Category: Technology

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, FACE35 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; 4 Comments

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

New NIOSH Sound Level Meter App

Imagine if workers around the world could collect and share workplace (or task-based) noise exposure data using their smartphones. Scientists and occupational safety and health professionals could rely on such shared data to build job exposure databases and promote better hearing health and prevention efforts.  In addition, the ability to acquire and display real-time noise Read More >

Posted on by CAPT Chucri (Chuck) A. Kardous, MS, PE, and Metod Celestina, B.Sc. EE 147 Comments

Occupational Health Issues in the USA

Happy New Year. As we start afresh in 2017 I wanted to share my recent editorial in the British journal, Occupational Medicine, “Occupational health issues in the USA”.  The article highlights some of the occupational safety and health issues identified as needing attention by the industry sector groups of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).  Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD10 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

Wearable Exoskeletons to Reduce Physical Load at Work

Robotic-like suits which provide powered assist and increase human strength may conjure thoughts of sci-fi and superhero film genres. But these wearable exoskeleton devices are now a reality and the market for their applications in the workplace is projected to increase significantly in the next five years.  As with any technologic innovation some of the Read More >

Posted on by Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE; Robert B. Dick, PhD, Captain USPHS (Ret.); Stephen Hudock, PhD, CSP; and Thomas Bobick, PhD, CSP, CPE 15 Comments

NIOSH Ladder Safety App Evolves with User Feedback

  The award-winning NIOSH Ladder Safety App is now updated based on our users’ feedback. First introduced in 2013, the app has received much positive feedback.  As of the end of 2015, it has more than 52,000 downloads. Among those promoting the app are state officials, industry leaders, and safety professionals. Many companies have even Read More >

Posted on by Peter Simeonov, PhD, and Rebecca Olsavsky, MS9 Comments

A Robot May Not Injure a Worker: Working safely with robots

  Robots are used in increasing numbers in the workplace and in society in general. As their numbers and capabilities increase, observers have urged that scientists, engineers, and policymakers explore the implications of robotics for society, to ensure that the rise of robots will not spell “doom for humanity” as some critics have warned [1]. Read More >

Posted on by Vladimir Murashov, PhD; Frank Hearl, PE; and John Howard, M.D.153 Comments

NIOSH Travel Health and Safety Resource Kit for Workers with International Assignments

Travel Internationally for Work? Tell us what you think. Ever looked at international travel resources on the web? There are an incredible number. Most are intended for leisure travel and not for work-related travel, and most are overwhelming in detail. In addition to the many logistics involved in making foreign travel a pleasant and successful Read More >

Posted on by L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH; John Gibbins, DVM, MPH; Margaret Kitt, MD; Leslie Nickels, PhD, Med; John Piacentino, MD, MPH; Donna Van Bogaert, PhD; and Kristin Yeoman, MD 15 Comments

The NIOSH eDoc: New way to get NIOSH information on the Move

  The new NIOSH eDoc provides a mobile-friendly format for short NIOSH publications. This new publication product presents workplace safety and health information in a way that is accessible and easy to use on any mobile device, desktop, or laptop computer. NIOSH eDocs are created using Responsive Web Design which enables web content to automatically Read More >

Posted on by Deborah Hornback, MS and Christopher Storms11 Comments

Collaboration with Wikipedia

  For the past four months, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been doing something new and exciting for a government agency: they have been employing a Wikipedian-in-Residence. This collaboration with Wikipedia makes NIOSH only the second federal agency, and the first federal scientific agency, to engage with the encyclopedia project in Read More >

Posted on by Emily Temple-Wood11 Comments

The Future of Wearable Technology in the Workplace

  Mention of a product or service does not constitute and endorsement by NIOSH or the Department of Health and Human Services. An era of remarkable innovation is underway. We’re looking at the advent of brand-new technologies called “Wearable Computers”. Wearable computers, also known as body-borne computers or wearables, are defined as “miniature electronic devices that are worn Read More >

Posted on by Ismail Nabeel MD, MPH FACOEM54 Comments

Can Predictive Analytics Help Reduce Workplace Risk?

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” — Niels Bohr   Text message to chemical plant manager: Chlorine leak expected on line 2 tomorrow. Inspect and repair. High priority email and automatic call to coal mine superintendent: 83% chance of roof fall on section 4. Evacuate immediately and take corrective actions. Monthly Read More >

Posted on by Gregory R. Wagner, M.D.27 Comments

Connecting Occupational Public Health and Patient Care Through Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

This week is Health IT Week which recognizes efforts to improve the quality of healthcare delivery, increase patient safety, decrease medical errors, and strengthen the interaction between patients and healthcare providers via electronic health records (EHR).  NIOSH is working to improve occupational safety and health through health information technology. In 2007, NIOSH undertook a seemingly straightforward Read More >

Posted on by Margaret Filios, M.Sc., RN; Genevieve Barkocy Luensman, Ph.D.; John R Myers, MS; Marie Haring Sweeney, Ph.D.; Kerry Souza, Sc.D., MPH11 Comments