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November 02, 2020
NIOSH releases program performance summaries

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released reports on the performance of six of its programs: chronic disease prevention; health hazard evaluations; occupational safety and health surveillance; safe, skilled, ready workforce; services workers; and wholesale and retail trade.

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The cancer, reproductive, cardiovascular, and other chronic disease prevention (CRC) program works with academics and industry, labor union, professional organization, and trade association partners to prevent and reduce chronic diseases related to work exposures. These chronic conditions include adverse reproductive outcomes, cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and neurological and renal diseases.

The program’s research accomplishments have included:

  • A study of welding fume exposure in vitro toxicity due to increasing oxidative stress and inflammatory signals in first trimester embryo feeder cells from the placenta,
  • A study that found night work and frequent rotational work was associated with a higher risk for hypertension, and
  • A review on how nanomaterial inhalation exposure impacts the cardiovascular system and the role of the nervous system on these effects.

The program will issue a document on Managing the Occupational Health Risks of Hazardous Drug Exposure in Healthcare Settings and update its List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings.

NIOSH’s health hazard evaluation (HHE) program conducts consultations and field visits in response to requests from employers, labor unions, and workers to investigate illnesses caused by work exposures. The HHE program made site visits for 22 HHEs and published 33 HHE reports in 2019. The program plans to provide recommendations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help address workers’ occupational safety and health concerns and publish a document on minimizing indoor environmental problems during construction and renovation projects.

The safe, skilled, ready workforce (SSRW) program focuses on preparing workers before they join the workforce with essential workplace safety and health knowledge and skills. The SSRW program will partner with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training Institute to develop new OSHA 10-hour, in-person courses tailored for high school students in technical education programs for future work in the construction and general industries.

The services program focuses on preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among service workers in a variety of industries. The services program published an exploratory study of the work experiences of building cleaners and research findings on exposures to triphenyl phosphates in electronic scrap facilities and nail salons, as well as an HHE on metals and noise exposures at a boat maintenance facility.

The surveillance program helps build the data capabilities of state-based occupational safety and health surveillance programs and supports industry and health and safety surveillance needs. The program completed data collection in a mining industry and a workforce survey for the coal industry and redesigned the Commercial Fishing Incident Database to collect information on both nonfatal and fatal injuries and vessel disasters. It also published a paper that found annual increases of 24% in drug overdose deaths at work for the years 2011 through 2016.

The wholesale and retail trade (WRT) program focuses on issues related to WRT work. The WRT program published an article in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine examining industry trends in injuries, illnesses and fatalities, and economic implications for 2006 through 2016 and collaborated with the National Center for Productive Aging and Work on a “National Employ Older Workers Week” to increase awareness of aging retail workforce safety, health, and well-being issues.


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