Category: Mining

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, MA1 Comment

A Physico-chemical and Toxicological Evaluation of Fracking Sand Dusts

  During hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a fluid is pumped under high pressure into a well bore to create fissures in the rock to facilitate the removal of gas. This fracking fluid contains a large number of ingredients, including water, chemical agents, and sand. The manipulation of sand at the well site creates respirable dust Read More >

Posted on by Jeffrey S. Fedan, PhD6 Comments

World Cancer Day 2020 – Reflecting on a Decade of NIOSH Cancer Research

February 4th, 2020 is World Cancer Day, and we are reflecting on the role of the occupational cancer research being done at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in reducing the burden of cancer worldwide. Cancer develops as a result of the body losing its ability to control the growth and spread Read More >

Posted on by Raquel Velazquez-Kronen, Ph.D.; and Jasmine Nelson, B.S.6 Comments

Drug Overdose in the Workplace and the Role of Opioids

The drug overdose epidemic continues to afflict our country. Nationally, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 [i] involving opioids (such as fentanyl, heroin and hydrocodone), stimulants (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and alcohol.[ii] Nearly 70% of these deaths involved an opioid.[ii] Recent data show that drug overdoses at work are increasing. Read More >

Posted on by Dawn Castillo, MPH; Michael Fiore, MS; Emily Sparer-Fine, ScD; Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Steve Wurzelbacher, PhD5 Comments

Improving Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction and Mining Industries

With nearly 126 million full-time U.S. workers at risk of occupational illness and injury, it is critical to prioritize our research efforts to address the most important issues. One approach used by NIOSH and its partners to establish priorities is to consider the burden, need, and impact of potential research topics. This method allows us Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Eileen P. Betit and Dana R. Willmer, PhD2 Comments

Musculoskeletal Health Research to Benefit Surface Stone, Sand, and Gravel Miners

In October 2017, the NIOSH Musculoskeletal Health Cross-Sector Program published the first blog post in a series to highlight musculoskeletal health research at NIOSH. This post—the fifth installment in the series—will discuss how best to promote musculoskeletal health and reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among surface stone, sand, and gravel mine workers. As Read More >

Posted on by Emily Warner, MA; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; Valerie Coughanour, MA, MFA; and Jack Lu, PhD, CPE10 Comments

Amy Chambers, MS, and Lauren Chubb, DrPH: Advancing Safety and Health for Miners

During Women’s History Month, NIOSH will highlight several female researchers and their contributions to NIOSH and America’s workers.   Amy Chambers, MS Amy Chambers, MS, is a research engineer working in the NIOSH Spokane Mining Research Division. She joined NIOSH in July 2015. Ms. Chambers seeks to ensure underground miners have a stable roof to Read More >

Posted on by Valerie Coughanour, MA, MFA2 Comments

Coming Soon to a Workplace Near You: Field-based respirable crystalline silica monitoring

This week is National Engineers Week which is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) employs over 200 engineers and engineering technicians who identify, evaluate, develop, and implement engineering control technology to Read More >

Posted on by Emanuele Cauda, PhD; Lauren Chubb, DrPH; and Valerie Coughanour, MA, MFA 1 Comment

NIOSH Presents: An Occupational Safety and Health Perspective on Robotics Applications in the Workplace

On October 12, 2017, three researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) gave a panel presentation at the National Robot Safety Conference on robotics applications in the workplace and worker safety. The conference was hosted in Pittsburgh, PA by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). Among the attendees were robotics engineers and Read More >

Posted on by Hongwei Hsiao, PhD; HeeSun Choi, PhD, John Sammarco, PhD; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Dawn Castillo, MPH; and Gene Hill2 Comments

High Blood Pressure and Obesity in Miners

Little is known about the cardiovascular risks for miners in the US as most research to date has focused on respiratory illness. Potential mining-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, noise, vibration, temperature extremes, and shift work combined with personal risk factors can put miners at greater risk of poor Read More >

Posted on by Michelle Martin, MS, and LT Megan Casey, RN, BSN, MPH 10 Comments

Continuous Personal Dust Monitor

Until recently, underground coal miners and mine operators had little way of knowing—in real time—if miners were being exposed to hazardous levels of respirable coal dust during their shifts. NIOSH collaborated with an instrument manufacturer, government partners, labor representatives, and coal industry leaders to develop the continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM), a technology that offers Read More >

Posted on by Steven Mischler, PhD, and Valerie Coughanour, MA, MFA 5 Comments

Nonstandard Work Arrangements

Who is looking out for workers in nonstandard work arrangements? As the prevalence of nonstandard work arrangements (such as temporary agency, contract, and “gig” arrangements) rises, so do concerns about workplace safety and health among this workforce. A recent article, “Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” published in the American Journal of Industrial Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD17 Comments

NIOSH Mine Emergency Escape Simulation Technology Available for Developers

 Background All underground coal miners in the United States receive escape training on a quarterly basis. This training prepares them for exiting the mine in the event of an emergency and it must include walking either the primary or the secondary escape route from their work area to the outside (30 CFR, 2015). As a Read More >

Posted on by Timothy J. Orr16 Comments

Respirator Care = Safe to Wear!

Happy Valentine’s Day! And on this most romantic day of the year, what else could you possibly do than show some love … to your respirator. Last year on this day, we blogged about maintaining your relationship with your Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). To continue to spread the love, this year we want to focus Read More >

Posted on by Courtney Neiderhiser, MS and Jaclyn Krah, MA 7 Comments

World Cancer Day – Cancer Detectives in the Workplace

Today is World Cancer Day. Around the world, 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and the number is expected to increase due to the growth and aging of the population, as well as reductions in childhood mortality and deaths from infectious diseases in developing countries (ACS 2011). Cancer is the leading cause Read More >

Posted on by Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan, Ph.D.; Tania Carreόn-Valencia, Ph.D.; Avima M. Ruder, Ph.D.; Lynne E. Pinkerton, M.D., M.P.H.8 Comments

The Importance of Occupational Safety and Health: Making for a “Super” Workplace

There’s just something about superhero movie summer releases that gets us here at NIOSH excited about safety. This summer the source of our inspiration came from the Man of Steel© movie. In the film, pre-Superman Clark Kent is working as a commercial fisherman (a hazardous job if you’re not a man of steel). He risks Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah, MA; Richard L. Unger 27 Comments

How Does Work Affect the Health of the U.S. Population? Free Data from the 2010 NHIS-OHS Provides the Answers

You may have some hypotheses about how work affects the health of the U.S. population, but collecting data from a nationally representative sample is expensive and time-consuming. What if there was free data available at your fingertips? You’re in luck! NIOSH sponsored an Occupational Health Supplement (OHS) to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), Read More >

Posted on by Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH; Dara L. Burris, BS 12 Comments

NIOSH HPD Well-Fit™: The Future is Fit-Testing

Today is Save Your Hearing Day.  For workers and others who are exposed to dangerously loud noises which cannot be reduced or eliminated, hearing protection devices (HPDs) are absolutely necessary to save their hearing.  But if HPDs are not properly selected or correctly worn, the devices may not block out enough noise and the wearer Read More >

Posted on by Captain William J. Murphy, Ph.D.; Dr. Mark R. Stephenson, Ph.D.; Captain David C. Byrne, M.S. CCC-A; Christa L. Themann, M.S. CCC-A 11 Comments

First Father’s Day Tied to the Workplace

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 Read More >

Posted on by Laurie I. Breyer, JD, MA 2 Comments

NIOSH Research on Work Schedules and Work-related Sleep Loss

Yesterday, in honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, we blogged about sleep and work and the risks to workers, employers, and the public when workers’ hours and shifts do not allow for adequate sleep.   This blog provides a brief overview of some of the work that NIOSH intramural scientists are carrying out to better understand Read More >

Posted on by Claire Caruso, PhD, RN; Luenda Charles, PhD; Tina Lawson, PhD; Akinori Nakata, PhD; Karl Sieber, PhD; Sudha Pandalai, MD, PhD; and Ted Hitchcock, PhD28 Comments