NIOSH Science Blog Posts

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

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, MS2 Comments

The Role of Organizational Design in the Future of Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted our society and economy. Every day, employers and workers find themselves encountering unforeseen challenges, finding novel ways of working, and adapting to a “new normal.” In a time when much is unknown, one thing is clear: the future of work is already here. As it unfolds, the future of Read More >

Posted on by Sara L. Tamers, PhD, MPH; Jessica M.K. Streit, PhD, CHES®; Naomi Swanson, PhD; and Leslie Hammer, PhD1 Comment

NIOSH Celebrates 50 Years in 2021

In 2021 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that created NIOSH “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions.” NIOSH began operating on April Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA; John P. Sadowski, PhD; and Barbara L. Jenkins, MA, CA4 Comments

Most-viewed NIOSH Products of 2020

Each January we look back on the most popular NIOSH information from the prior year. With 2020 focused on COVID-19, much of what was posted and accessed on the NIOSH website and the NIOSH social media accounts related to the pandemic. NIOSH is responsible for certifying respirators, including N95 filtering facepiece respirators. Throughout the pandemic Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA; Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA; Katie Shahan, JD; Burt Tienken2 Comments

Understanding the Broad Class of Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers (CNT/F) Used or Produced in U.S. Facilities

  Engineered nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes and nanofibers (CNT/F), hold great promise for society by revolutionizing many industries with applications from medicine to manufactured composites. The properties that make them so promising may also have the potential to cause harm to people if inhaled. Understanding potential health effects, conducting field exposure studies, and developing Read More >

Posted on by Aaron Erdely, Ph.D.; Kelly Fraser; Vamsi Kodali Ph.D.; Charles Geraci, Ph.D., CIH, FAIHA; Matthew Dahm, PhD, MPH; and Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan, PhDLeave a comment

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

Lighting Interventions to Reduce Circadian Disruption in Rotating Shift Workers

  Shift work has been linked to poor sleep, chronic metabolic disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity), several forms of cancer [1-3], depression, and elevated risk for the occurrence of accidents. These risks are especially acute for those who work rotating shifts that involve working through the night [4-8], as sometimes occur in hospitals. Read More >

Posted on by Mariana G. Figueiro, PhD, and David PedlerLeave a comment

Celebrating Nurses

Could there be a more fitting year to honor nurses?  As 2020 comes to a close, so does our blog series celebrating the Year of the Nurse.  The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our healthcare system and, in some cases, pushed it to the brink. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are working tirelessly and sacrificing much Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD6 Comments

Exoskeletons and Occupational Health Equity

  In the workplace, you need your equipment to fit perfectly. Historically, personal protective equipment (PPE) had been developed from measurements taken from male military recruits in the United States during the 1950s to the 1970s [1]. These data do not represent the range of body shapes and sizes in the majority of the modern Read More >

Posted on by Lakshmi D. Robertson, DrPH, MSPH; Laura Syron, PhD, MPH; Michael Flynn, MA; Ted Teske, MA; Hongwei Hsiao, PhD; Jack Lu, PhD, CPE; and Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE7 Comments

Preventing Needlesticks and Sharps Injuries: Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act

November marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (PL 106-430) into law. The act required that OSHA amend its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to include additional protections for workers to prevent occupational exposures to blood and body fluids. This included: new requirements for the evaluation and use of engineering Read More >

Posted on by Amber Hogan Mitchell, DrPH, MPH, CPH8 Comments

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

Millersville University Students Support NIOSH Research

  Two students from Millersville University in Pennsylvania, Emily Rae Seiler and Samuel Welk, recently completed virtual internships with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Division of Safety Research and Division of Science Integration. Building on their coursework in an Occupational Safety and Environmental Health class, the students supported NIOSH research endeavors while Read More >

Posted on by Emily Rae Seiler, Samuel Welk, and Sydney Webb, PhD4 Comments

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

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

Jobs and Exposures That Increase Risk for Developing COPD Later in Life

The 19th annual World COPD Day is November 18, 2020. COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – includes the chronic lung conditions of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which are characterized by airflow obstruction and breathing-related problems. COPD is a major cause of illness, with an estimated 300 million cases worldwide, and is the 3rd leading Read More >

Posted on by Sharon R. Silver, MS, MA; Walter A. Alarcon MD, MSc; and Jia Li, MS4 Comments

Can Exoskeletons Reduce Musculoskeletal Disorders in Healthcare Workers?

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) remain a major concern for workers in the healthcare industry. Healthcare workers are at high risk of work-related MSDs mainly caused by overexertion from lifting and moving patients (i.e., patient handling). Wearable robots—exoskeletons or exosuits—may be a useful tool to help reduce risk of MSDs during patient handling. Background Based on the Read More >

Posted on by Liying Zheng, PhD1 Comment

Recognizing Health Literacy at NIOSH

  As we come to the end of Health Literacy Month this October, we remember the quotation often attributed to Einstein, “that all physical theories, their mathematical expressions apart, ought to lend themselves to so simple a description ‘that even a child could understand them.’” There is an expectation in the research community that writing Read More >

Posted on by Tanya Headley, MS; Sarah Mitchell, MPH; and Sydney Webb, PhD2 Comments

Introducing an Occupational Health Resource: The Occupational Noise Job Exposure Matrix

Introduction Noise-induced hearing loss is highly prevalent in the U.S., and noise is increasingly being linked to other non-auditory health effects such as cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbance, and stress. However, our knowledge of noise exposures associated with many U.S. occupations is lacking. To address this issue, researchers used existing resources to develop a first-of-its-kind Job Read More >

Posted on by Rick Neitzel, PhD, CIH and CAPT Chucri (Chuck) A. Kardous, MS, PE5 Comments

The Story of a Lead Disaster Averted

A Sick Child and the Search for Answers   This week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. The following fictional story of take-home lead exposure among children exemplifies a very real problem. A state health department is notified about a three-year-old boy who had recently been seen by his pediatrician due to ongoing vomiting, appetite Read More >

Posted on by Rebecca Tsai, PhD; Kathryn Egan, PhD; Amy Mobley, MEn; and Diana Ceballos, PhD, MS, CIH3 Comments