NIOSH Science Blog Posts

NIOSH 50th Anniversary Honored by National Toxicology Program

This text was first published as an article in the April 2021 NIEHS newsletter Environmental Factor. Common goals and collaborative research signify the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s participation in the NTP. Marking a major milestone, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) acclaims its common goals and collaborative research with the National Institute for Read More >

Posted on by Carol Kelly2 Comments

Improving Our Understanding of Nonfatal Occupational Injuries

  Counting and describing nonfatal occupational injuries are vital to understanding and prevention. However, this is very difficult to accomplish on a national level. There are large numbers of injuries that are captured, in part, by different sources, and some are not captured at all. There is no single, comprehensive national source of occupational injury Read More >

Posted on by Audrey Reichard, MPH; and Suzanne Marsh, MPA2 Comments

Preventing Struck-by Injuries in Construction: Lift Zone Safety

The second annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents hosted by the NORA Construction Sector Council will take place April 26th, 2021, during National Work Zone Awareness Week (1). During this event, construction employers and employees will learn about best practices and methods to prevent struck-by incidents. Emphasis has been placed on the prevention of Read More >

Posted on by Kyle Hancock; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH2 Comments

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

Suicides Among First Responders: A Call to Action

  The recent Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” highlighted suicides as a significant public health problem. In 2019, there were 47,500 suicide fatalities in the U.S. and an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts[1]. The causes of suicide are complex, with many personal, socio-demographic, medical, and economic factors Read More >

Posted on by Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Katherine L. Elkins, MPH; Melissa Brown, DrPH; Suzanne Marsh, MPA; and Leslie M. Carson, MPH, MSW22 Comments

Stand-Down for Falls in Its 8th Year: Continuing Need to Prevent Falls in Construction in the U.S. and Internationally

The National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction was launched in 2012 through the NORA Construction Sector Council with leadership from NIOSH, OSHA, and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training to address the high rate of both fatal and nonfatal falls in the industry. While we encourage participation in the Campaign year-round, Read More >

Posted on by Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Sang D. Choi, Ph.D., MPH(c), CSP, CPE; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPHLeave a comment

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, RRTLeave a comment

NTOF: Understanding Worker Deaths through Surveillance

To accomplish the NIOSH mandate, “to assure so far as possible every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources,” an accurate, comprehensive accounting of the number of workers who die at work is needed. These data help identify high-risk worker populations and describe the circumstances Read More >

Posted on by Suzanne Marsh, MPALeave a comment

Dream to Reality: NIOSH Early Years

As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NIOSH, we look back on our history. The long hoped for goal of a federal entity devoted to occupational safety and health was taking shape in the mid to late 1960’s with collaborative work between and among scientists (both inside and outside of government), labor leaders, and legislators. Read More >

Posted on by Barbara L. Jenkins, MA, CA, and Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA4 Comments

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, CPH1 Comment

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 Mobley7 Comments

Lung Disease in Textile Workers

This blog is part of a series for NIOSH’s 50th anniversary highlighting research and prevention throughout the Institute’s history. Background Since the 1970s, NIOSH has worked to prevent illness from cotton dust. Byssinosis is an airways disease with features of both asthma and COPD that occurs with exposure to cotton dust. In the early 1970s, Read More >

Posted on by David C. Christiani, MD, MPH, SM2 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.S7 Comments

The Physiological Response of Working in Cold Environments and how your PPE can Help

  Recent NIOSH science blogs have discussed the physiological impact of wearing respirators. The first blog in this vein explored the Physiological Burden of Prolonged PPE Use on Healthcare Workers during Long Shifts, including potential CO2 buildup. A second blog addressed Heat Stress Imposed by PPE Worn in Hot and Humid Environments and how healthcare Read More >

Posted on by W. Jon Williams, Ph.D. and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, M.A.2 Comments

Relationship Advice on Valentine’s Day: Quality Assurance—In a Respirator, That Is

  On this Valentine’s Day, what lessons can respirator manufacturers learn from Liz Taylor, Larry King, Lana Turner, and Mickey Rooney? Why, the importance of quality assurance, of course. All of these celebs were married eight times—for Liz and Larry, they actually tied the knot twice with the same person—but their repeated unluckiness in love Read More >

Posted on by Joseph Schall, MA; Rhonda Sheets; and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA2 Comments

NIOSH Directors

Since the creation of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 1971, the Institute has had six Directors who shaped NIOSH into what it is today. The Occupational Safety and Health Act states “The Institute shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MALeave a comment

Protecting Worker Hearing

These days it seems there are so many steps to stay safe from the COVID-19 virus, but we should also remember to remain diligent in our efforts to protect against other workplace hazards. There is a dramatic impact on quality of life associated with worker hearing loss and ‘ringing in the ears’ (tinnitus). Unless precautions Read More >

Posted on by Elizabeth A. Masterson, PhD, CPH, COHC; Amanda S. Azman, AuD; and Travis Parsons, MS2 Comments

Envisioning the Future of Construction: Challenges and Opportunities for Occupational Safety and Health

Introduction Today’s construction industry is quite different than what existed just a few decades ago. These days, it is much less common to see workers hauling around rolls of hand drawn blueprints, punching numbers into printing calculators, or fiddling with slide rules. Records and plans are now created and stored digitally; workers use new, more Read More >

Posted on by Melissa Edmondson, MS, CIH, CPH, and Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP3 Comments

Overview of the ASTM F3407 Standard Test Method for Respirator Fit Capability

The Fundamental Importance of Fit One of the most important criteria for any filtering facepiece air-purifying respirator to be effective is that a good seal is formed between the respirator’s facepiece and the wearer’s skin. The ability to achieve this seal is called the respirator’s fitting characteristic. In 1995, when NIOSH put Title 42 Code Read More >

Posted on by Christopher Coffey, PhD; Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH; M. E. Bonnie Rogers, DrPH; and Jonathan Szalajda, MS6 Comments