NIOSH Science Blog Posts

Take Action Now to Prevent Heat-Related Illness at Work

Before we enter summer, we should plan ahead for work-related heat exposure and the potential for heat-related illness among workers. Exposure to heat combined with physical activity and other factors in the environment can increase the body’s temperature and cause heat stress. The body responds to heat stress by trying to stabilize body temperature, a Read More >

Posted on by Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Brenda Jacklitsch, PhD, MS; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; and J’ette Novakovich, PhD, MS, MA3 Comments

Lifejackets for Lobstermen

  Falls overboard are the most frequent cause of death on the job for lobstermen in the U.S. The on-the-job death rate for fishermen nationwide is 31 times higher than any other industry. It is well-documented that wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) can help prevent these tragedies, but unfortunately most fishermen do not routinely Read More >

Posted on by Julie Sorensen, Rebecca Weil, Jessica Echard, Amanda Roome, and Erin Lally1 Comment

Workers Memorial Day 2021: Recognizing NIOSH’s First 50 Years

  Workers Memorial Day is recognized every year on April 28. It is a day established to honor workers injured or killed on the job, while reaffirming our commitment to safe and healthy workplaces for all. This date is also the anniversary of the date the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD10 Comments

Recent News about Night Shift Work and Cancer: What Does it Mean for Workers?

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently released a report about how persistent night shift work is related to cancer risk (1). This report follows a similar evaluation released in July, 2019 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (2), an update of their 2007 report (3). Both agencies reviewed existing studies of night Read More >

Posted on by Christina C. Lawson, PhD; Elizabeth A. Whelan, PhD; Tania Carreón-Valencia, PhD, MS; and Claire C. Caruso PhD, RN, FAAN2 Comments

Overview of The ASTM F3502-21 Barrier Face Covering Standard

  Unlike respirators and surgical masks, the masks worn to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 don’t have to meet federal standards to confirm their performance. That lack of standardized testing and labeling has left mask users with no way to compare face covering products to make informed decisions when choosing a face covering. While Read More >

Posted on by Jonathan Szalajda, MS; Jeffrey O. Stull, MS; and Lisa M. Brosseau, ScD, CIH10 Comments

NIOSH 50th Anniversary Honored by National Toxicology Program

This text was first published as an article in the April 2021 NIEHS newsletter Environmental Factor. Common goals and collaborative research signify the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s participation in the NTP. Marking a major milestone, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) acclaims its common goals and collaborative research with the National Institute for Read More >

Posted on by Carol Kelly2 Comments

Improving Our Understanding of Nonfatal Occupational Injuries

  Counting and describing nonfatal occupational injuries are vital to understanding and prevention. However, this is very difficult to accomplish on a national level. There are large numbers of injuries that are captured, in part, by different sources, and some are not captured at all. There is no single, comprehensive national source of occupational injury Read More >

Posted on by Audrey Reichard, MPH; and Suzanne Marsh, MPA2 Comments

Preventing Struck-by Injuries in Construction: Lift Zone Safety

The second annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents hosted by the NORA Construction Sector Council will take place April 26th, 2021, during National Work Zone Awareness Week (1). During this event, construction employers and employees will learn about best practices and methods to prevent struck-by incidents. Emphasis has been placed on the prevention of Read More >

Posted on by Kyle Hancock; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH1 Comment

Taking it to the Streets… and the Mines

Two unique NIOSH programs bring vital safety and health screening directly to miners. Mobile Hearing Tests Miners are at increased risk for noise-induced hearing loss from the use of high-powered motorized equipment, air-powered tools, and work involving striking, drilling and digging. To protect workers’ hearing, employers must have a hearing conservation program in place which Read More >

Posted on by Amanda Azman, Au.D; Cara N. Halldin, PhD, MPH; Christopher Parker; and Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MALeave a comment

Suicides Among First Responders: A Call to Action

  The recent Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” highlighted suicides as a significant public health problem. In 2019, there were 47,500 suicide fatalities in the U.S. and an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts[1]. The causes of suicide are complex, with many personal, socio-demographic, medical, and economic factors Read More >

Posted on by Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Katherine L. Elkins, MPH; Melissa Brown, DrPH; Suzanne Marsh, MPA; and Leslie M. Carson, MPH, MSW10 Comments

Stand-Down for Falls in Its 8th Year: Continuing Need to Prevent Falls in Construction in the U.S. and Internationally

The National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction was launched in 2012 through the NORA Construction Sector Council with leadership from NIOSH, OSHA, and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training to address the high rate of both fatal and nonfatal falls in the industry. While we encourage participation in the Campaign year-round, Read More >

Posted on by Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Sang D. Choi, Ph.D., MPH(c), CSP, CPE; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPHLeave a comment

COVID-19 and Wildland Firefighters

Wildfires do not stop during a pandemic. The 2020 fire season saw the first-ever single wildfire to burn over 1 million acres, with 44 days at the highest fire preparedness level (and 30 days higher than the 5-year average) when fire personnel and resources are extremely scarce. Circumstances surrounding wildfire incidents can put wildland firefighters Read More >

Posted on by Kathleen Navarro, PhD, MPH; Daniel Hardt, MS, CIH; and Kathleen Clark PhD, MS, RRTLeave a comment

NTOF: Understanding Worker Deaths through Surveillance

To accomplish the NIOSH mandate, “to assure so far as possible every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources,” an accurate, comprehensive accounting of the number of workers who die at work is needed. These data help identify high-risk worker populations and describe the circumstances Read More >

Posted on by Suzanne Marsh, MPALeave a comment

Dream to Reality: NIOSH Early Years

As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NIOSH, we look back on our history. The long hoped for goal of a federal entity devoted to occupational safety and health was taking shape in the mid to late 1960’s with collaborative work between and among scientists (both inside and outside of government), labor leaders, and legislators. Read More >

Posted on by Barbara L. Jenkins, MA, CA, and Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA4 Comments

Using Workplace Absences to Measure How COVID-19 Affects America’s Workers

Since September 2017, NIOSH has monitored the monthly prevalence of health-related workplace absences among full-time workers in the United States using nationally representative data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). This data can be a useful way to measure the effect COVID-19 has had on the U.S. working population. Read More >

Posted on by Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD; Hannah Free, MPH; and Amy Mobley, MEnLeave a comment

COVID-19 Poses Big Challenges for Small Construction Firms

Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals can help small construction firms build safety into their worksites, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small construction firms, with 20 or fewer employees, face constant challenges obtaining safety information and resources. They are less likely to belong to trade associations or be connected to unions, which are common sources Read More >

Posted on by Claudia Parvanta, PhD; Tessa Bonney, MPH, PhD; Lee Newman, MD, MA; Eileen Betit; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH1 Comment

Preventing Needlestick Injuries at COVID–19 Vaccination Sites

The need to administer large numbers of COVID–19 vaccines means work conditions may be dramatically different from the traditional setting. Administering vaccines to a large number of people in a variety of settings may increase the risk for needlestick injuries among vaccinators and other vaccination site workers. Needlestick injuries have the potential to transmit bloodborne pathogens (BBP), like hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This blog recommends safety measures to reduce needlestick injuries and exposures to bloodborne pathogens. Read More >

Posted on by Ahmed Gomaa, L. Casey Chosewood, Marie Haring Sweeney, Susan Afanuh, Sarah Hughes, Adam Hornbeck, and Amy Mobley5 Comments

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, SM2 Comments

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.S7 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 Read More >

Posted on by W. Jon Williams, Ph.D. and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, M.A.2 Comments