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NIOSH eNews – May 2012

Volume 10 Number 1 May 2012


From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH
May eNews 2012

Safety Pays. Falls Cost

Guest Column by Dr. Christine Branche, Principal Associate Director of NIOSH and Director of the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health

Fact. Falls kill. Falls are the number one cause of construction worker fatalities, accounting for one-third of on-the-job injury deaths in the industry. The death of a spouse and parent is an emotional hardship for a family left to grieve and often left to face an uncertain financial future.

Fact. Falls are preventable. Deaths and injuries from falls represent a major, persistent, yet preventable public health problem. Economically, they drain millions of dollars from businesses and from the U.S. economy.

Photo of male construction worker

The men and women involved in construction—from CEOs to day laborers—are justifiably proud of the hard work they do. They are also aware that construction work can be dangerous. For occupational falls, construction workers face disproportionate risks. The leading fatal events in construction are falls related to roofs, scaffolds, and ladders, which combined account for roughly two-thirds of all fatal falls in construction.

Construction is responsible for nearly one out of every five work-related deaths. There were 9.1 million construction workers (including self-employed workers) in the United States in 2010, accounting for 7% of the national workforce [BLS 2011]. Of the 4,547 U.S. workers who died on the job that year, 17% (including both public and private sectors) were construction workers—more than any other single industry sector. Construction-building, renovating, repairing, and maintaining houses, buildings, roads, and workplaces—requires skilled workers and responsible employers. There is a real need to promote the use of fall prevention practices by contractors and construction workers to turn this problem around.

Campaign logo for the safety pays, falls costs campaign. Shows silhouette of construction worker in side a orange triangle sign

A new national campaign “Safety Pays. Falls Cost” was launched on April 26, which focuses on efforts to prevent falls in construction. The campaign encourages residential construction contractors, workers, and others in the industry to work safely and use the right equipment. It focuses on the three major types of fatal falls: falls from roofs, falls from ladders, and falls from scaffolds.

The Campaign is aimed at construction contractors, onsite supervisors, and workers and uses a variety of strategies to reach key construction audiences with three main messages:

  • Contractors and workers can plan together, before every job, to work safely at heights.
  • Contractors must provide the right equipment for working at heights, and workers need to use that equipment.
  • Contractors and workers need to be trained to use the equipment and to work safely.

Several materials, including posters, fact sheets, and training tools, are available. Campaign posters and fact sheets may be ordered from the Occupational Safety and Health Association at Additional information and tools are available from the Campaign’s Web site ( and from NIOSH (/niosh/construction/stopfalls.html).

The campaign was conceived under the auspices of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector Council. Subject-matter experts and key stakeholders compiled critical data and background information for the research foundation of the campaign. The research was used to develop materials tested in 15 focus groups, which were conducted in four U.S. cities over a three-week period, ending in January. Sector Council members played pivotal roles in pulling materials together for analysis and review and helped to support the focus groups. The campaign theme, image, logo, tagline, and colors were all tested in the focus groups. Thanks to NORA, we and our partners were able to lay this necessary groundwork for the campaign with much greater speed and harmony than any of us could have accomplished on our own.

The NORA Construction Sector Council and other stakeholders are now helping to get the word out about this campaign. All who are interested are invited to partner with us to help make the campaign a success. For more information on the campaign go to the NIOSH Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction Web page at /niosh/construction/stopfalls.html. To become a campaign partner and to see more campaign materials, go to

BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) [2011]. 2010 Current Population Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CPWR Data Center, December.

Commemorating Worker’s Memorial Day

In recognition of the 2012 Workers Memorial Day, NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., released a statement on April 26, honoring men and women who have suffered injury, illness, and death on the job.

NIOSH Presents 2012 Awards for Significant Scientific Contributions

NIOSH presented awards on April 26 in an annual ceremony recognizing NIOSH researchers, their partners, and their products for scientific excellence and for their contributions for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The awards presented include the Alice Hamilton Award for scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers, the James P. Keogh Award for exceptional service by an individual in the occupational safety and health field, and the Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award for outstanding efforts by NIOSH researchers and partners in applying occupational safety and health research to the prevention of workplace fatalities, illnesses, or injuries. In addition, the Director’s Intramural Awards for Extraordinary Science was also presented. For a list of winners go to /niosh/updates/upd-04-26-12.html.

Sleep Deprivation Report Highlighted

A report on short sleep duration among workers by NIOSH researcher Sara Luckhaupt, published in the April 27 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control’s (CDC) Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, gained widespread attention in late April. Both US News and World Report and WebMD gave coverage to this new report, which identifies consequences of sleep deprivation, especially on workers. The WebMD article can be viewed at For the MMWR report, go to

Phase Out Notice for CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers

A NIOSH respirator user notice was issued April 26 to inform users of the CSE SR-100 self-contained self-rescuer (SCSR) of a schedule for phasing out use of the device in mining and non-mining applications (/niosh/npptl/usernotices/notices/notice04262012.html). This action follows the April 16, 2012, publication of the NIOSH Technical Report, Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers (/niosh/docs/2012-139/). Continued use as a respirator in non-mining applications is contingent upon phase-out of the CSE SR-100s and replacement of these respirators by a different NIOSH-approved respirator as described in OSHA ALERT OA-3541. Continued use of these devices in underground mines is contingent upon implementation of the phase-out schedule for the devices described in MSHA Program Information Bulletin (PIB) No. 12–09 (

Safe-in-Sound Award™ Winners Tell All

In the first of a series, Ms. Connie Muncy a Safe-in-Sound Award™ winner talks about her pioneering work at Montgomery County (Ohio) Water Services in the creation of a hearing loss prevention program for the Services Sector and how winning the award led her to implement another innovative safety program within the Montgomery County Solid Waste Services. Read more at NIOSH is a sponsor of the award.

Radio Reports on Risks to Young Farm Workers

In a recent report by North Country Public Radio in Canton, New York, John Myers, a lead NIOSH researcher, discusses the risks to children working on farms and the impact their injuries have on them and their families.

WHO Spring Newsletter Available

The April 2012 issue of Collaborating Centre Connection, a quarterly newsletter featuring the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health, of which NIOSH is co-chair, is now available. This edition spotlights the role of primary care units in providing essential interventions for occupational health. The newsletter, which also reports highlights from the WHO Collaborating Centre Network meeting in Cancun and more.

NIOSH Researchers Recognized for DOD Collaboration

NIOSH researchers in Morgantown, West Virginia, were recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense for their research and evaluations of anti-vibration gloves and riveting hammers as part of NIOSH/DOD collaborations. Their studies helped identify suitable protective equipment and reduced-vibration riveting hammers for Naval and DOD personnel, which could help reduce the risk of an occupational disorder linked with long-term use of certain powered hand tools. For more information on the study contact Daniel Welcome at, Thomas McDowell at, or Ren Dong at

Registration Open for Safe Nano Design Workshop

Join NIOSH and partners for the Safe Nano Design workshop, August 14–16, at the University at Albany. Participants at this workshop will be given the opportunity to provide input into the safe commercialization of nano products, resulting in the development of guidelines for the safe synthesis of nanoparticles and associated products, using a Prevention-through-Design approach.

NIOSH Congratulates….

Vince Castranova, Val Vallyathan Investigator Award

Dr. Vince Castranova of NIOSH recently received the American Thoracic Society’s Assembly on Environmental & Occupational Health Val Vallyathan Senior Investigator Award. This award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding contributions to basic or translational science of occupational lung disease. The award was created in honor of Val Vallyathan, world renowned research pathologist who studied occupational lung disease at the NIOSH for over 30 years.

Renee Funk, Veterinary Responder of the Year

CDR Renee Funk, senior staff veterinary epidemiologist within the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Office, was recently named the 2012 United States Public Health Service Veterinary Responder of the Year. CDR Funk received this honor for her leadership and response to the H1N1 Pandemic and Deepwater Horizon, and to the groundbreaking emergency response surveillance program development.

Cynthia Hines, AIHA Fellow Award

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) recently awarded Cynthia Hines of NIOSH the distinction of AIHA Fellow. This award recognizes AIHA members in good standing for 15 years of continuous membership who have made recognized contributions to industrial hygiene or related disciplines, either through research, leadership, publications, education, or service to AIHA. Read more

Sue Nowlin and Marie Sweeney, CDC Innovation Challenge Winners

The proposal “Evaluating the feasibility of real time autocoding of industry and occupation in electronic health records systems,” submitted by Sue Nowlin and Marie Sweeney of NIOSH, was announced as a winner of the CDC 2012 Innovation Fund Challenge.

Brad King, HHS Green Champions Award

Brad King of NIOSH received a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Green Champions Award for a commuter bike program, which included a commuter course that he implemented at NIOSH that increased the number of bikers at NIOSH from one or two to fifteen.

News from Our Partners

Nebraska Establishes Pesticide Exposure Surveillance System

The Nebraska Occupational Health Surveillance Program is partnering with the Nebraska Regional Poison Center to develop a pesticide exposure surveillance system. Nebraska has one of the highest pesticide poisoning rates in the country, despite the fact that the pesticide poisoning rate has decreased from 9.0 to 3.8 during 2000–2008. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center provides the Nebraska Occupational Health Surveillance Program with information on all pesticide exposures. Local health departments then follow up with the exposed person to get more information on the nature of the exposure, personal protective equipment that was being used, and whether the person has had applicator training.

Evaluation of a State OSHA Plan’s Effectiveness

Research conducted by the Washington State Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program evaluated the impact of OSHA’s consultation and enforcement activities, over a 10–year period, on workers’ compensation compensable claims rates. The results provide strong evidence that state OSHA consultation and enforcement activities lead to statistically significant reductions in workers’ compensation compensable claims rates. The report summary can be accessed at

Group Recommends Agenda to Advance Young Worker Safety and Health

The May/June issue of Public Health Reports includes an article with recommendations for research and policy directions to advance understanding and improve young worker safety. The project, “Improving the Experiences of Young Workers in the U.S. and Canada: An Interdisciplinary Educational Program,” was jointly funded by NIOSH and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. The article is available at

NIOSH Part of ASSE NAOSH Week Activities

NIOSH consultant Elaine Cullen was featured in a video clip on the American Society of Safety Engineers’ Web page recognizing North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week. NAOSH week occurs every year during the first full week of May and is intended to raise awareness about occupational safety and health and the environment.

New Health Hazard Evaluation Reports Now Available

HHE logo Evaluation of Eye and Respiratory Symptoms at a Poultry Processing Facility

HHE Program investigators evaluated symptoms at a poultry processing facility and found that employees who work in areas using super chlorinated water were more likely to report chest tightness, sneezing, dry eyes, blurry vision, and burning or itchy eyes in the previous month than employees who worked in areas that did not use super chlorinated water. Investigators recommended that managers maintain chlorine and other water chemistry parameters within established guidelines and find a more accurate and timely way to monitor the super chlorinated water. Although the ventilation in the building followed guidelines for air flowing from clean to dirty areas, the air flow pattern was not done via positive pressure ventilation. Investigators recommended that positive pressure ventilation be used to achieve appropriate air flow patterns.

Chemotherapy Drug Evaluation at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital

HHE Program investigators evaluated concerns about reproductive problems and hair loss at a veterinary teaching hospital. Employees thought these issues were associated with work-related exposures to chemotherapy drugs. Cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide were found in 4 of 44 surface wipe samples but were not found in air samples. Some employees reported symptoms that have been reported with occupational exposure to chemotherapy drugs but also have other causes. NIOSH investigators were unable to determine if the health effects reported by employees were work-related. Recommendations were made to managers regarding limiting employee access to the pharmacy, chemotherapy drug preparation room, and administration area. and using biological safety cabinets that do not recirculate exhaust air when preparing volatile chemotherapy drugs. Employees were encouraged to always wear the required personal protective equipment.

Links to the reports from these HHEs can be found at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.

New Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program Reports Now Available

Assembler/Fabricator Dies When Struck by “L” Rack Loaded with Glass Mirrors

Factors that contributed to the death of an assembler/fabricator in Washington State include failure to develop a safer method of glass transportation and handling, not designing and organizing the work environment to eliminate hazards, not prohibiting the unsafe and improper handling of materials, and the lack of worker safety training material in an appropriate language.

Construction Laborer Pinned Under Tire of Articulated Machine

Factors that contributed to the death of a laborer in Michigan included failure to identify all the equipment that could articulate, not determining if a steering frame articulation lock was present and functional, and the lack of a written safety and health plan that included actions that workers should take in emergency situations.

Roofer Dies When Struck by a Falling Load of Palletized Roofing Material

Factors that contributed to the death of a commercial roofer in Michigan include failure to ensure riggers were appropriately trained in safe and proper rigging techniques, not having roof signal persons appropriately trained, the lack of a communication system to provide safety warnings, and not conducting a job safety analysis for worker tasks.

Truck Driver Struck by Semi-Tractor When Walking in Parking Lot

Factors that contributed to the death of a truck driver in Michigan included failure to require the use of vehicle headlights in parking lots, not educating workers about sleep fatigue, non-functional pole lights, and not establishing vehicle traffic flow and pedestrian walkways in the parking lot.

Golf Course Mechanic Died When Struck by Falling Ash Tree

Factors that contributed to the death of a golf course mechanic in Michigan included failure to provide worker education and training, not providing a job briefing, the lack of personal protective equipment, and the failure to have a written safety and health program.

Maintenance Supervisor Killed by Fall While Changing Light Bulb

Factors that contributed to the death of a maintenance supervisor in Michigan included failure to identify safety issues related to maintenance, not developing a health and safety program, not conducting a job hazard analysis, not having the edge of the floor landing/stairway identified, and not using light bulbs that required less frequent changing.

Farmer Engulfed then Asphyxiated by Corn in Grain Bin

Factors that contributed to the death of a farmer in Iowa included entering or being inside a bin during loading or unloading, not using a safety harness and a three-person team for the entry, and not breaking up the surface crusts or clumps from outside the bin.

New Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports Available

Career Fire Fighter Dies in Church Fire Following Roof Collapse

Factors that contributed to the death of a fire fighter in Indiana included failure in the initial size-up by not fully considering the impact of a limited water supply, the available staffing and occupancy type, a lightweight roof truss system and the rapid fire progression, failure to fully develop an occupational safety and health plan, and a roof collapse.


Trucker Health and Safety

The NIOSH Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (TWU) Program works with many partners to advance TWU’s research agenda by collecting and sharing information. One current priority area is health and safety among truckers. NIOSH researchers recently participated in the Mid-America Trucking Show, which draws over 80,000 trucking professionals and industry representatives, to get input and promote trucker safety and health. Follow @NIOSHtransport ( for updates on transportation-related safety and health information. For more information visit, /nora/sectors/twu/ or contact Jim Helmkamp at

r2p Corner

r2p logo New Partnership Between NIOSH and ANSES

On March 19, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) and NIOSH signed a 10–year agreement that will be part of a collaborative effort to use expertise from both agencies to advance the protection of workers and to promote best practices to improve worker safety and health.

NIOSH Partners with DOE

NIOSH recently signed a partnership agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOE/NREL). Through this partnership, NIOSH and DOE/NREL will share information and coordinate research activities to advance worker safety and health in the renewable energy sector, including wind, solar, and biomass energy. This work will include identifying and eliminating hazards at the planning stage—a concept known as Prevention through Design—and developing innovations to maximize worker protection. For more information, contact Max Kiefer at

What’s new on the NIOSH Science Blog?

Safety Pays. Fall Cost.

In the current NIOSH Blog, Dr. Branche continues the conversation from this month’s Director’s Desk on the national campaign—Safety Pays. Falls Cost—which focuses on efforts to prevent falls in construction. Read more and join the discussion at

Federal Register Notices

Data Collection for ROPS

Proposed data collections submitted for public comment; Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) attributes identified by distribution channel intermediaries. Deadline for comments is May 18.

Additional Peer Review for Occupational Exposure Document

NIOSH announces additional questions for peer review for the draft document, Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione.

For a full listing of NIOSH official publications for rules, proposed rules, and notices for 2011, go to /niosh/fedreg.html.

New Communication Products

NIOSH Construction Falls Prevention Materials
Get the Construction Falls Prevention Fact Sheet (/niosh/docs/2012-142/) and Poster (/niosh/docs/2012-141/). PLAN ahead to get the job done safely. PROVIDE the right equipment. TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely.

Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers
A recently released NIOSH report describes the results of a NIOSH and MSHRA investigation to assess the prevalence of a lack of sufficient start-up oxygen in CSE SR-100 self-contained self-rescuer devices. For the full report, go to /niosh/docs/2012-141/.

Call for Abstracts

18th Annual Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Conference
Call for abstracts. Deadline for submission is June 15.

Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

National Academy of Sciences Colloquium: The Science of Science Communication
May 21–22, Washington DC.

The American Society of Safety Engineers: Safety 2012Look for us!
June 4–5, Denver, CO

The 22nd Annual Social Marketing Conference – Ideas Beyond Borders
June 15–16, Clearwater, FL

American Industrial Hygiene AssociationLook for us!
June 16–21, Indianapolis, IN

Partnerships to Advance the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)
June 27, Washington, DC

2012 National Conference on Health Statistics
August 6–8. Washington, DC

Safe Nano Design Workshop
August 14–16, Albany, NY

American Public Health Association
October 27–31, 2012, San Francisco, CA

Isocyanates and Health: Past, Present and Future
November 1–2, Bethesda, MD

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at /niosh/exhibits.html.

Did you know?

One out of every 3 deaths (32%) in construction is due to falls, the leading cause of work-related injury deaths. A new national campaign to prevent falls in construction encourages working safely and using the right equipment. For more information

Please send your comments and suggestions to us at

This newsletter is published monthly via email by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to inform members of the public health community as well as interested members of the general public of Institute related news, new publications, and updates on existing programs and initiatives.