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NIOSH eNews – August 2013

Volume 11 Number 4 August 2013


From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Work Stress and Health 2013: Protecting and Promoting Total Worker Health™

Recently NIOSH and partners at the American Psychological Association and the Society of Occupational Health Psychology hosted the 10th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health in Los Angeles, California. Underscoring an emerging research area and priority for NIOSH, the conference was themed Work Stress and Health 2013: Protecting and Promoting Total Worker Health™.

Nearly 800 professionals from 39 countries, representing academia, labor, and industry, participated in this biennial event that addresses the changing nature of work and implications for the health, safety, and well-being of workers. The conference provided a rare opportunity for so many experts to meet face to face, share latest information, and stimulate research that will help practitioners better address the challenges of work, stress, and health in the 21st century.

NIOSH defines Total Worker Health™ (TWH™) as an organizational strategy that integrates occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being.

Dr. Tony LaMontagne from the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia, opened the conference with the plenary keynote, Work & Mental Health: Developing an Integrated Intervention Approach. “Anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems are prevalent in working populations, and some are attributable to working conditions,” he said.

Kicking off the scientific program, I chaired a special plenary panel session, titled “Why Countries Need Total Worker Health.” Representatives were on hand to share perspectives from industry, academia, government, and labor on the benefits and barriers of comprehensive workplace safety and health programs that integrate health promotion and health protection activities. This included Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and past president of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; Dr. Dave DeJoy, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia; Dr. Ebi Awosika, director of Employee Health Promotion/Disease and Impairment Prevention, Public Health, for the Veterans Administration; and Jamie Becker, associate director of Health Promotion for the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America.

Work Stress and Health 2013: Protecting and Promoting Total Worker Health%26trade; Conference

During this session nearly 500 audience members engaged in the discussion with thought-provoking questions, such as “How do you influence business leaders to invest in Total Worker Health?” and “How can Total Worker Health be thought of as integral to national well-being?”

In all, 251 papers and 188 posters were presented on 29 conference topics, with special attention to the following issues relating to Total Worker Health:

  • The effects of integrated health protection and health promotion interventions, including both health/safety and organizational (e.g., economic, productivity) outcomes.
  • The joint contribution of occupational and nonoccupational factors to health and safety problems facing workers today.
  • Strategies and best practices for implementing and evaluating integrated prevention programs.
  • Research and training needs in Total Worker Health.

This year’s conference elevated the significance that work and health cannot be separated. Workplace health promotion efforts traditionally have not been well integrated with occupational health and safety programs—that’s finally changing. Today’s best companies are taking a comprehensive approach; they work to make work practices and physical spaces as safe as possible for workers, but they also can provide organizational and environmental supports to employees for making healthier choices when they’re on and off the clock. Expanding health protections and healthier living opportunities every day in multiple ways can lead to true total worker health.

Of special interest, we learned that we were not alone in our commitment to integrate health protection with health promotion. We were inspired by the numerous papers from Scandinavia, Europe, and other places around the world that presented on the benefits and design of integrated prevention practices that promote overall worker well-being. We are proud to share this commitment at a critical point in a new area of research and practice in workplace safety and health. As the concept of Total Worker Health continues to get wider attention, we look forward to future collaborations with our colleagues from around the globe.

The 11th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health is scheduled to be held May 7–10, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme of the conference will be Sustainable Work; Sustainable Health; Sustainable Organizations. A special track will be dedicated to Total Worker Health. In the interim, please visit the Total Worker Health web page at and consider ways in which you might partner with us.

Straight Talk about Nail-Gun Safety

NIOSH Releases Nail Gun Safety Comic

NIOSH’s first safety comic—Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety—is now available in English and Spanish. The comic provides critical safety information for potential and new pneumatic nail gun operators working in the residential building industry. The comic uses the theme of hands-on safety training by telling a story of a young worker getting advice about nail gun safety from a more experienced worker. NIOSH researchers Jim Albers, Steve Hudock, and Brian Lowe collaborated with cartoonist/illustrator Nick Thorkelson ( to develop the comic to accurately represent nail gun use on new building sites. Residential building stakeholder demand for the printed comic is high with nearly 80% of the English (21,000) and 55% of the Spanish (15,000) comics having been ordered in advance. View the document or request copies at /niosh/docs/2013-149/.

NIOSH/OSHA Release 1-BP Alert

1-Bromopropane (1-BP), also known as n-propyl bromide (nPB), is an organic solvent used in a number of commercial and industrial applications, including degreasing operations, adhesive spray applications, dry cleaning operations, and some aerosol spray products. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and NIOSH recently released a hazard alert that will be a useful source of current information related to 1-BP workplace exposure and appropriate protections. /niosh/docs/2013-150/

Talking Heads Come to NIOSH

Look for the latest NIOSH press release highlighting our new robotic manikin headform, or “talking head,” to be used for respirator fit research. NIOSH has collaborated with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop this technology. The manikin head will greatly expand the opportunities for research into respirator inward leakage: ways in which respirator wearers may be exposed to various aerosol particles that could penetrate through the respirator or creep in through the sides as they go about their work. /niosh/updates/upd-07-25-13.html.

Emergency Response Office Director Retires, New Director/Deputy Named

CAPT James Spahr is stepping down as the associate director of the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Office (EPRO) in preparation for his retirement from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in October of 2013 after a distinguished 30-year career. Effective July 15, CDR Lisa Delaney has been appointed NIOSH EPRO associate director. Also on July 15, CAPT Renee Funk assumed the duties of the NIOSH EPRO deputy associate director.

A Day All About N95s!

It’s that time of year again! This September 5 will be NIOSH’s second N95 Day! For the best N95 resources, tune in to NIOSH’s social media, including the NIOSH Facebook page, on Twitter @NPPTL, and the NIOSH Science Blog. This year, we are particularly excited to host a webinar on how to emphasize a learning environment to enhance compliance and proper use of N95 respirators. In this webinar we will be debunking myths regarding respirator use. For more on how to sign up for the webinar, as well information on other N95 Day goodies, visit us via our social media channels like twitter (!

Get Ready for the New Health Insurance Marketplace

Beginning October 1, millions of Americans will have a new way to find affordable health coverage—including many free preventive services—on the new Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace will offer Americans a whole new way to shop for health insurance to gain greater access to affordable services such as physician visits, preventive care, hospital stays, and prescriptions. Through the same streamlined application process, many will find out if they are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program at the Marketplace. Community health centers and other organizations will be funded to help consumers navigate the new Marketplace. Consumers can learn more about the Marketplace now and get ready to enroll by visiting or the Spanish-language site or by calling the new 24-hours-a-day consumer call center at 1-800-318-2596. Hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can call 1-855-889-4325 for assistance.

Upcoming Webinars on Respiratory Protection and Fit Test Panels

  • NIOSH will host a webinar on August 20, from 1:00 to 3:00 EDT. This webinar, Variability of Respirator Fit Test Panels—NIOSH Study Results, Part 2, will provide attendees further opportunity to discuss the information presented in Part 1 on July 23. This webinar will include further information concerning implementation of subject panels for NIOSH certification of respirators. Pre-registration is required.
  • NIOSH and the University of IOWA’s Heartland Center for Occupational Safety and Health will host a webinar on August 27 on respiratory protection: How to Best Protect from Workplace Exposures. The objectives of this webinar include sharing recent clinical events and related research findings on breaches in respiratory protective compliance as well as suggested strategies to reinforce healthcare workers’ proper use of respiratory protection. The webinar will begin at 11:30 and is open to all who wish to participate. To register, or for more information, go to


Monthly Features


Wisconsin Legislation

One of the goals developed by the NORA Services Sector Council for the solid waste industry is to support a national public education campaign to encourage drivers to slow down and be cautious near waste collection vehicles. Some nonfederal Council members have also been active in promoting state legislation. An industry press release contains information about Wisconsin’s recent legislation, which specifies penalties for speeding or driving recklessly near sanitation vehicles. For questions about any NORA-related issue, contact

Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program Updates

A Paint Maker Dies from Exposure to Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride) While Cleaning a Paint Tank—California
The high concentration of methylene chloride in the cleaning product, the tank configuration, the inadequate ventilation, and the insufficient training in and implementation of confined space procedures were some of the factors in this incident that led to the death of the paint maker. /niosh/face/pdfs/11CA009.pdf

Driver Pinned Under Haul Truck That Went Off Quarry Road and Tipped Over—Iowa
The lack of pre-operational inspections, failure in checking the braking systems, not performing regularly scheduled inspection and maintenance of braking and steering system components, and the lack of seat belt use are some of the factors that led to the death of the driver. /niosh/face/pdfs/04IA051.pdf

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program Reports

Fire Chief Suffers Fatal Heart Attack—New Hampshire
On September 2, 2012, a 52-year-old career fire chief experienced chest pains while working at the station. Fire department personnel transported the chief to the hospital where he suffered a cardiac arrest and died. The death certificate and autopsy report listed the cause of death as acute myocardial infarction due to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. NIOSH investigators concluded that activities at the fire station on the morning of September 2 and his duties as the fire chief during the local State Fair were temporally related to his angina, heart attack, and sudden cardiac death. /niosh/fire/reports/face201308.html

Captain Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death While On Duty—Tennessee
On August 20, 2012, a 49-year-old male career fire captain arrived for duty at the fire station at 0700 hours and shortly after complained of indigestion and chest pain. As he went to obtain an antacid in the bunkroom, he asked his lieutenant to call for an ambulance. A few moments later, crew members found the captain lying unresponsive in the hallway. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was initiated and the captain was transported to the hospital where advanced life support continued for 15 minutes. Despite CPR and advanced life support, the captain died. Given the captain’s underlying cardiovascular disease, NIOSH investigators concluded that an arrhythmia or heart attack probably triggered his sudden cardiac death. /niosh/fire/reports/face201301.html

Volunteer Fire Fighter Struck and Killed by Backing Fire Apparatus at Rural Brush and Structure Fire—Illinois
On December 2, 2012, a 45-year-old male volunteer fire fighter died when he was struck by a backing fire apparatus at the scene of a rural brush fire that extended into a vacant structure. Immediately after arriving on the scene, the victim got out of the apparatus and positioned himself behind the apparatus on the driver’s side to direct the driver in backing the brush truck into position. Contributing factors included the narrow uneven road surface; dark, poorly lit conditions with fire burning behind the victim; also, the victim not wearing an adequate amount of high-visibility, retro reflective clothing, was not using a flashlight or other signaling device, and was directing the backing of a manual transmission fire apparatus up a steep incline. /niosh/fire/reports/face201231.html

News from Our Partners

Chemical Safety for Pool Operators in Connecticut

In response to several incidents of workers being affected by acute inhalation of chemical dusts and gases as a result of improper handling of pool chemicals during the past year, the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Program developed the health alert Safe Handling and Storage of Pool Chemicals. The document outlines the hazards and key controls that should be in place to protect both workers and bathers from potentially life-threatening chemical exposures. The alert was distributed to public and private pool owners and operators in the state through professional pool operator associations, as well as to pool building and maintenance contractors, retailers, and local health departments. Read the report at

Oregon Study Show Older Workers at Risk on the Job

Older workers have an elevated risk of being killed on the job, and transportation incidents involving vehicles or mobile machinery are especially deadly for this group. The Oregon Occupational Public Health Program study was designed to address the research gap in understanding contributing factors to these incidents and recommend evidence-based guidelines for interventions. The proposed evidence-based framework may provide valuable guidance for developing safety interventions that protect older workers the authors said. This research was published in the April issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention and is available at

Oregon Partners Use a NIOSH Curriculum to Teach Teens How to Stay Safe on the Job

“Teaching teens basic workplace health and safety skills can help them to be successful, rather than an injury statistic, and can hopefully set them up for a lifetime of safe work,” says Laurel Kincl, assistant professor of Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety at Oregon State University. Dr. Kincl and graduate students like David Grim are using the new curriculum NIOSH Youth@Work: Talking Safety to help teens gain basic work-readiness skills in workplace safety and health. These skills help young people stay safe and healthy on the job and allow them to contribute to a safe, healthy, and productive workplace. The Talking Safety curriculum—originally published in 1997 and recently revised and updated—will be available soon for download free-of-charge from the NIOSH website. Read more at

OSHA Conference on Construction Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health on August 22–23 in Washington, D.C. The agenda includes remarks from Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels, with updates on rulemaking projects from OSHA’s Directorate of Construction and updates from NIOSH. In addition, the committee will consider and make recommendations on items from the proposed Standards Improvement Project IV and discuss OSHA’s temporary worker initiatives and outreach training program. For more information go to

Report Shows Contractors Seeing Positive Impact from Safety Programs

A new report from McGraw Hill and partners such as The Center for Construction Research and Training—CPWR found that contractors are seeing a positive impact from investing in strong safety management. To read results and recommendations from the full study on safety management in the construction industry go to

2013 Central Appalachian Regional Work Safety and Health Symposium

On August 22, the University of Kentucky Department of Mining Engineering and the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) will offer a one-day seminar, which will be held in conjunction with the 74th Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Mining Institute. This seminar will focus on recent scientific and policy developments. Conference-related questions may be directed to Ms. Amber Kidd at 859-323-5912 or go to CARERC is a NIOSH-funded research and education partnership of University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University.

Internationally Respected Public Health and Ergonomics Leader Earns UMass Lowell Top Honor

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell recently announced that Laura Punnett, professor of ergonomics and epidemiology, has been named Distinguished University Professor by UMass Lowell. The distinction is the highest honor bestowed on an UMass Lowell faculty member for exceptional teaching achievement, research, and service to the university. Dr. Punnett is an expert in the patterns, causes, and effects of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and the effectiveness of employee health efforts such as workplace ergonomics interventions, health-promotion programs, and labor-management safety committees. For seven years, she has also led the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW), a Center of Excellence to Promote a Healthier Workforce funded by NIOSH’s Total Worker Health™ Program. Read more at

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

HHE logoEvaluation of Potential Employee Exposures at a Medical Examiner’s Office

HHE Program investigators evaluated exposures to volatile organic compounds, mold, airborne particles, and formaldehyde in the autopsy suite, histology laboratory, and toxicology laboratory of a medical examiner’s office. Formaldehyde exposures in the autopsy suite were below occupational exposure limits and exposures to volatile organic compounds in the histology and toxicology laboratories were very low. Chronic water damage was found throughout the building, with mold growth and deteriorating duct lining present in ductwork that served several floors of the building. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • Using local exhaust ventilation units for cranial autopsy saws.
  • Removing mold from the ductwork to prevent spreading mold spores through the ventilation system.
  • Evaluating the potential for entrainment of morgue exhaust into air intakes on the roof.

Evaluation of Work-Related Health Concerns at a Tire Manufacturing Plant

The HHE Program evaluated employee concerns about exposures and health problems at a tire manufacturing plant. The company’s comprehensive database tracked exposures to chemicals and monitored the effectiveness of exposure controls. However, some employees did not feel they had sufficient information about their exposures and possible health effects. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • Explaining exposure measurement results in plain language to employees.
  • Preparing summary reports of employees’ health and safety concerns and how issues were addressed.
  • Designating a point of contact to address employees’ questions about material safety data sheets.

The link to these final reports is available at

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

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

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

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

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.

NIOSH Public Meetings

NIOSH will sponsor two public meetings on September 17. The first meeting will run from 8:00 AM until 12:00 PM and will discuss personal protective equipment conformity assessment. The second meeting will run from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM and will discuss respirator inward leakage performance requirements. Both meetings will be held at the NIOSH Pittsburgh site. Remote participation will also be available. Registration is required for participation via either option. Visitors who are non-U.S. citizens must complete additional paperwork by August 16 to enter a federal facility. /niosh/npptl/resources/pressrel/letters/lttr-09172013.html

NIOSH will host a respirator manufacturing meeting on September 18. This meeting will be held at the NIOSH Pittsburgh site. The agenda is currently under development and will be posted to the NPPTL website when available. Registration is required and visitors who are non-U.S. citizens must complete additional paperwork by August 16 to enter a federal facility. /niosh/npptl/resources/pressrel/letters/Manufacturers/lttr-09182013.html

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:

Call for Abstracts and Presentations

Health, Workplace, Environment: Cultivating Connections Conference
Call for facilitators/discussion topics. The deadline for submission is August 25. Email for more information or to sign up.

AIHce 2014
Call for professional development courses. The deadline for submission is September 1.
Call for technical presentations. The deadline for submission is September 13.

2014 NFPA Conference & Expo
Call for session proposals. The deadline for submission is September 16.

2014 Global Health & Innovation Conference
Call for abstracts. The deadline for submission is September 30.
Please note that presentations submitted by August 31 will be given preference for oral presentations at the conference.

AIHA 2013
Call for abstracts for poster presentations. Deadline for submissions is October 15.

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses
Call for Poster Abstracts. The deadline for submission is October 18.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

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

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

2013 Central Appalachian Regional Work Safety and Health Symposium
August 22, Lexington, KY

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
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

Health, Workplace, Environment: Cultivating Connections
October 17, Storrs, CT

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

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

87th Annual Pennsylvania Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health Conference
October 28–29, Hershey, PA

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?

Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Prevention of heat stress in workers is important. Employers should provide training to workers so they understand what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented. See the NIOSH Heat Stress website (/niosh/topics/heatstress/) or download our fast facts for workers (/niosh/docs/2010-114/pdfs/2010-114.pdf) to help prevent heat stress.

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.