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NIOSH eNews – June 2012

Volume 10 Number 2 June 2012


From the Director’s Desk

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

Celebrating the First Year of Total Worker Health™

In June 2011, NIOSH announced the development of Total Worker Health™, a new program that evolved from the NIOSH Steps to a Healthier Workforce and NIOSH WorkLife Initiatives. Total Worker Health™ is a strategy integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance worker health and well-being.

As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the program, I am pleased to share with you a few of our milestones for the past year and our future directions for preserving the Nation’s human resources.

One important milestone is the recent publication of The NIOSH Total Worker Health™ Program: Seminal Research Papers 2012. This document is a compilation and update of three papers from the 2004 NIOSH-sponsored, Steps to a Healthier Workforce Symposium. The papers established the rationale for expanding research on the benefits of integrated programs to improve worker health and workplace safety. These papers are widely cited and are considered seminal writings on the science and practice of integrating health protection and health promotion. We encourage you to engage in a discussion with lead authors Glorian Sorensen, Seth Seabury, and Ron Goetzel, as this month’s guest bloggers on the NIOSH Science Blog.

Other highlights from the past year, and other opportunities that the next year will bring, include the following:

A woman works out on a treadmill at work with a trainer.
  • In September 2011, a Healthier Federal Workers Symposium, led and co-sponsored by NIOSH, featured federal workplaces’ most influential thought leaders and policy makers.
  • In December 2011, the first National Expert Colloquium on TWH™ was held to gain further insight from leading health promotion and health protection experts from private industry, government, and labor.
  • In March 2012, we launched the quarterly eNewsletter, TWH™ in Action!, to share new research, Promising Practices for Total Worker Health™, and resources from us and our partners.
  • In May 2012, Dr. Anita Schill, manager of the NIOSH Total Worker Health Program, participated in a podcast with Safety Breakthrough Radio highlighting the Program.
  • In June 2012, the second National Expert Colloquium on Total Worker Health™ will be held to continue dialogue with leading health promotion and health protection experts from private industry, government, and labor.
  • In September 2012, the second Healthier Federal Workers Symposium will be held.
  • In May 2013, the conference Work Stress and Health: Protecting and Promoting Total Worker Health™ will be co-sponsored by NIOSH, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.

Additionally, in 2011, we expanded support for extramural research by renewing funding for three Centers of Excellence and funding a new fourth Center of Excellence. A coordinating committee, comprised of the directors from each Center of Excellence, was formed to coordinate activities among the Centers and NIOSH and to forge collaborations among intramural and extramural research. We also revised our strategic goals and developed a program work plan to expand our intramural research for Total Worker Health™. In FY2013 and FY2014, we hope to fund four high-quality NORA intramural projects. As we set our sights on the future, we look forward to working closely with our partners to further stimulate the development and adoption of Total Worker Health™ research and practice.

In the eight years since the Steps to a Healthier Workforce Symposium, interest in integrated approaches to worker health and safety has flourished. An increasing amount of evidence shows that the work environment and the overall health of the workers within it are inextricably linked. Disease and injury, whether caused or worsened by risk factors related to work, nonwork activities, or lifestyle, reduce quality of life, opportunity, and income for workers and those dependent upon them. For employers, the collective burden of diminished workforce health and ability adversely impacts recruitment, retention, productivity, and, ultimately, economic viability. The 2012 Total Worker Health™ Seminal Research Papers and several other key Total Worker Health™ reports point to a growing need for research to better understand the benefits of integrated approaches to prevent and to promote more comprehensive intervention strategies.

The interest in integrated approaches increases NIOSH’s responsibility for research and assistance to identify and address factors in the workplace itself that may put working men and women at risk of injury or illness. Risk factors on the job and off the job can have synergistic effects; consequently, it makes sense to look at these factors holistically for more effective results. It also builds on the value of the workplace as a forum for disseminating information and education to many people at one time, and furthering employers’ and workers’ joint investment in good health.

As we work together to confront the challenges facing the American workforce, NIOSH believes that integrating the protection of worker health and safety with evidence-based health promotion will be a key strategy for building a strong economy on the foundation of safe jobs and healthy workers. All of us at NIOSH working in Total Worker Health™ hope this inspires you to be creative in your efforts to pursue new research, implement new prevention practices and policies, and celebrate success stories illustrating the benefits of integrated approaches to Total Worker Health.

For more information go to /niosh/TWH/ or contact the Total Worker Health™ core team at

Call for Nominations 2013 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2013 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards.™ The awards are given by NIOSH in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association to recognize excellence in hearing loss prevention. The deadline for self-nominations is September 3. Additional information is available at

Study Finds Gender Differences in Acute Pesticide-Related Illnesses and Injuries

A paper by NIOSH researchers finds that farmworkers employed in the United States continue to have a high risk for acute pesticide-related illness with rates twice as high among female farmworkers compared with male farmworkers. The paper was published in the April 2012 issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and explains that the gender difference in rates is confined to farmworkers who don’t directly handle pesticides and who may instead have risk for exposure from such factors as early re-entry into areas that have been treated with pesticides by others. For more information, go to

Agencies Advocate for Use of Blunt Tip Suture Needles

In an effort to decrease the risk of needlestick injury, NIOSH, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Food and Drug Administration have issued a new joint safety communication document that encourages healthcare professionals to use blunt-tip suture needles as an alternative to standard suture needles when suturing fascia and muscle. /niosh/topics/bbp/pdfs/Blunt-tip_Suture_Needles_Safety.pdf

NIOSH Supports Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week

June 17–23 is International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week. This annual event aims to improve fire fighter safety and health to give all fire fighters a better chance of survival during emergencies and also in the long term. The theme for this year’s Safety and Health Week is “Rules You Can Live By.” The effort captures the importance of responders taking care of themselves both on and off the emergency incident scene.

Vibration Exposure Part of United Auto Workers Training Conference

NIOSH researchers Drs. Ren Dong and Thomas McDowell conducted a three-hour course on hand-transmitted vibration exposure, risk assessment, and intervention at the 2012 United Auto Workers/General Motors Joint Health & Safety Training Conference held in May. The course was attended by approximately 120 health and safety professionals as well as management representatives from the UAW and GM. The course was well-received and may become a regular addition to this annual event. For more information on the course, contact Tom McDowell at

Using Personal Protective Equipment to Protect Workers in Latin America

NIOSH and the Chilean Institute of Public Health (ISP) organized the first international seminar in Latin America to focus on elements of personal protective equipment (PPE). During the two-day event in May, the NIOSH researchers conducted educational workshops on PPE, addressing the respirator certification process, testing and quality control, selection and use of respirators on work sites both in the United States and Chile, and the importance of certification, training, and appropriate user information for PPE. In this region of the world, education on PPE is extremely important due to the high number of workers who must use respiratory protection to keep themselves safe on a daily basis. Please contact Jackie Krah at for more information.

Healthcare Workers, Health Disparities, and HHEs

NIOSH researchers Drs. Maria Lioce and Diana Ceballos shared their expertise on global health to over 600 attendees at the 32nd Congress of the Colombian Society of Occupational Medicine in May in Bogota, Colombia. Dr. Lioce gave a plenary talk about the global effort for health care workers protection as well as two seminars related to needlestick prevention and the election and evaluation of safety devices. Dr. Ceballos gave a plenary talk on eliminating health disparities as well as seminars on the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program and occupational asthma related to isocyanate exposures in the collision repair industry. For more information on NIOSH global efforts go to /niosh/programs/global/.

Intimate Partner Violence and Working Women

Recent research conducted by the NIOSH and West Virginia University’s Injury Control Research Center revealed intimate partner workplace violence among U.S. working women resulted in 142 homicides from 2003 to 2008. The study was published in the April 2012 issue of Annals of Epidemiology and also said that women in healthcare, production, and office/administration had the highest proportion of homicides in the workplace related to intimate partner violence. Read more at

NIOSH Congratulates….

Winnie Boal, Plain Language Award Winner

NIOSH researcher Winnie Boal won a ClearMark Award of Distinction from the Center for Plain Language for her work on the NIOSH document First Responders: Encourage Your Workers to Report Bloodborne Pathogen Exposures. The ClearMark awards recognize the best in plain language each year from government, non-profit, and private companies. In addition to Winnie, the document authors include Ahmed Gomaa, Walter Alarcon, Chip Lehman, Brenda Jones, and Donna Pfirman (all NIOSH) and staff at Westat who provided support.

Bruce Whisner, CDC Employee of the Month

Bruce Whisner, a NIOSH electronics technician, received recognition from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the April CDC Employee of the Month. Bruce was chosen for his willingness and desire to assist in numerous projects, his knowledge and capability in programming controls for multiple types of electronic equipment, and his many other qualities that make him an exceptional employee.

Marilyn Ridenour, Commissioned Officers Association Award Recipient

Marilyn Ridenour, NIOSH epidemiologist and Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, received the 2012 Carruth Wagner Foundation Award for Innovative Collaboration in Public Health from the Commissioned Officers Association. CDR Ridenour was recognized for building health partnerships related to her research to reduce violence to health care workers.

News from Our Partners

Semi Trucks at Greatest Risk of Fire on Kentucky Highways

Large trucks—especially semi-trucks—are more likely than light trucks or passenger vehicles to catch fire in high-speed vehicle crashes, according to a recent study by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center. The center said that incidents resulting in large-truck fires can be reduced or eliminated by taking preventative steps to improve safety on the road: mandatory inertia fuel switches as standard vehicle equipment, rigid roadside barriers, protected crossover lines between fuel tanks, protected placement of fuel tanks on the cab, enforcements of rest period and quality sleep for drivers, investment in driver fatigue technology, and elimination of cab distractions.

A logo for Work Safe Work Smart made to look like a yellow traffic sign.

Minnesota Occupational Health Curriculum For Rural Adolescents

The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program is updating its Work Safe Work Smart curriculum. This curriculum—developed and evaluated by MDH with previous NIOSH support—is designed for rural adolescents who may have both agricultural and non-agricultural work experiences. The curriculum has been available on the agency’s Web site since 2003 and remains a frequent download. Updates will focus on revised child labor laws, and the updated curriculum should be available in July 2012. The curriculum can be found at

Contestants Wanted for Worker Safety and Health App Challenge

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced a new challenge to provide workers, advocates, and employers with a vital tool for safety. Contestants are asked to utilize government data to create applications for several platforms that address one or both of the following categories: tools that demonstrate the importance of knowing about workplace safety and health and/or tools that help young people understand their rights in the workplace.

AIHA Releases App for Industrial Hygienists

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has developed the IH Calculator App that allows professional industrial hygienists to use common formulas and conversions on their mobile device and calculate the results in a timely and efficient manner.

What Does Workplace Safety Look Like?

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Teens at Work Project has announced the winners of the 2012 Massachusetts Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest, marking the second successful year of reaching out to hear what youth have to say about workplace safety. This year, 120 entries were received from teens throughout the state, and another 70 youth were engaged in judging the winning posters. The Project invites everyone to visit its Web page to see the winners! ( And for anyone passing through Boston or Springfield, MA, the Project invites you to keep your eyes out on public transportation for the 1st place winning poster from May through July!

New Health Hazard Evaluation Reports Now Available

HHE logo Campylobacter Infection and Exposures among Employees at a Poultry Processing Plant

HHE Program investigators evaluated the occurrence of Campylobacter infections among employees at a poultry processing plant. By reviewing records, the NIOSH investigators found 29 cases of laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter infection among employees during a 3½-year period; most infected employees worked at the plant for less than a month, worked in the receiving/live hang area, and lived at a residential correctional center (also known as a diversion center). The investigators recommended that the employer reduce Campylobacter contamination in the plant through improved sanitation and other engineering controls.

Evaluation of Exposure to Tuberculosis among Employees at a Medical Center

HHE Program investigators conducted a health hazard evaluation to examine a recent incidence of active tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection among employees at a medical center. The NIOSH investigators determined that hospital transmission of tuberculosis to employees was likely. They recommended the following

  • Training on preventing TB exposure and infection be provided to all employees
  • Tuberculosis screening be enforced
  • The seven malfunctioning airborne infection isolation rooms identified during the evaluation not be used until they are repaired

Noise Evaluation of Elementary and High School Music Classes and Indoor Marching Band Rehearsals

A health hazard evaluation was requested by employees at a high school due to concerns about hearing loss from loud noise exposures during music classes and band rehearsals. Investigators found that the band director’s full-shift noise exposure exceeded occupational exposure limits. The investigators recommended that the employer provide a practice space that is acoustically designed for musical performances and that the band director wears musician earplugs until that area is available for use.

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

New Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports Available

Career Lieutenant and Fire Fighter/Paramedic Die in a Residential House Fire

The factors that contributed to the deaths of two career fire fighters in California included the unique construction features of the structure built into a steeply sloping hillside, ineffective fireground size-up, fire fighters operating above the fire, ineffective fireground communications, and the lack of a personnel accountability system. /niosh/fire/reports/face201113.html

Fire Fighter Dies from Hyperthermia and Heatstroke While Conducting Mop-up Operations

The factors that contributed to death of a wildland fire fighter in Texas included an ineffective program to combat heat stress, failure to work as part of a team, and the lack of available cold/icy water immersion therapy. /niosh/fire/reports/face201117.html

Volunteer Fire Fighter Killed While Directing Traffic at an Interstate Highway Incident

The factors that contributed to the death of a volunteer fire fighter in Iowa included insufficient training, staffing, equipment, and standard operating procedures to adequately establish a traffic incident management area; the victim working a highway travel lane; and an inattentive passing motorist. /niosh/fire/reports/face201123.html

WTC Health Program Update

Apply For Outreach & Education Funding

A non-research funding announcement is now available for outreach and education activities supporting the World Trade Center Health Program Outreach and Education Plan (RFA-OH-12-1201). For more information go to;jsessionid=2NhRP1dPSD9hrf5vpt8RKZKVLR1gFRPprJwTQyZNlJWp8ypy2vtl!1571115659?oppId=172554&mode=VIEW.


NORA Partnerships Public Meeting

The next semi-annual National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) public meeting, Partnerships to Advance the National Occupational Research Agenda, will be held June 27 in Washington, D.C. Attendees can also participate online. Individuals and national organizations will learn about and contribute to the progress of NORA. For more information, go to or

r2p Corner

r2p logo Extraction Funnel for Metalworking Fluids Now Available

A 37-mm ID funnel

NIOSH announces the development and commercial availability of a newly designed funnel for the analysis of samples of metalworking fluids, pursuant to NIOSH Method 5524. This 37-mm ID funnel permits extraction of metalworking fluid aerosols from solid particulates. However, it also may be useful for other applications requiring an extraction funnel of this dimension. For more information about the funnel go to For information about NIOSH Method 5524 and its use, contact Robert Glaser at (513) 841-4270 or Mention of this company name or linking to its Web site does not constitute a NIOSH commercial endorsement. Image (right): A 37-mm ID funnel.

NIOSH and ASSE Renew Partnership

NIOSH Director, Dr. John Howard and ASSE President Terrie Norris, sign the agreement

Recently, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and NIOSH renewed their partnership agreement. The partnership will build opportunities for ASSE members and their employers to partner in NIOSH-led occupational safety and health research and promote and facilitate the translation of research on occupational injury prevention strategies and technologies. For more information, contact Dawn Castillo at (304) 285-5894 or Photo (right):NIOSH Director, Dr. John Howard and ASSE President Terrie Norris, sign the agreement.

NIOSH and Board of Certified Safety Professionals to Partner

In May, NIOSH and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) signed a partnership agreement. NIOSH and BSCP will work together to improve the protection of workers through effective prevention strategies and technologies and to encourage students and other professionals to choose occupational safety and health as a career and advance their competency in that field. For more information, contact Dawn Castillo at (304) 285-5894 or

What’s new on the NIOSH Science Blog?

Examining Potential Workplace Exposures During Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is the process of injecting, under high pressure, large volumes of water, sand, and chemicals to help fracture the rock in an oil or gas bearing formation. To investigate potential workplace exposures and address the lack of information on potential occupational risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, NIOSH is conducting studies during hydraulic fracturing operations (/niosh/docs/2010-130/pdfs/2010-130.pdf). The new NIOSH blog post summarizes NIOSH’s field efforts and recommends ways to protect workers from exposures to respirable crystalline silica. Initial NIOSH hazard assessments identified such exposures as the most significant known health hazard for workers in hydraulic fracturing. Read more and join the conversation at

Federal Register Notices

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

New Communication Products

NIOSH Fast Facts, Now in Haitian Creole and Vietnamese

General Safe Practices for Working with Engineered Nanomaterials in Research Laboratories
This NIOSH document provides recommendations on engineering controls and safe practices for handling engineered nanomaterials in laboratories and some pilot scale operations. /niosh/docs/2012-147/

Call for Abstracts

International Society for Respiratory Protection
Call for papers. Deadline for submission is August 1.

23nd Annual Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference
Call for proposals. Deadline for Breakout Session proposals is June 29; deadline for Art & Science Presentation proposals and Activity Session proposals is September 21; proposals for Peer Presentations are due August 24 through February 15.

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

Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

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

7th Joint European/United States Conference on Occupational Safety & Health
July 11–13, Brussels, Belgium

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

6th Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media
August 7–9, 2012, Atlanta, GA

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

International Society for Respiratory Protection (ISRP)
September 23–27, Boston, MA

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?

CDC Science Clips Provides Weekly Updates on New and Popular OSH Articles

Each week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posts on the web new CDC authored publications, new key scientific articles or public health articles noted in the media. The lists are sorted by topic area and include a section for new NIOSH resources in occupational safety and health. For more information or to subscribe to the RSS feed, go to

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.