Category: COVID-19

Scientific Peer Review During the Pandemic and Beyond: Changes, Benefits, and Impacts

  The COVID-19 pandemic began significantly impacting the operations of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in March 2020. Travel restrictions were implemented, and CDC employees ordered to work from home. The Office of Extramural Programs (OEP) Review Team had a confirmed in-person peer review meeting for World Trade Center Health Program Read More >

Posted on by Michael Goldcamp, Melinda Sinkule, JoAnne Fairbanks, and Allen RobisonLeave a comment

Risk-Based Model to Resume Field Research and Public Health Service During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces across the world strictly limited or ceased in-person activities, including parts of the Federal government.  While much work continued remotely, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) needed to make decisions about allowing employees to travel to conduct workplace safety and health field research and public health Read More >

Posted on by Douglas Johns, PhD, MS; Kristin Yeoman, MD, MPH; Joshua Harney, MS; John Howard, MD; and Gerald Poplin, PhD, MSLeave a comment

Demonstrating the Ability to Protect Healthcare Personnel from COVID-19 in High-Risk Settings

This content can also be found on CDC’s Safe Healthcare Blog. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about stresses to the U.S. healthcare workforce never seen before. Since early in the pandemic, reports have abounded of healthcare personnel (HCP) being infected, sometimes resulting in severe outcomes and death. As of July 20, 2022, there have been nearly 1 Read More >

Posted on by L. Clifford McDonald, MD, and David Weissman, MD2 Comments

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Teleworking During the COVID-19 Pandemic

New research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examined racial disparities in teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic and estimated the extent to which these disparities are explained by education, occupation and racial discrimination. Teleworking, also known as telecommuting or virtual working, is an alternative type of work arrangement that uses information Read More >

Posted on by Abay Asfaw, PhDLeave a comment

The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic: A roadmap for COVID-19 and beyond

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and health (NIOSH) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) have been developing guidance to help protect workers across all industries. AIHA has more than 80 years of experience protecting the health and safety of workers and their communities and has been Read More >

Posted on by Roger Lewis, PhD, CIH; Robert Strode, CIH; Ina Xhani; Kevin H. Dunn, Sc.D., CIH; Eric Glassford, MS, CIH; and Jennifer Tyrawski, PhDLeave a comment

Exploring the Future of Worker Health and Safety in the Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on work. The short-term consequences of the pandemic, including new safety requirements at work, mandatory remote work arrangements, reduced working hours, and even unplanned furloughs or lost jobs, were unexpected and severe for many workers around the world [1-3]. Though the economy is now showing signs of recovery, experts Read More >

Posted on by Sarah A Felknor, MS, DrPH; Jessica MK Streit, MS, PhD, CHES®; and Nicole T Edwards, MS3 Comments

Antigen Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Non-healthcare Workplaces

  The health of workers and businesses’ success during the COVID-19 pandemic rely on effective workplace prevention and control measures. In a recent commentary in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health discussed the use of antigen testing in the workplace. Antigen testing (as well Read More >

Posted on by Paul A. Schulte, PhD; Marie A. de Perio, MD; Sophia K. Chiu, MD; John D. Piacentino, MD, MPH; David N. Weissman, MD; Lewis J. Radonovich, MD; Douglas Trout, MD; Don Beezhold, PhD; Frank J. Hearl, SM, PE; and John Howard, MD7 Comments

Suicide Prevention for Healthcare Workers

Some occupations are known to have higher rates of suicide than others (see related blogs). Job factors – such as low job security, low pay, and job stress – can contribute to risk of suicide, as can easy access to lethal means among people at risk—such as medications or firearms. Other factors that can influence the link between occupation and suicide include gender, socioeconomic status, the economy, cultural factors, and stigma. Read More >

Posted on by Hope Tiesman, PhD; David Weissman, MD; Deborah Stone, ScD, MSW, MPH; Kristen Quinlan, PhD; and L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPHLeave a comment

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, CIH36 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, RRT1 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, CPH3 Comments

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 Mobley12 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.S11 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, MS5 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, MA11 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, MD1 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, PhD26 Comments