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NIOSH eNews – May 2013


Volume 11 Number 1 May 2013


From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Presenting the 2013 Awards for Significant Scientific Contributions

I am pleased to announce the NIOSH scientific awards for 2013, recognizing the significant contributions made by researchers and their partners to occupational safety and health in 2012. The innovative, robust and impactful work we are honoring demonstrates the commitment of NIOSH researchers in addressing both persisting and emerging hazards that workers face in the 21st century workplace.

Dr. David Michaels gives the keynote presentation for the NIOSH Science Awards

Dr. David Michaels gives the keynote presentation for the NIOSH Science Awards

On April 26, I had the pleasure to present this year’s awards from Morgantown, WV, in our annual ceremony broadcast internally to all NIOSH locations. These annual awards are an opportunity for NIOSH to honor researchers for excellence in science. The awards presented included the Alice Hamilton Award, for scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers; the James P. Keogh Award, for outstanding service by a current or former NIOSH employee; and the Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award, for exceptional 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 Award for Extraordinary Intramural Science was also presented.

I was joined, remotely from Washington D.C., by our keynote speaker Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S. Department of Labor. We were honored by Dr. Michaels’ participation and gratified by his encouragement for the awardees, and for all scientists propelling the field of occupational safety and health forward.

The awardees for this year’s Alice Hamilton Award represent an array of sectors, highlighting the broad range of occupational safety and health with this year’s recipients contributing to the fields of construction, mining, nanotechnology, and respiratory disease. The James P. Keogh award honored Michael Attfield, PhD, one of the world’s most respected authorities on the epidemiology of occupational lung disease. The Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice awards went to a project focused on enhancing safety for fire fighters through efforts to improve performance of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) under high-heat conditions, a project aimed at increasing awareness of cost-efficient roll-over protective structures (CROPS) to prevent injuries and fatalities from tractor roll-overs, and a project developing a new resource that provides a way for workers to get immediate feedback on how well their hearing protection devices will protect them from their specific noise exposures.

The Director’s Award for Distinguished Career Scientist was presented to Robert Park who, in his 15 years at NIOSH has pioneered quantitative epidemiological methods for risk assessment, by clarifying the exposure-response that better represents the occupational hazard posed by harmful substances or agents in the work environment. The award in the category of Early Career Scientist was presented to Dr. Cammie Chaumont Menéndez, who has focused her work on ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders, workplace violence, and disparities in occupational injuries. The award in the Director’s category of Scientific Support was presented to Mr. Richard Whisler, who conducts essential work to support anthropometry research and the design of safety equipment.

As the nature of work changes and the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, it is critical that we have dedicated and passionate researchers ready to address the challenges we face in ensuring the safety and health of all people who work. Congratulations once again to our NIOSH researchers and award recipients; I am honored to work alongside such men and women.

For a full list of all awards and award recipients, please visit: /niosh/awards/.

Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program Is On Facebook!

The NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) has launched its new Facebook page. “Like us” on Facebook today and receive updates on the program, new publications, upcoming survey sites, photos from those surveys, and plans for future surveys.!/pages/CWHSP/431442336946368?fref=ts

Your Input Wanted On Development of Free Mobile Pocket Guide

NIOSH is developing a free mobile web version of the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. We’d like to hear from those of you who use the NPG. We’d like to know about how you use the guide, what industry you work in, and what part mobile devices play in your work life. This will help us determine how to organize content and what functions will make the mobile NPG the best possible guide for people like you. Read more and/or comment at

New Leadership in NIOSH Education and Information Division

NIOSH is pleased to announce that effective May 5 Commander (CDR) Lauralynn Taylor McKernan, ScD CIH will be the Deputy Director of its Education and Information Division (EID). CDR McKernan has served previously as the Senior Team Lead of the EID Document Development Branch and has published peer reviewed publications in topics ranging from bioaerosols on passenger aircraft, blood lead monitoring techniques, diacetyl sampling, and lessons learned for first responders. In her new role, CDR McKernan will continue to lead the NIOSH Health Hazard Banding effort and the Diacetyl Criteria document.

Worker Glue Exposure Topic of New York Times Article

A recent New York Times article highlighted the issue of occupational health concerns from exposure to n-propyl bromide (1-bromopropane) glues.

Medscape Article Highlights NIOSH PTSD Research

A recent Medscape article focused on how to assist returning veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder back to work. The article “Mission Critical: Getting Vets With PTSD Back to Work” was authored by NIOSH researchers Oliver Wirth, Jean Meade, and Margaret Glenn. The article is posted online at Registration at no charge is required for access.

NIOSH Illumination Research Addresses Visual Performance Needs with LED Technology

A new web page that highlights NIOSH research related to improved illumination in underground mines could be a key to reducing the second leading accident class of nonfatal lost-time injuries—slips, trips, and falls. While past research efforts have focused on such factors as cost, battery life, and miner preference, NIOSH’s latest illumination research takes a more modern approach—conducting experiments to assess human visual performance in simulated mining environments and using the experimental results to design improved illumination technologies. /niosh/mining/features/IlluminationFeature.html

NETL Director Dr. Anthony Cugini and NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard sign the agreement in April

NETL Director Dr. Anthony Cugini and NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard sign the agreement in April

NIOSH to Partner with National Energy Lab

On April 22, NIOSH and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) signed a memorandum of understanding to begin conducting collaborative research related to airborne emissions and exposure assessment at natural gas drilling sites. This research supports NIOSH’s ongoing efforts to address worker health and safety issues in the oil and gas industry.


WTC Health Program Update: Enrollment Now Open for Pentagon and Shanksville Responders

Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, responders are now eligible for medical monitoring and treatment services through the World Trade Center Health Program. This change went into effect on May 1. For more information about enrollment, please visit the program’s website at

New Paper Suggests Models for Work, Obesity, Health Research

A new paper by NIOSH scientists suggests models for designing studies that examine the role of obesity as both a risk factor and a health outcome in an occupational setting. The paper is available on line before official publication. Pandalai, Schulte and Miller: Conceptual heuristic models of the interrelationships between obesity and the occupational environment. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2013 Apr 15. doi:pii: 3363. 10.5271/sjweh.3363.

ERCs River View Coal Mine Trip

Students from the NIOSH Education and Research Centers at the University of Cincinnati, University of South Florida, and University of Illinois at Chicago joined together to explore the surface and underground operations at River View Coal Mine in Waverley, Kentucky, April 2–3. The visit was facilitated by the District Mine Safety and Health Administration office. Learn more about the trip at


Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

NIOSH Congratulates Ed Zechmann and Chuck Hayden on receiving the 2013 Robert C. Williams Public Health Service Engineering Literacy Award. The award is for their proceedings paper, “Assessment of a Chisel Noise Control for Jack and Chipping Hammers” presented at Inter-Noise 12, New York, August 2012. The award will be presented to them at the Engineers Category Day Luncheon, May 23, during the U.S. Public Health Service and Training Symposium, Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, Arizona.

FACE Reports

Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies After Being Ejected From Front Seat of Engine—Virginia
A 30-year-old male volunteer fire fighter died after being ejected from a fire engine while riding in the right front seat, responding with one other fire fighter (the driver) to a reported motor vehicle crash. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. NIOSH investigators identified the likely contributing factors to be the narrow roadway with minimal shoulder, loss of control when the vehicle’s right wheels left the paved surface, non-use of seat belts, inadequate SOPs for seat belt usage, and inadequate driver training. /niosh/fire/reports/face201223.html

Fire Fighter Collapses at Residential Fire due to Sudden Cardiac Event—New York
A 54-year-old male career fire fighter suddenly collapsed while preparing to enter a burning structure. Other fire fighters witnessed the collapse and after finding him unresponsive and pulseless, retrieved an external automated defibrillator (AED) from a nearby apparatus. The AED was attached to the fire fighter and a shock was delivered three times. Paramedics arrived on scene and provided advanced life support (ALS) but the fire fighter died. NIOSH investigators concluded that, given the victim’s underlying coronary heart disease, responding to the structure fire alarm probably triggered his sudden cardiac death. /niosh/fire/reports/face201215.html

News from Our Partners

Louisiana Report on Adult Asthma Morbidity and Mortality

The Louisiana Occupational Health & Injury Surveillance Program published a report reviewing adult asthma morbidity and mortality in Louisiana from 2006 to 2010. Trends were reviewed for age, race, sex, and parish. The report can be found at

State Workers’ Compensation Study Identifies High Risk Industries in Washington

A recent study by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries examined which industry groups are at high risk for seven costly and common injury types. The study, which is summarized in a recent report, identified construction, residential mental health facilities, nursing care facilities, logging, trucking, waste collection, and services to buildings and dwellings as high-risk industry groups. The information in the report provides information for effective targeting of prevention efforts and to help inform the setting of policy and research agendas in Washington State, the department said. The full report can be accessed at

Digital Story on Preventing Falls Through Skylights

The NIOSH-funded California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program announces the release of a new digital story on preventing falls through skylights. The short video tells the story of Joe, a 45-year old roofing supervisor in California who died tragically after he fell through a warehouse roof skylight while on the job. The video will be used by roofers and others in trainings to prevent similar fatalities from occurring. Watch the skylight video at

OSHA Releases Training Requirements for Employers

A new fact sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration describes the training requirements for employers under the revised Hazard Communication Standard.

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week May 5–11

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week occurs every year during the first full week of May. The goal of the week is to promote the positive benefits that a safe workplace provides not only for workers, but for their families, friends, businesses, and local communities and for the global community. Learn more at

OSHA Announces May Advisory Committee Meeting on Construction Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a public meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, May 23–24, in Washington, DC. Comments and requests to speak may be submitted electronically at by May 26. See the Federal Register notice for details (

PAHO hosts Webinar to Launch Regional Knowledge Network on Occupational Diseases

On May 29, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) celebrates its final webinar in honor of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Previous webinars focused on the need to strengthening the practice of Occupational Health sciences and sharing the WHO/ILO global path towards improving the prevention and registration of occupational diseases, the huge hidden global epidemics. This PAHO webinar titled “Launching of the Knowledge Network on Occupational Diseases: a Regional Effort to Improve Prevention and Diagnosis of Occupational Diseases” will be held from 9:30am to noon (WDC time). Learn more or sign up at

CPWR Construction Chart Book 5th Edition Now Available

The National Construction Center, The Center for Construction Research & Training (CPWR), has just released the online and print versions of The Construction Chart Book: The U.S. Construction Industry and Its Workers, now in its fifth edition. The book presents the most complete statistics available on all facets of the U.S. construction industry as well as new topics, such as displaced workers, employment projections, green construction, and OSHA citations/violations/penalties.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

HHE logoSensitization and Exposure to Flour Dust, Spices, and Other Ingredients among Poultry Breading Workers

HHE investigators evaluated employees’ exposures to breading dust containing flour, spices, and other ingredients at a poultry breading plant. Air sampling results indicated that most inhalable flour dust exposures were above the threshold limit value of 0.5 milligrams per cubic meter. Exposure to flour, uncooked breaded product, and other ingredients was associated with sensitization to flour dust and wheat. Investigators recommended that the employer :

  • Use an enclosed system to transfer powdered ingredients to the dispensing hoppers.
  • Use local exhaust ventilation to lower flour dust levels
  • Use the threshold limit value for flour dust rather than the permissible exposure limit for particulates not otherwise regulated to best protect employees’ health.

A link to this report can be found at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.


National Mining Agenda

The NORA Mining Sector Council has finalized the National Mining Agenda based on public comments. The agenda has seven objectives in the areas of disaster prevention, disaster response, health hazards, ventilation, work organization, systems operation and management, and human factors. The NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research is addressing many of these goals. Additional efforts will be needed to advance other goals. Contact the NORA coordinator at with suggestions, comments, and offers to help implement the agenda.

r2p Corner

r2p logoVeterans Health Administration Renews Collaboration with NIOSH

Recently, NIOSH and the U.S. Veterans Health Administration renewed their partnership, extending their previous agreement to March 2018. The new agreement continues collaborative efforts on Project BREATHE (Better Respirator Equipment using Advanced Technologies for Healthcare Employees), which seeks to improve respirator compliance among healthcare workers by developing new test methods, performance requirements, and innovative respirator designs. Project findings will be applied initially to develop new standards for improved comfort, fit, and usability of respirators used by healthcare workers and translated eventually into commercial products used by workers in other sectors. For more information contact Ron Shaffer at (412) 386-4001 or

What’s New on the NIOSH Science Blog? Join the Discussion Today!

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

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

New NIOSH Communication Products

Call for Abstracts

Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease Conference


June 21–23, Toronto, Canada. Call for abstracts. Submissions are due no later than May 15. .

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA), 12th Annual Health Literacy Conference
May 8–10, Irvine, CA

West Virginia Safety Expo
May 8–11, Charleston, WV

Texas Workplace Safety and Health Conference
May 14–15, Austin, TX

APA Work, Stress, and Health 2013: Protecting and Promoting Total Worker HealthTM
May 16–19, Los Angeles, CA

AIHCE 2013—The Art and Science of Professional Judgment
May 18–23, Montreal, Canada

2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Health and Safety
May 21–22, Beijing, China

6th Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals Conference
June 2–5, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

National Homeland Security Conference
June 4–7, Los Angeles, CA

Association for Professionals in Infection Control, 40th Annual Conference –Look for us, booth 128
June 7–10, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

NFPA Conference and Accessibility Expo
June 10–13, Chicago, IL

NIOSH Meeting on Respiratory Protection for Healthcare Workers
June 18, Atlanta, GA HealthcareInvitationLttr06182013.html

New England Fire/Rescue/EMS 2013
June 19–23, Springfield, MA

Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease Conference
June 21–23, Toronto, Canada

American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Safety 2013 Conference
June 24–27, Las Vegas, NV

8th International Conference on Prevention of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders
July 8–11, Busan, Korea

IAFC Missouri Valley Annual Conference
July 10–12, Colorado Springs, CO

FBI National Academy Associates Annual Training Conference
July 27–30, Orlando, FL

American Correctional Association Congress
August 9–14, National Harbor, MD

Fraternal Order of Police—Look for us, booth 112!
August 10–13, Cincinnati, OH

2013 National Conference on Health Communications, Marketing and Media
August 20–22, Atlanta, GA

International Association of Firefighters Redmond Symposium—Look for us!
August 21–25, Denver, CO

29th Annual National VPPPA Conference
August 26–29, Nashville, TN

World Safety Organization
September 9–11, San Diego, CA

Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare—Look for us!
September 11–14, Orlando, FL

National Tactical Officers Association, Kansas City, MO—Look for us, booth 421!
September 22–27, Kansas City, MO

ICOH SC Joint Conference
September 23–26, São Paulo, Brazil

AIHA Fall Conference 2013 Your Source for Scientific, Management & Technical Knowledge
September 28–October 2, Miami, FL

2013 NSC Congress & Expo
September 28–October 4, Chicago, IL

International Association of Chiefs of Police
October 19–23, Philadelphia, PA

61st Annual International Association of Emergency Managers
October 25–30, Reno, NV

5th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health
October 28–31, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

AIHA 2013 Asia Pacific OH+EHS Conference + Exhibition
October 29–31, Singapore

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

Did You Know?

OSHA has posted guidance on spirometry testing in a recently released publication, Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs: Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals, at

Please send your comments and suggestions to us by visiting /niosh/contact/.

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.