Category: COVID-19

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

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

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, MEn2 Comments

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 Mobley7 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

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, MS3 Comments

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

Working from Home: How to Optimize Your Work Environment and Stay Healthy

  Many workers continue to telework during the pandemic. While some may be fortunate to have a designated home office, others are competing for workspace with family members. A makeshift desk at the kitchen table or a temporary bedroom office are common. These new work arrangements combined with the additional stressors of working at home Read More >

Posted on by Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE; Jeannie A.S. Nigam, MS; Claire Caruso, PhD, RN, FAAN; Imelda Wong, PhD; and Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA5 Comments

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Opioid Overdose Epidemic: A Perfect Storm for Workers?

Introduction Before the pandemic took hold, the United States was already facing another public health crisis – alarming rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2018, 46,802 deaths were attributed to opioids, which accounted for 69% of all drug overdose deaths.1 Based on provisional data, an estimated 50,828 Americans died of opioid overdose in 2019 — Read More >

Posted on by Jamie Osborne, MPH, CHES®; L. Casey Chosewood, MD; and John Howard, MDLeave a comment

Supplementing the Supply of N95s with Reusable Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators

As we celebrate our annual Respiratory Protection Week Observance this year, we at NIOSH want to show our appreciation to all the workers who use respiratory protection and the manufacturers who develop these products to keep our nation’s workers safe. Whether your role is to heal, protect, create, or construct, we rely on your skills Read More >

Posted on by Lee Greenawald,PhD; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA and Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD7 Comments

Respiratory Protection vs. Source Control – What’s the difference?

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that adults and children two years and older wear a mask, especially when social distancing is not possible or feasible[1]. Cloth masks and medical masks used in healthcare settings (such as surgical or procedure masks) are important tools in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; LCDR Megan Casey, RN, BSN, MPH; and Maryann M. D’Alessandro, PhD17 Comments

Research Questions for Aerosol Scientists Addressing COVID-19 and the Workplace

  The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has raised many questions about the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, including the possibility of aerosol transmission. In the workplace, workers may encounter asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and symptomatic individuals who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and may expel airborne particles containing the virus. Aerosol scientists bring a Read More >

Posted on by William G. Lindsley, PhD; Francoise M. Blachere, MSc; Nancy C. Burton, PhD, MPH, CIH; Brian Christensen, MPH; Cherie F. Estill, PhD; Edward M. Fisher, MS; Stephen B. Martin, PhD, PE; Kenneth R. Mead, PhD, PE; John D. Noti, PhD; Melissa Seaton, MS, CIH3 Comments

Heat Stress Imposed by PPE Worn in Hot and Humid Environments

  A recent blog discussed prolonged respirator use and the potential physiological burden that could result from the buildup of CO2 within the respirator facepiece. Heat stress is another potential stress factor that healthcare workers (HCWs) who use personal protective equipment (PPE) and their employers should be aware of in order to recognize the signs Read More >

Posted on by W. Jon Williams, PhD and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA1 Comment

Skin Irritation from Prolonged Use of Tight-Fitting Respirators

Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs) are typically used by workers, including first responders and healthcare professionals, for short, infrequent periods of time to protect against potential airborne transmissible diseases. However, during widespread respiratory infectious disease outbreaks, there may be a need to implement respirator extended use practices due to an inadequate supply of FFRs. Skin irritation Read More >

Posted on by Adam Hornbeck, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, FNP-C; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; Selcen Kilinc-Balci, PhD, MBA; Dana Rottach, PhD; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; and Harold L. Boyles, RN, MSHCA1 Comment

How Collecting and Analyzing COVID-19 Case Job Information Can Make a Difference in Public Health

  Collecting, coding, analyzing and reporting industry and occupation data from COVID-19 cases is necessary to inform strategies to reduce the impact of the pandemic on workers. As described in the previous blog post, “Collecting occupation and industry data in public health surveillance systems for COVID-19,” it’s important to collect job information for all workers Read More >

Posted on by Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH; Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD; Amy Mobley, MEn; Stacey Marovich, MHI, MS; and Marie Haring Sweeney, PhDLeave a comment

The Role of Organizational Support and Healthy Work Design

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives and has had a significant effect on the well-being of workers (APA, 2020; Kaiser, 2020; Nigam et al., 2020). As the nation aims to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases and protect public health, employers are working to keep their businesses Read More >

Posted on by Emily J. Haas, PhD; Jeannie Nigam, MS; Jessica MK Streit, PhD, CHES®; Sudha Pandalai, MD, PhD; L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH; and Mary B. O’Connor, MS3 Comments

Improve Sleep: Tips to Improve Your Sleep When Times Are Tough

  Just like food or water, sleep is a biological necessity for life and health. Research shows that the hours we spend sleeping are incredibly important and far from passive. During sleep, your body is busy fighting off viruses and other pathogens, operating a waste removal system to clean the brain, looking for cancer cells Read More >

Posted on by Claire C Caruso PhD, RN, FAAN, and L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH7 Comments

Economic Security during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Healthy Work Design and Well-being Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting worker well-being in many ways, including through decreased economic security. Economic aspects of overall health and well-being, along with physical, psychological, and social aspects, are a fundamental focus of the NIOSH Healthy Work Design and Well-being Program (HWD). The mission of HWD is to protect and advance worker safety, Read More >

Posted on by Rene Pana-Cryan, PhD; Tapas Ray, PhD; Tim Bushnell, PhD, MPA; and Brian Quay, MS2 Comments

Making Industry and Occupation Information Useful for Public Health: A guide to coding industry and occupation text fields

  **This blog was updated on 3/19/2021 to reflect changes to NIOCCS.** This is the second blog in the series “COVID-19 Surveillance among Workers: What we know and what are we doing to learn more”. To learn more about occupation and industry data collection for acute infectious diseases, see the first blog Collecting occupation and Read More >

Posted on by Stacey Marovich, MHI, MS; Amy Mobley, MEn; and Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD2 Comments