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NIOSH eNews – July 2013


Volume 11 Number 3 July 2013


From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

NIOSH Partnering Efforts Include Occupational Health in the National Health Interview Survey

Recent partnering efforts with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) — our fellow agency in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — afforded NIOSH an opportunity to leverage over 50 years of data collection experience and contribute to the advancement of occupational and public health surveillance. NCHS is the Nation’s premier agency dedicated to collecting health statistics vital for planning and conducting health research and interventions. One of NCHS’ functions is to annually conduct the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) — a large population-based survey that gathers health data from more than 40,000 households and is the principal source of information on the health of the U.S. population.

Infographic - Your work affects your health

NIOSH has had the opportunity to sponsor an occupational health supplement to two of the Surveys, the first in 1988 and again in 2010. The 2010 supplement consisted of a series of occupationally related questions developed in conjunction with stakeholders. Having an opportunity to add occupational safety and health questions to the survey is great value to NIOSH and others. Collecting this information as part of the NHIS allows occupational health data to become part of the extensive, publicly available NHIS data set and addresses some of the gaps left by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and other ongoing occupational health surveillance systems.

Results of the 2010 NHIS occupational health supplement highlight important workplace issues, such as work organization factors, psychosocial and chemical/physical exposures, as well as common work-related health conditions among U.S. workers by industry and occupational category. For example, studies revealed that carpal tunnel syndrome affected almost 5 million U.S. workers in 2010, and two-thirds of these cases were determined to be work-related. Furthermore, 25% of workers report having been regularly exposed to vapors, dust, gas, or fumes in their longest-held jobs.

A comprehensive summary of the 2010 survey results can be found in a series of five peer-reviewed articles published in the June 2013 issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine (AJIM). In addition, NIOSH has created online profiles that include key survey results for each National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) sector. Key findings are being disseminated through NIOSH social media channels to ensure the information is available to a variety of audiences and interested stakeholders.

In a commentary titled The Evolution of Surveillance published in the June issue of AJIM, Dr. William Halperin, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the New Jersey Medical School, called the data and the consequent analyses of the 2010 NHIS-Occupational Health Supplement a “snapshot of modern advances in occupational health surveillance.” Dr. Halperin went on to say, “There are more data to be mined for the purposes of prevention from this rich data set and others.” Researchers interested in occupational health or the health of the U.S. population are encouraged to use the publicly available data to explore additional occupational health issues.

The collaboration between NIOSH and NCHS further advances health surveillance by successfully bringing together occupational and nonoccupational data. Pairing these data provides a unique landscape for studying many diverse aspects of worker health and raises awareness of occupational influences that may contribute to the health of the U.S. population.

To build on the existing relationship between NIOSH and NCHS and capitalize on the wealth of data in the NHIS, NIOSH is committed to working with NCHS on another occupational health supplement planned for 2015 and to continuing to improve worker health and safety through the support of robust surveillance activities. Our partner Jim Dahlhamer, survey statistician with NCHS, said, “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of supplement sponsors over the years and [NIOSH has] been one of the most dedicated, organized, energetic, and productive. I certainly look forward to a continued collaboration.”

It is expected that the 2015 survey will include most of the 2010 questions in order to monitor trends over time; however, a few new questions may be substituted to address other high-priority topics. Stakeholder input is always welcomed and encouraged. To provide comments on the content being proposed for the 2015 NHIS occupational health supplement or to read more about the 2010 supplement, please visit the NIOSH Science Blog posted on June 24. We invite your input on our next collaboration with NCHS in generating data vital for planning research and making evidence-based decisions to prevent work-related injury, illness, and death.

NIOSH Announces New Ladder Application, Free for IPhone or Android

NIOSH has developed a new mobile phone application on ladder safety, which is available for free download on both iPhone and Android devices. The app provides easy access to graphic aids, safety checklists, and reference information to assist ladder users in making safe choices and features an indicator using visual and sound signals for positioning extension ladders at an optimal angle. For more information or to download this new app, visit the NIOSH website at /niosh/topics/falls/ or contact Peter Simeonov at

Request for information for NIOSH B Reader Certification Program

NIOSH is requesting information from stakeholders to identify and prioritize the knowledge and competencies that should be included in training and certification testing of prospective B Readers. This information will be used to help NIOSH develop new digital-format training and testing materials. B readers play an important role in health surveillance, research, and various administrative and compensation settings related to adverse effects in the lungs from exposure to respirable hazardous dusts. Comments will be accepted until 5:00 PM EST on August 13, 2013. More information, including directions for submitting comments to NIOSH, can be found at the following web page: /niosh/docket/review/docket234/default.html

Call for Nominations 2014 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 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 6, 2013. Additional information is available at

USDA Agency Posts New Data from Surveys Conducted for NIOSH

On May 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released reports from surveys conducted at NIOSH’s request. The reports, Agricultural Safety: 2009 Injuries to Adults on Farms and 2011 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey, illustrate how NIOSH and NASS leverage their different but complimentary missions with the agricultural community to better understand the magnitude and scope of hazardous exposures on agricultural operations and agriculture-related injuries to adults working on farms. The reports can be accessed online through the USDA website at;jsessionid=F7AD8CBAE7BAAD

Journal Video Highlights Taxicab Driver Safety

NIOSH researcher Cammie Menendez, PhD., is featured in a short video on the American Journal of Preventive Medicine website, along with the release of her article “Effectiveness of Taxicab Security Equipment in Reducing Driver Homicide Rates.”

NIOSH Highlights Women In Science

NIOSH released its first video in a series highlighting women in science. This series is focusing on female NIOSH scientists and was developed to increase awareness of the many scientific disciplines involved in occupational safety and health research at NIOSH. The series demonstrates to younger female audiences why a career in science or more specifically, occupational safety and health, is a good option.

National ROPS Initiative Steering Committee Holds Introductory Meeting

On June 19, the National Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Initiative Steering Committee held its first meeting in Washington, DC. Attendees of the meeting included members from the NIOSH-supported Northeast Center for Agricultural and Occupational Health (NEC) within the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), the University of Tennessee, the University of Kentucky, the American Farm Bureau Federation, ROPS manufacturing companies, social marketing groups, insurance companies, and equipment manufacturers and dealers. The consortium discussed and debated strategies proposed to scale up ongoing efforts toward increasing ROPS adoption among tractor owners in the United States. Overall, the Steering Committee agreed to continue to work toward reducing the heavy toll tractor rollovers have afflicted on American farm families. For more information about the current ROPS rebate program facilitated by NYCAMH, go to

Upcoming Webinars

NIOSH Director, Dr. John Howard will participate in a webinar titled MERS-CoV: Infection Prevention and Control on Thursday July 11. During this complimentary UL Workplace Health and Safety webinar Dr. Howard will provide an update on the spread of this potentially fatal viral respiratory illness and provide guidance for healthcare providers and employers on workplace infection prevention and control practices.

NIOSH NPPTL will host a webinar on Tuesday, July 23, from 12:30 to 2:30 EDT. This webinar will describe a recent NIOSH study assessing the fluctuation between bivariate panels for respirator fit testing. Registration is open until July 19th, limited to 100 seats. Additional information is available at /niosh/npptl/resources/pressrel/letters/lttr-07232013.html.

Upcoming NIOSH Public Meetings

NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) will sponsor two public meetings on September 17. The first meeting will run from 8:00 AM until 12:00 PM and will discuss conformity assessment. The second meeting will run from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Both meetings will be held at the NIOSH Pittsburgh site. Remote participation will also be available. Registration is required for participation via either option. /niosh/npptl/resources/pressrel/letters/lttr-09172013.html

NPPTL (NPPTL will host a respirator manufacturing meeting on Wednesday, September 18. This meeting will be held at the NPPTL facility in Pittsburgh. The agenda is currently under development and will be posted to the NPPTL website when available. Pre-registration is required. (Note: All non-U.S. citizens must complete additional paperwork by August 16 in order to attend this meeting.) /niosh/npptl/resources/pressrel/letters/Manufacturers/lttr-09182013.html


Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates…

Congratulations to CAPT Renee Funk, CAPT Ronald Hall, CAPT Jeffrey Reynolds, CDR Christine West and CDR Ed Zechmann were each recently promoted to the next highest rank in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Congratulations to NIOSH research Christine Sofge was recently awarded Supervisor of the Year from the American Federation of Government Employees 3840 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Congratulations to NIOSH researcher Kay Kreiss recently received the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Public Service award at the ATS Meeting. This award is for contributions in the public health arena related to respiratory disease and medicine.

Congratulations to NIOSH researcher Jean Meade was featured in an American Association of Retired Persons video highlighting her diverse career in medicine as well as her current personal association with the Jasmine Project, an intergenerational, assisted-living community that improves quality of life by bringing together humans, animals, and nature.

Congratulations to NIOSH researcher Claire Caruso was accepted into the American Academy of Nursing. Acceptance involves sponsorship by two members and review of contributions and achievements in nursing by their selection committee. Claire’s goal as part of the Academy will be to influence the nursing community on occupational safety and health issues.

Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program Updates

Farmer Dies When Front End Loader Bucket Struck Propane Tank Hidden by Snow—Michigan
Some of the factors that led to the death of the farmer were a propane tank not being picked up by a propane supplier, snow hiding the propane tank location and footprint, and insufficient lighting to identify the tank’s location in the snow. /niosh/face/stateface/mi/11MI006.html

Hispanic Roofer Dies after Falling Through an Improperly Secured Roof Hatch Cover—Michigan
Some of the factors that led to the death of the roofer were the use of improper materials, not securing the cover of the access hatch cover, lack of implementation and communication of the company’s written environmental health and safety program, and the lack of interaction between the construction companies. /niosh/face/stateface/mi/10MI144.html

Hispanic Male Farm Laborer Electrocuted in Potato Field—Michigan
Some of the factors that led to the death of the farm laborer were the age of underground wiring, wiring not having the protection of conduit to avoid damage to the wiring insulation from stones and frost, working in a field while irrigation equipment was operational, weather and undetected electrical storm damage, and the lack of an electrical inspection being performed. /niosh/face/stateface/mi/10MI069.html

Inmate Struck by a Falling Elm Snag—Michigan
Some of the factors that led to death of the inmate were the inadequate site assessment for the hazardous trees, the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and inadequate training regarding tree felling. /niosh/face/stateface/mi/10MI034.html

Owner/Operator Hauling Asphalt Flux Dies after Driving into a Ravine and Striking Trees—Kentucky
Some of the factors that led to death of the owner/operator were the lack of commercial driver training that addressed driver distraction and defensive driving techniques, the vehicle not having a vehicle stabilizer and sensory systems, and not providing drivers with training to recognize signs of fatigue and drowsiness and when to seek appropriate rest. /niosh/face/stateface/ky/11KY072.html

News from Our Partners

Georgia Occupational Health Surveillance Report

The Georgia Department of Public Health Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program published its first Occupational Health Surveillance Report. The report covers years 2006–2009 and includes state-specific indicators for work-related asthma, arthritis among employees, and workplace secondhand smoke exposure. The report can be found at

North Carolina ABLES Program Collaborates on New Webinar

The North Carolina ABLES program developed a webinar on new lead screening guidelines in collaboration with the North Carolina Lead Ad Hoc Advisory Group, Healthy Homes Outreach Task Force, and Women’s Health Branch at the North Carolina Division of Public Health. The webinar Lead and Pregnancy, Implementing CDC’s 2010 Guidelines in North Carolina was given to maternal health nurses and doctors in local health departments. It can be accessed at Continuing education units are available for nurses.

Additionally, the North Carolina ABLES program collaborated with the same groups to develop a policy template that local health departments could use to implement the lead screening guidelines outlined in Guidelines for the Identification and Management of Lead Exposure in Pregnant and Lactating Women (CDC 2010). These guidelines contain an occupational health component and can be accessed at

OSHA’s Nationwide Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Workers

Stay safe all summer long with resources from the Occupational Safety and Heath Association’s nationwide Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Workers. Visit for valuable resources, including low-literacy fact sheets, training guides for employers and workers, and posters! All information is available in Spanish as well as some additional languages. Learn more on the web site.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

HHE logoEvaluation of Cut-Resistant Sleeves and Fiberglass Fiber Shedding at a Steel Mill

The HHE Program evaluated concerns about skin irritation and possible respiratory problems from fiberglass fibers shedding off employees’ cut-resistant sleeves at a steel mill. Skin and surface samples contained fiberglass, Kevlar, and cellulose fibers from the cut-resistant sleeves. The size and shape of the fiberglass and Kevlar fibers shedding from the sleeves make them difficult to inhale into the lungs. The fiberglass fibers may cause temporary upper respiratory irritation. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • Reviewing the policy requiring all employees to wear cut-resistant sleeves and provide alternative sleeves to employees who have skin irritation or hand or wrist pain.
  • Monitoring how many times sleeves are laundered and replacing them as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Hiring a consultant to aid in improving the safety climate.

Evaluation of Exposure to Tuberculosis among Employees at a Long-term Care Facility

HHE Program investigators evaluated employee exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis at a long-term care facility. Medical records showed that 12 residents and 16 employees had latent tuberculosis infection. One resident had active pulmonary tuberculosis disease, which was the likely source of latent tuberculosis infection among 8 residents and 16 employees. Investigators did not observe a clear pattern between the ventilation system and tuberculosis transmission. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • Monitoring residents for signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis disease at least once a month.
  • Screening residents, employees, and direct care volunteers in the area of concern at least every 6 months or until a risk evaluation shows it can be done less frequently.
  • Upgrading the ventilation system to provide improved filtration in resident areas.

The link to these final reports is available at


National Safe Patient Handling Standards

One of the goals established by the NORA Healthcare and Social Assistance (HCSA) Sector Council was for organizations to establish national standards to guide a reduction in musculoskeletal disorders in healthcare workers. The American Nurses Association (ANA) facilitated this effort with several Council members and other interprofessional national subject matter experts, reaching across the continuum of care. On June 26, ANA released Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Interprofessional National Standards ( For more information about the NORA HCSA Sector Council’s involvement in this and other activities, contact the NORA coordinator at

r2p Corner

r2p logoPortable Aerosol Mobility Spectrometer (PAMS™) Now Commercially Available

Recently, NIOSH signed a licensing agreement with Kanomax USA, Inc., ( to commercialize the Portable Aerosol Mobility Spectrometer (PAMS™), which was developed in collaboration with NIOSH. PAMS™ is a battery-operated electrical mobility size spectrometer designed for portable, mobile, or handheld aerosol sampling applications. PAMS™’s uniqueness centers on its compact, lighter-weight design and use of a nonradioactive bipolar charger allowing for greater access to sampling sites. For more information on NIOSH’s research related to aerosols, visit Mention of a company name, product, or website does not constitute endorsement by NIOSH.

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

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Request for Nominations of Candidates to Serve on the World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (the STAC or the Committee)
Nominations must be submitted by July 26.

Proposed Data Collections on Enhanced Utilization of Personal Dust Monitor Feedback
The notice was posted on June 6th. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Certified B Readers, Training and Testing
Written comments must be received by August 13.

Survey of Nanomaterial Risk Management Practices
Written comments must be received by September 15.

Traumatic Injury Research and Prevention Program and Strategic Goals; Draft Document Availability
Written comments must be received by September 16.

Request for Information on Toluene Diisocyanates
Written comments must be received by August 8.

For a listing of NIOSH official publications for rules, proposed rules, and notices, go to

New NIOSH Communication Products

The following NIOSH communication products are now available in Spanish:

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

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
August 11–15, Cincinnati, OH

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

International Association of Firefighters Redmond Symposium
August 21–24, Denver, CO

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

26th Annual WSO International Environmental & Occupational Safety & Health Professional Development Symposium
September 9–11, San Diego, CA

Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare
September 11–14, Orlando, FL

National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL): Public meeting
September 17, Pittsburgh, PA

National Tactical Officers Association
September 22–27, Kansas City, MO

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

2013 North American Agricultural Safety Summit: Raising Safety
September 25–27, Minneapolis, MN

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

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

Did You Know?

Looking for publications from across the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? CDC Stacks is a free, digital library of CDC scientific research and literature, compiling more than 10,000 publications on a range of public health topics. The documents are retained indefinitely and are available for public health professionals, researchers, as well as the general public. This online library can be found 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.