Category: Technology

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

Computer Vision Development for Estimating Trunk Angles

  Work-related musculoskeletal disorders have been linked to many physical job risk factors, such as forceful movement, repetitive exertions, awkward posture and vibration. These job risk factors are typically evaluated using ergonomic risk assessment methods or tools. These methods are predominantly self-reporting and observational. Self-reporting methods can be questionnaires, checklists or interviews. Observational methods entail Read More >

Posted on by Menekse S. Barim, PhD, AEP; Robert G. Radwin, PhD; and Ming-Lun (Jack) Lu, PhD, CPE10 Comments

Assessing Lifting Risk Factors Using Wearable Motion Sensors

A combination of work-related physical risk factors such as awkward postures or heavy lifting may lead to an increased risk of developing low back issues. Those in the occupational safety and health field continue to conduct research to prevent workplace musculoskeletal injuries. Researchers have used industry settings, self-reports and observational methods to evaluate these injuries. Read More >

Posted on by Menekse S. Barim, PhD, AEP, and Ming-Lun (Jack) Lu, PhD, CPE1 Comment

Artificial Intelligence Crowdsourcing Competition for Injury Surveillance

In 2018, NIOSH, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) contracted the National Academies of Science (NAS) to conduct a consensus study on improving the cost-effectiveness and coordination of occupational safety and health (OSH) surveillance systems. NAS’s report recommended that the federal government use recent advancements in machine Read More >

Posted on by Sydney Webb, PhD; Carlos Siordia, PhD; Stephen Bertke, PhD; Diana Bartlett, MPH, MPP; and Dan Reitz10 Comments

Preparing Your Fleet for Automated Vehicles

Many of us already drive personal or company vehicles with automated features such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. While automation clearly improves safety, it also presents new issues for safety professionals. Companies need to integrate policies on vehicles with automated features into their current fleet safety management systems. They also need to Read More >

Posted on by Stephanie Pratt, PhD, and Rebecca Olsavsky, MS10 Comments

Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Work

What does Artificial Intelligence (AI) have to do with workplace safety and health? NIOSH has been at the forefront of workplace safety and robotics, creating the Center for Occupational Robotics Research (CORR) and posting blogs such as A Robot May Not Injure a Worker: Working safely with robots. However, much remains unknown regarding the related Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD38 Comments

The Power of Crowdsourcing Knowledge Through Wikipedia – The Wiki4WorldHearingDay2019 Experience

No matter the country, it can take years for those who suffer from hearing difficulties to seek care. Once they do, there is a low rate of follow-up on recommended interventions, particularly for hearing aids (Wilson et al., 2017; WHO, 2017). Unaddressed hearing loss is a serious and costly problem around the world. This motivated Read More >

Posted on by Thais C. Morata, John P. Sadowski, Chuck Kardous, Jennifer Dawson, John Eichwald, Robert W. Keith and Lisa Hunter2 Comments

Potential Hazards of Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM), commonly referred to as 3-D printing, is becoming more prevalent in industry. AM is a set of processes for making products by selectively joining small amounts of material, using a computer-aided design file. [1,2] The advantages for industry include: shortened production cycles, reduced tooling costs, reduced waste material, easier product customization, novel Read More >

Posted on by Gary A. Roth, PhD; Aleksandr Stefaniak;Vladimir Murashov, PhD; and John Howard, MD2 Comments

NIOSH, Wiki Education Foundation, and Harvard University Work Together to Make Occupational Safety and Health Content Accessible to All

Choosing the right final project for a graduate level course can be a daunting responsibility for any instructor. Harvard Research Scientist and Instructor Dr. Diana Ceballos heard NIOSH researcher Dr. Thais Morata share details at a NORA conference about NIOSH’s collaboration with academia and Wikipedia to teach students science translation and knew it was a Read More >

Posted on by Diana Ceballos, PhD, MS, CIH; Thais Morata, PhD; and John P. Sadowski, PhD7 Comments

Characterizing 3D Printing Emissions and Controls in an Office Environment

Disclaimer: Mention of any company, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or imply that any company or its products or services are preferred over any other.   Read More >

Posted on by Kevin L Dunn, MS, CIH; Duane Hammond, MS, PE; Jennifer Tyrawski, PhD; and Matthew G. Duling, MS, REHS19 Comments

The Powerhouse: Students’ contributions towards expanding and improving occupational safety and health content in Wikipedia

The history and motivation behind the efforts NIOSH is putting into expanding and improving occupational safety and health in Wikipedia was discussed in earlier NIOSH Science Blogs (May 19,2015 and July 25, 2018)  and thru the NIOSH January 2017 eNews. Here we will focus on the partnerships created between NIOSH and university graduate and training Read More >

Posted on by Thais C. Morata, Max Lum, John Sadowski, Tania Carreón-Valencia, Deanna Meinke, Emily Wakefield, Diana Ceballos, and Mary Beth Genter1 Comment

Expanding and Improving Occupational Safety and Health Content in Wikipedia. It Matters.

NIOSH is one of the first US federal agencies to collaborate with the Wikimedia organizations and it is doing so by actively contributing data and the latest research to help improve the health of the population. NIOSH’s effort involves examining mechanisms to help make sure that the occupational safety and health information that reaches Wikipedia’s Read More >

Posted on by Max Lum, Thais C. Morata, James Hare, and John P. Sadowski2 Comments

The Use of Real-time Respirable Dust Monitors

Sensors are an increasing presence in our lives—from wearable gadgets to smart buildings, from autonomous vehicles to smart cities. In occupational health and safety, sensors are used widely for exposure monitoring, emergency response, and safer worker-machine interfaces. The use of sensors as real-time respirable dust monitors is a targeted application with its own specific challenges. Read More >

Posted on by Emanuele Cauda, PhD, and Justin Patts, BSME3 Comments

Technology at the North Pole

Even modern images of Santa’s toy shop depict elves carving wooden toys and creating loveable stuffed animals. This got us thinking. Where are all the hot new toys made? After all, electronics are among the most requested gifts this holiday season. Does Santa have a secret manufacturing facility? Surely, he is looking out for the Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale Pardi, MA4 Comments

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

Can Drones Make Construction Safer?

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) often called drones are increasingly used for military, recreational, public, and commercial purposes. UAVs have the potential to prevent injury and death in the construction industry where nearly 1,000 workers died in 2015. Advancements in UAV technology could help reduce construction-related injury and death from falls, toxic chemical exposures, electrical hazards, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; Vladimir Murashov, PhD; and Christine Branche, PhD, FACE28 Comments

Exoskeletons in Construction: Will they reduce or create hazards?

Wearable exoskeleton devices can reduce some of the mechanical stress of manual labor (1). These wearable machines can be powered by electricity or by human motion, and they can be as large as a space suit or as small as a glove. (1; 2) They are used to amplify or transform worker movements, improve biomechanics Read More >

Posted on by Alissa Zingman, MD; G. Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE; Christine M. Branche, Ph.D., FACE; 1 Comment

Heat Index: When humidity makes it feel hotter

  NIOSH and OSHA recently released the redesigned, co-branded OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App. This version replaces the app previously created by OSHA in 2011. The app calculates the heat index at outdoor worksites using the smartphone’s geolocation capabilities to pull current weather conditions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites. Based on Read More >

Posted on by Brenda Jacklitsch, MS3 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

Wearable Sensors: An Ethical Framework for Decision-Making

Wearable sensors are all the rage. They give us information about our health, fitness, productivity and safety.  However, downsides to this technology are accuracy and security of the data and challenges to personal privacy. How wearable technology is used in occupational safety and health research and practice is evolving.  Wearable sensors can detect and alert Read More >

Posted on by Angela Morley, JD, MPH; Gayle DeBord, PhD; and Mark D. Hoover, PhD, CHP, CIH 10 Comments