NIOSH Science Blog Posts

Stand-Down for Falls in Its 7th Year: Fatal Falls are Falling

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. Each year as part of the Campaign, safety stand-downs are held by employers across the country to focus on fall prevention. The Read More >

Posted on by Scott Breloff, PhD; Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH; Jeanette Novakovich, PhD1 Comment

Heat Stress Imposed by PPE Worn in Hot and Humid Environments

  A recent blog discussed prolonged respirator use and the potential physiological burden that could result from the buildup of CO2 within the respirator facepiece. Heat stress is another potential stress factor that healthcare workers (HCWs) who use personal protective equipment (PPE) and their employers should be aware of in order to recognize the signs Read More >

Posted on by W. Jon Williams, PhD and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA1 Comment

Skin Irritation from Prolonged Use of Tight-Fitting Respirators

Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs) are typically used by workers, including first responders and healthcare professionals, for short, infrequent periods of time to protect against potential airborne transmissible diseases. However, during widespread respiratory infectious disease outbreaks, there may be a need to implement respirator extended use practices due to an inadequate supply of FFRs. Skin irritation Read More >

Posted on by Adam Hornbeck, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, FNP-C; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; Selcen Kilinc-Balci, PhD, MBA; Dana Rottach, PhD; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; and Harold L. Boyles, RN, MSHCA1 Comment

How Collecting and Analyzing COVID-19 Case Job Information Can Make a Difference in Public Health

  Collecting, coding, analyzing and reporting industry and occupation data from COVID-19 cases is necessary to inform strategies to reduce the impact of the pandemic on workers. As described in the previous blog post, “Collecting occupation and industry data in public health surveillance systems for COVID-19,” it’s important to collect job information for all workers Read More >

Posted on by Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH; Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD; Amy Mobley, MEn; Stacey Marovich, MHI, MS; and Marie Haring Sweeney, PhDLeave a comment

Measuring Workplace Risks across States

When assessing workplace safety in the United States, we have to consider what measures of risk to use. If all measures are strongly positively correlated, this may not matter. But they are not, so the choice of risk measure does matter: states where employers report the highest rates of non-fatal injuries have the lowest fatality Read More >

Posted on by John Mendeloff, PhD, and Wayne B. Gray, PhD6 Comments

The Role of Organizational Support and Healthy Work Design

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives and has had a significant effect on the well-being of workers (APA, 2020; Kaiser, 2020; Nigam et al., 2020). As the nation aims to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases and protect public health, employers are working to keep their businesses Read More >

Posted on by Emily J. Haas, PhD; Jeannie Nigam, MS; Jessica MK Streit, PhD, CHES®; Sudha Pandalai, MD, PhD; L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH; and Mary B. O’Connor, MS2 Comments

Safety Culture and Health Care

Health care facilities need to foster and promote a strong culture of safety that includes a commitment to worker safety, provision of and adequate access to safety and personal protective equipment, and extensive training efforts that utilize protocols requiring specific safety actions. The American Nurses Association (2016) states that “A culture of safety describes the Read More >

Posted on by Bonnie Rogers, DrPH, COHN-S, FAAN, LNCC8 Comments

Wholesale Recycling: High Rates of Injuries and Illnesses

The U.S. wholesale recycling material industry consists of about 12,700 wholesale companies, providing an estimated 102,038 jobs [Siccode.com 2020]. Unlike recycling services that pick up empty cartons, cans, and bottles curbside from households, wholesale recycling merchants buy automotive scrap, electronic scrap, industrial scrap, or other recycling materials from manufacturers and resell it to businesses, government Read More >

Posted on by Jeanette Novakovich, MA, MS, PhD; Vern Putz Anderson, PhD, CPE; Adrienne Eastlake, MS, RS/REHS, MT(ASCP) ; and Debbie Hornback, MS5 Comments

Improve Sleep: Tips to Improve Your Sleep When Times Are Tough

  Just like food or water, sleep is a biological necessity for life and health. Research shows that the hours we spend sleeping are incredibly important and far from passive. During sleep, your body is busy fighting off viruses and other pathogens, operating a waste removal system to clean the brain, looking for cancer cells Read More >

Posted on by Claire C Caruso PhD, RN, FAAN, and L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH5 Comments

Keeping Momentum in NORA Councils: Different Ways to Achieve Partner Engagement

  The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is a partnership program, stewarded by NIOSH, to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices for the nation. Currently, there are 17 NORA councils that align with each of the 10 industry sectors and 7 health and safety cross-sectors. Membership in NORA councils is diverse and includes individuals Read More >

Posted on by Emily J.K. Novicki MA, MPH, and Summer Slaughter, MPHLeave a comment

Economic Security during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Healthy Work Design and Well-being Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting worker well-being in many ways, including through decreased economic security. Economic aspects of overall health and well-being, along with physical, psychological, and social aspects, are a fundamental focus of the NIOSH Healthy Work Design and Well-being Program (HWD). The mission of HWD is to protect and advance worker safety, Read More >

Posted on by Rene Pana-Cryan, PhD; Tapas Ray, PhD; Tim Bushnell, PhD, MPA; and Brian Quay, MS2 Comments

Surgical Smoke Inhalation: Dangerous Consequences for the Surgical Team

In 1996, after conducing multiple health hazard evaluations, NIOSH released a bulletin recommending the control of surgical smoke created during laser or electric surgical procedures. Since the 1990s the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) has recommended the evacuation of all surgical smoke. Yet, surgical smoke is still inhaled daily by nurses in the operating Read More >

Posted on by Mary J. Ogg, MSN, RN, CNOR4 Comments

Making Industry and Occupation Information Useful for Public Health: A guide to coding industry and occupation text fields

  **This blog was updated on 3/19/2021 to reflect changes to NIOCCS.** This is the second blog in the series “COVID-19 Surveillance among Workers: What we know and what are we doing to learn more”. To learn more about occupation and industry data collection for acute infectious diseases, see the first blog Collecting occupation and Read More >

Posted on by Stacey Marovich, MHI, MS; Amy Mobley, MEn; and Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD1 Comment

Considerations for Covering N95s to Extend Use

Introduction During times of increased demand for N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), hospitals or other medical facilities may want to protect these devices from surface contamination in order to prolong their use. When protection against surface contamination is needed, CDC recommends wearing a cleanable face shield over an N95 FFR[1]. Wearing a surgical mask or Read More >

Posted on by Jeffrey Powell, MS; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; Dana Rottach, PhD; and Edward Sinkule, PhD, MPH, FACSM

Cannabis and Work: Implications, Impairment, and the Need for Further Research

  American workplaces are facing unprecedented challenges related to the rapidly evolving landscape of cannabis legalization and its increasing use among workers. Cannabis[1] is the most frequently used illicit drug (by Federal law) among Americans, with an estimated 43.5 million past-year users age 12 or older in 2018 (1). Nearly 18% of adults employed full-time, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; L. Casey Chosewood, MD; Lore Jackson-Lee, MPH; and Jamie Osborne, MPH, CHES®5 Comments

COVID-19 Stress Among Your Workers? Healthy Work Design and Well-Being Solutions Are Critical

Experiencing an infectious disease outbreak can cause fear, anxiety, and stress.1-5 Along with overwhelming uncertainty and new behavioral ‘norms’ (e.g., cloth face covering or mask wearing, physical distancing), the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we meet our daily needs, how we socially interact, and whether, how, and where we work.1,3 Millions of workers have lost Read More >

Posted on by Jeannie A. S. Nigam, MS, Jessica M. K. Streit, PhD, MS, Tapas K. Ray, PhD, Naomi Swanson, PhD3 Comments

Collecting Occupation and Industry Data in Public Health Surveillance Systems for COVID-19

This is the first blog in the series “COVID-19 Surveillance among Workers: What we know and what are we doing to learn more”. What we know Though the COVID-19 pandemic continues, critical infrastructure industries are operating and other types of businesses are beginning to reopen. Recent studies have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in several types Read More >

Posted on by Sara Luckhaupt, MD; Sherry Burrer, DVM; Marie de Perio, MD; and Marie Haring Sweeney, PhD2 Comments

The Physiological Burden of Prolonged PPE Use on Healthcare Workers during Long Shifts

Healthcare workers (HCW) and first responders often work long, physically and mentally exhausting shifts as they provide care for patients, especially during a public health emergency. These long hours can result in fewer adequate breaks for personal care, nutrition, and hydration. During these extended work shifts, many HCWs are also required to wear personal protective Read More >

Posted on by Jon Williams, PhD; Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA; Adam Hornbeck, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, FNP-C; Jonisha Pollard, MS, CPE; and Jeffrey Snyder, MSN, CRNP32 Comments

Celebrate National Safety Month

Each year, the National Safety Council (NSC) designates June as National Safety Month. This year, due to COVID-19, safety in and out of the workplace has been front-of-mind for most of the world. As we navigate how to live and work safely during this time, CDC has provided resources and information for all aspects of Read More >

Posted on by Dawn Castillo, MPH; Kim Shambrook; and Lauralynn Taylor McKernan, ScD, CIHLeave a comment

Heat Stress in Construction

As we post this blog, we realize that some states may be under work restrictions due to COVID-19. Please follow the appropriate guidance for your area. Workers should not share water bottles or cups when hydrating. Social distancing applies in the workplace and break areas. See U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of and Read More >

Posted on by CAPT Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; and Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH4 Comments