NIOSH Science Blog Posts

Honoring Science and Service at NIOSH

Exemplary science is the foundation for all National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research and prevention activities. Each year, NIOSH recognizes outstanding science and service from our employees. This year’s Science and Service Awards took place on April 27, 2023. The awards booklet contains the finalists, awardees, and honorable mentions as well as Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; John Piacentino, MD; Kelley A. Durst, MPA; and Christina Spring, MA2 Comments

Standing Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

Overview Construction workers are at risk for injuries from many sources, but falls continue to be the leading cause of death (accounting for 37% [379 out of the 1015 fatalities] of all construction fatalities in 2021). This year marks the 10th annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction, an event to raise awareness Read More >

Posted on by Mirle Pena, MS; Jessica Bunting, MPH; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Asha Brogan, MS; Scott P. Breloff, Ph.D; G. Scott Earnest, Ph.D, PE, CSP2 Comments

Working Hours and Fatigue: Meeting the Needs of American Workers and Employers

In November 2022, the American Journal of Industrial Medicine (AJIM) published a special issue focusing on work-related fatigue. The issue explores factors that may increase work-related fatigue and actions to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses. [1] This issue is a result of discussions and collaborations from the 2019 NIOSH Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Forum Read More >

Posted on by Grace Vixama, MPH; Imelda Wong, PhD; and Naomi Swanson, PhD1 Comment

Research Shows Benefits of Reduced Aerial Ladder Rung Spacing

As a critical part of their job, firefighters often climb aerial ladders up to 30 meters (or 98 feet) long and positioned at various angles. Aerial ladders are mechanically-operated, long, extendable ladders mounted on fire trucks and are used to reach high places for extinguishing fires and rescue operations. While climbing, firefighters typically wear heavy Read More >

Posted on by Peter Simeonov, PhD, and Emilee Austin, MALeave a comment

Workplace Medical Mystery Solved: Unknown Illness in Worker at Greeting Card Plant

Camilla started experiencing worsening respiratory symptoms while working at a plant that produces greeting cards. (Read about her symptoms here). Her doctor ordered tests to see what was happening with Camilla’s lungs. The results of two lung function tests showed concerning results. One was a carbon monoxide diffusing capacity test that estimates the ability of Read More >

Posted on by Emily Kirby, BPH; Rachel Bailey, DO, MPH; Lew Radonovich, MD1 Comment

Struck-By Injuries in the Construction Sector: Common Hazards, Barriers, and Opportunities to Keep Workers Safe

Struck-By Injuries Struck-by injuries occur from violent contact or impact between an object or piece of equipment and a person. Struck-by injuries can be fatal, and even when a worker is not seriously injured can result in days off work to recover. To help prevent struck-by injuries, companies are encouraged to have a stand-down; a Read More >

Posted on by Scott P. Breloff, Ph. D.; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Asha Brogan, MS; Jessica Bunting, MPH; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Mirle Pena, MS; G. Scott Earnest, Ph. D., PE, CSP1 Comment

Workplace Medical Mystery: Unknown Illness in Worker at Greeting Card Plant

Camilla works at a plant that produces greeting cards and ribbon products. She started working at the plant over 15 years ago when production first started. The plant is open around-the-clock for three shifts with workers in multiple departments across two floors of the building. Camilla worked in different departments over the years but spent Read More >

Posted on by Emily Kirby, BPH; Rachel Bailey, DO, MPH; Lew Radonovich, MD15 Comments

A Focus on the Occupational Safety and Health of Women in Mining

  The mining industry plays an important role in the U.S. economy and supply chain, with most products derived in part or entirely from mined rocks and minerals. Active mines can be found in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, [1] and include underground and surface mines operating in several different Read More >

Posted on by Brianna M. Eiter, PhD; Zoë J. Dugdale, MPH; Tashina Robinson, MS; Carol T. Nixon, PhD; Heather Lawson, PhD; Cara N. Halldin, PhD; Casey Stazick, BS2 Comments

Critical Steps Your Workplace Can Take Today to Prevent Suicide

  Employers can play a vital role in suicide prevention. Historically, suicide, mental health, and well-being have been underrepresented in workplace health and safety efforts, but this is changing. In some European countries, there are workplace standards for workplace psychosocial hazards that put workers at risk for suicide. Additionally, in France, employers have been made Read More >

Posted on by Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Jodi Frey, PhD, LCSW-C, CEAP; and Sally Spencer-Thomas, PsyDLeave a comment

Personal Protective Equipment Fit in the Construction Sector

The construction sector includes a diverse population of workers exposed to many different types of hazards. An important way to prevent occupational illness and injury related to these hazards is by implementing the hierarchy of controls. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last control in the hierarchy, but PPE is particularly important when the other Read More >

Posted on by Mirle Pena, MS; Meghan Kiederer, BA; Patrick G. Dempsey, PhD, CPE; N. Katherine Yoon, PhD; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS4 Comments

Modern Coal Miners Have Higher Death Rates From Lung Diseases Than Their Predecessors

Coal mine dust causes a range of lung diseases, collectively called coal mine dust lung diseases. Examples include coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP, a dust-induced scarring lung disease commonly called black lung), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung function impairment. All of these cause substantial morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) among affected coal miners.[1–5] Most Read More >

Posted on by Kirsten Almberg, PhD, and Robert Cohen, MD3 Comments

The State of Health Surveillance Across the Public Safety Sector

Surveillance is the cornerstone of public health practice, including in occupational safety and health (OSH). OSH surveillance systems have the ability to generate data that drives decision making and action.1, 2 There are multiple steps in a surveillance system including timely and accurate data collection; data quality monitoring; data management; data analysis; interpretation of results; Read More >

Posted on by Carol Brown, PhD; Suzanne M. Marsh, MPA; Susan M. Moore, PhD; and Meghan Kiederer, BA2 Comments

Work as a Key Social Determinant of Health: The Case for Including Work in All Health Data Collections

  Social determinants of health (SDOH) are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play. These conditions affect a wide range of health and quality of life risks and outcomes. CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and others recognize work as a social determinant of health.[1],[2],[3] Despite this recognition, this key SDOH Read More >

Posted on by Andrea L. Steege, PhD, MPH; Sharon Silver, MS, MA; Amy Mobley, MEn; and Marie Haring Sweeney, PhD, MPH2 Comments

Psychosocial Hazards Often Overlooked in Construction Industry

Why Do Psychosocial Factors of Work Matter? The construction industry has considerable safety and health hazards that result in high rates of injury, illness, and fatality. Common hazards include noise, fall, electrical, and chemical hazards. Approximately 60% of all construction fatalities each year can be attributed to the ‘focus four’ hazards of falls, struck-by, caught Read More >

Posted on by Aurora B. Le, PhD, MPH, CSP, CPH; Doug Trout, MD, MHS; Ann Marie Dale, PhD; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP3 Comments

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the Agricultural Community

Avian influenza (bird flu) is caused by infection with avian influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses routinely spread among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Sporadic human infections with bird flu viruses have occurred. Avian influenza A viruses are classified into the following two categories: Read More >

Posted on by Carolyn Sheridan, RN, BSN; Jenna Gibbs, MPH, PhD; Matthew Spencer, CSP, SHRM-CP; John Gibbins, DVM, MPH2 Comments

Violence Against Public Health Workers

  Many workers who were on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic experienced increased physical and mental stress. One study found that 70% of U.S. workers felt more stressed at work during COVID-19 than at any other point in their professional careers [1]. Public health workers, including epidemiologists, contact tracers, laboratory scientists, community health workers, Read More >

Posted on by Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Scott A. Hendricks, MS; Douglas M. Wiegand, PhD; Barbara Lopes-Cardozo, MD; Carol Y. Rao, ScD; Libby Horter, MPH; Ramona Byrkit, MPH; and Charles E. Rose, PhD.1 Comment

The Effectiveness of DIY Air Filtration Units

  Portable air filtration units, or air cleaners, remove airborne particles (called aerosols) from the air indoors. Air filtration units were widely used during large wildfire outbreaks in the western United States,[1] and their use surged nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to reduce exposure to aerosols containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Homemade or Read More >

Posted on by Raymond Derk, MS; Jayme Coyle, PhD; William Lindsley, PhD; Francoise Blachere, MSc; Angela Lemons, MS; Samantha Service, MS; Stephen Martin Jr., PhD, PE; Kenneth Mead, PhD, PE; Steven Fotta; Jeffrey Reynolds, PhD, PE; Walter McKinney, MSEE; Erik Sinsel, MS; Donald Beezhold, PhD; and John Noti, PhD12 Comments

Oil and Gas Workers Count

  Energy has been in the news lately. Amid the discussions about energy prices and climate change, there has been far less media attention on the people who do hazardous work extracting the oil and gas so many of us use to stay warm and get where we need to go. These workers and the Read More >

Posted on by Ken Scott, PhD, MPH, and Tim Bushnell, PhD, MPA4 Comments

Most-viewed NIOSH Products of 2022

  As we look forward to 2023, we also are taking a look back at our most-viewed products of 2022. After two years of information focused on COVID-19, 2022 brought a variety of topics that engaged our users including ergonomics, construction, ladder safety, and working in the heat. Below is a summary of the top Read More >

Posted on by Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA; Katie Shahan, JD; Burt Tienken; and Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA2 Comments

Safety Intervention Grant Programs Can Be Effective in Preventing Workplace Injuries

  Workers’ compensation (WC) insurers and other organizations offer grant programs to fund employers to install equipment and other engineering changes to improve workplace safety. Research provides some evidence that these types of programs can be effective in preventing workplace injuries. As a key example, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OHBWC) since 1999 has Read More >

Posted on by Steven J. Wurzelbacher, PhD; Stephen J. Bertke, PhD; Michael P. Lampl, MS; P. Timothy Bushnell, PhD, MPA; Alysha R. Meyers, PhD; Brian D. Lowe, PhD, David C. Robins, AAS; Steven J. Naber, PhD; Marie Hayden, MS; and Libby L. Moore, PhD1 Comment