applications from medicine to manufactured composites. The properties that make them so promising may also have the potential to cause harm to people if inhaled. Understanding potential health effects, conducting field exposure studies, and developing Read More >

Posted on by Aaron Erdely, Ph.D.; Kelly Fraser; Vamsi Kodali Ph.D.; Charles Geraci, Ph.D., CIH, FAIHA; Matthew Dahm, PhD, MPH; and Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan, PhDLeave a comment

NIOSH Efforts to Keep Workers and the Country Safe During the Pandemic

  It is an understatement to say that 2020 was an unprecedented year. As we enter 2021 with hope and optimism, we would like to highlight the work of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) staff who worked tirelessly to protect workers and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The NIOSH mission is Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; RADM (retired) Margaret M. Kitt, MD, MPH; and CAPT Lisa Delaney, MS, CIHLeave a comment

Lighting Interventions to Reduce Circadian Disruption in Rotating Shift Workers

  Shift work has been linked to poor sleep, chronic metabolic disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity), several forms of cancer [1-3], depression, and elevated risk for the occurrence of accidents. These risks are especially acute for those who work rotating shifts that involve working through the night [4-8], as sometimes occur in hospitals. Read More >

Posted on by Mariana G. Figueiro, PhD, and David PedlerLeave a comment

Celebrating Nurses

Could there be a more fitting year to honor nurses?  As 2020 comes to a close, so does our blog series celebrating the Year of the Nurse.  The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our healthcare system and, in some cases, pushed it to the brink. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are working tirelessly and sacrificing much Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD6 Comments

Exoskeletons and Occupational Health Equity

  In the workplace, you need your equipment to fit perfectly. Historically, personal protective equipment (PPE) had been developed from measurements taken from male military recruits in the United States during the 1950s to the 1970s [1]. These data do not represent the range of body shapes and sizes in the majority of the modern Read More >

Posted on by Lakshmi D. Robertson, DrPH, MSPH; Laura Syron, PhD, MPH; Michael Flynn, MA; Ted Teske, MA; Hongwei Hsiao, PhD; Jack Lu, PhD, CPE; and Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE7 Comments

Preventing Needlesticks and Sharps Injuries: Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act

November marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (PL 106-430) into law. The act required that OSHA amend its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to include additional protections for workers to prevent occupational exposures to blood and body fluids. This included: new requirements for the evaluation and use of engineering Read More >

Posted on by Amber Hogan Mitchell, DrPH, MPH, CPH8 Comments