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NIOSH eNews – October 2013


Volume 11 Number 6 October 2013

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

I am pleased to announce that NIOSH and its partners met in Denver on Sept. 26–27 at the Western States Occupational Network (WestON) Sixth Annual Meeting. This was a valuable opportunity, with representation from NIOSH and its partners in the Western United States, to assess our mutual progress in the work that we are performing together in that economically important region and to identify priorities and strategies for continued teamwork ahead.

The issues and challenges addressed at WestON reflect our larger purpose to better understand critical needs and opportunities in occupational safety and health in the Western United States, to have a physical presence in that region, and to develop a network of local partners with whom we can conduct research and move the products of research into practice. The need for this level of service became apparent to us early in the last decade, as economists predicted that a rising demand for domestic energy would spur new economic growth, industry expansion, and job creation in the West.

This posed a challenge for NIOSH at the time. We had strong historic partnerships in traditional industries, such as manufacturing, services, agriculture, healthcare, and construction, but these partnerships were concentrated in the East, Midwest, and Pacific states. We had not had the same level of interaction with partners representing interests in the West, particularly in wildland firefighting, the booming oil and gas extraction industry, and support for state occupational safety and health partners in addressing identified needs in the West and helping them build their own internal capacity. Although our support of the NIOSH Education and Research Centers and the NIOSH Agricultural Safety and Health Centers had provided us with some level of interaction in the West, our actual physical presence in the region had been very limited. We had maintained a small field office in Denver for several years, but it housed only a handful of staff who mostly addressed limited needs as they arose, such as requests for health hazard evaluations.

We realized that fuller service to our stakeholders in the West would require a more robust level of interaction and planning. Consequently, we enhanced our physical presence in 2008 by expanding the existing field office into the Western States Office in Denver. This office focuses on a larger mission of vigorous partnership and strategic planning and provides sufficient staff to do so. The Western States Office provides support and outreach to the Western states and support to NIOSH institute-wide priority programs, including Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs), Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluations (FACE) and occupational injury and illness surveillance. We were also able to build on existing collaborations through the NIOSH-funded academic centers. The office has expertise in industrial hygiene, epidemiology, occupational medicine, safety, surveillance, and health communications. The office works with many NIOSH offices, namely the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research in Spokane, Washington, and the NIOSH Alaska Pacific Regional Office.

The Western States Office provides a base for working face-to-face with companies, worker communities, trade associations, and health and safety professionals and educators in the Great Plains, the Mountain States, and the Southwest. Even in this era of smart phones and Skype, when e-communication and remote-meeting technologies make it easier to work with others across distances, personal interaction remains essential for establishing trust and credibility. The Western States Office also provides a regionally situated gateway for two-way communication between Western partners and our research laboratories in other parts of the country.

With the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAPERC), the NIOSH Western States Office has hosted six annual WestON meetings since 2008 as a forum for gathering research leaders from across the Western region to further our shared mission of developing, conducting, and applying research to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. Approximately 60 participants attended the 2013 meeting, representing state health departments, universities, Education and Research and Agricultural Centers, OSHA, and NIOSH. As in the previous five WestON meetings, this year’s meeting focused on topics that were identified by previous WestON attendees to be pertinent to their needs and interest. Topics included working with our tribal partners in the West, understanding and integrating Total Worker Health, and expanding the use of state Bureaus of Labor Statistics data.

We appreciate the support and encouragement we have received from diverse partners in the West. The wisdom of building our presence west of the Mississippi is borne out by recent government indicators showing that the Southwest, Far West, and Plains regions were the fastest growing areas of the country last year, according to economic data published recently by the U.S. Department of Commerce (
). By establishing ourselves with partners and stakeholders as growth and job creation occurs, we have the opportunity to help industry leaders build worker health and safety into the design of new jobs, facilities, and work processes. In turn, such investments benefit companies economically by reducing the costs of work-related injuries and illnesses, increasing productivity, and maintaining a stable workforce. In linking a safe, healthy workforce with a healthy ledger for companies that drive the U.S. economy, we further strengthen U.S. leadership in the fiercely competitive international market.

More info on WestON can be found at
. More info about Western States Office can be found at /niosh/contact/im-denver.html. We encourage you to learn more about these partnerships. If you are not a part of these endeavors, we invite you to consider ways you can join us.

NIOSH Offers Flood Resources for Responders

As responders aid communities affected by the flooding in Colorado, NIOSH offers informational resources for minimizing risks of work-related injury or illness from recovery activities, including disaster site management, generator safety, flood clean-up, and other issues.

New Factsheets Provide Tips for Young Drivers

A new set of factsheets is now available from NIOSH to help young drivers stay safe on the job. One of the factsheets is for employers and another one is for parents and young workers. Both provide recommendations on how to prevent motor vehicle crashes on the job. /niosh/updates/upd-09-04-13.html

Workplace Safety and Health on Pinterest!

Follow NIOSH on our Pinterest board to see the newest products including videos, apps, and factsheets on workplace safety and health issues.

NIOSH Releases Data and Statistics Gateway

The NIOSH Data and Statistics Gateway is a NIOSH scientific data repository where NIOSH-generated public-use research datasets valuable for the public, industry, and the scientific community are available for download. The Gateway also provides convenient access to surveillance, statistics, and other collections of NIOSH data focused on occupational safety and health. /niosh/data/

PTSD Treatment for Flight 93 Responders

In September, Laurie Breyer of NIOSH and manager of communications & outreach for the World Trade Center Health Program gave an interview with a Pittsburgh NPR affiliate on coverage offered by the program. She explains in the interview that responders can receive coverage for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Coverage even extends to airway diseases, digestive disorders, and more than 50 forms of cancer. Hear the full interview at

Shell Partners with UT School of Public Health on Occupational and Environmental Health Faculty Chair

Shell Oil Company is partnering with The University of Texas School of Public Health, a part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), in supporting a permanent endowed faculty chair in occupational and environmental health. This partnership honors the legacy of Marcus M. Key, M.D., and his contributions to the field of occupational health. Key was a longtime faculty member at the UT School of Public Health and the founding director of NIOSH and, for 3 years, Assistant Surgeon General of the United States.

NIOSH Participates in U.S. News Sleep Chat

NIOSH scientists participated in a Twitter chat event organized by U.S. News Health & Wellness on September 4. Twelve NIOSH experts along with others from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Pennsylvania answered questions about sleep and health (including shift work and long working hours). #SleepHealth was a top trending hashtag during that day. The chat can be found by going to and searching #SleepHealth.

NYT Highlights Advancements in Respirators since 9/11

The Science Page of the New York Times ran a prominent article on September 11 about advancements in respirators since the World Trade Center attack of Sept. 11, 2001, and highlighted the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory leadership with partners in those advancements. The article and a related video can be found at


Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates…

NIOSH congratulates Ed Zechmann in receiving the newly established Michiko So Finegold Award. He received the award for the paper he co-authored on framing-nailer noise control. The paper was presented at the Noise Conference in Denver by UC graduate student, Vignesh Jayakumar.


Revised National Services Agenda

The NORA Services Sector Council revised the National Services Agenda to add goals related to the Hair and Nail Salons industry. The Council also marked some goals “accomplished” after conducting a literature review and considering progress and remaining gaps. Review the list of relevant papers and other resources by goal in the appendix to see what has been accomplished recently. Contact David Utterback with questions or to suggest additional citations.

Manufacturing Day

October 4 th is the second annual Manufacturing Day, a day highlighting the contributions, opportunities, and impact of the manufacturing industry to the U.S. economy and the lives of Americans. The NIOSH Total Worker Health Program™ and the NORA Manufacturing Sector Council are celebrating this important day by presenting the webinar Healthier, Safer and More Engaged: Your Guide to Creating Total Worker Health™ with one of the Councils’ partners, CNA Insurance Company. This free webinar will address the challenges small and mid-sized manufacturers have to keep employees safe, healthy, and productively engaged in today’s economy. Register soon for the webinar on Tuesday, October 8, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program Reports

Volunteer Fire Chief Suffers Cardiac Arrest at Brush Fire—North Carolina

On March 3, 2013, a 44-year-old volunteer fire chief experienced coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing while functioning as incident commander at a brush fire. The chief drove himself to an on-scene ambulance and requested assistance where he was assessed and prepared for transport by emergency medical service personnel. While en route to the hospital, the chief suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest. Despite cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the ambulance for about 60 minutes, the chief died. NIOSH investigators concluded that, given his pre-existing medical condition and underlying heart disease discovered at autopsy, the chief’s respiratory distress was likely due to these underlying conditions. /niosh/fire/reports/face201310.html

Career Fire Captain Dies When Struck by a Pickup Truck While Working at the Scene of Two Traffic Incidents—California

On February 29, 2012, a 35-year-old male career captain was struck and killed when a pickup truck slid off an interstate highway following a hail storm that had caused numerous motor vehicle crashes. The victim and a fire fighter were dispatched to an area of the highway where two vehicles had slid off the roadway in two separate incidents. The driver of one of the vehicles, a highway patrol officer, the fire fighter, and the victim were standing near the roadway to the rear of the parked fire department vehicle when an out-of-control pickup truck slid toward them, striking the victim and the civilian driver. The NIOSH investigator identified excessive speed for the road conditions, losing control of the vehicle while passing a highway emergency scene, and weather conditions as contributing factors in this fatality. /niosh/fire/reports/face201207.html

Driver/Engineer Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death at Scene of Motor Vehicle Crash—Georgia

On March 7, 2013, a 49-year-old male career driver-engineer was working his 24-hour shift. In the afternoon, he completed a 25-minute training session for an upcoming physical ability test. Approximately 25 minutes later, his engine was dispatched to a motor vehicle crash. At the scene, he was assisting the ambulance paramedics with a stretcher when he suddenly collapsed. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support (ALS) were immediately initiated. Despite CPR and ALS for almost an hour on the scene, in transport, and at the hospital, the engineer died. NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical exertion of the training session and the stress of responding to the motor vehicle crash most likely triggered an arrhythmia that resulted in his sudden cardiac death. /niosh/fire/reports/face201318.html

News from Our Partners

Michigan Surveys Temporary Staffing Agencies

Michigan surveyed the temporary staffing agencies in the state and then developed material to assist these agencies in addressing the identified needs concerning occupational safety and health. The materials developed included an overview of responsibilities of the host and temp agency with sample contract language, educational/training resources for temp workers, and a hazard alert on worker safety for temp staff. The material developed was distributed to all the temporary staffing agencies in Michigan.

Wisconsin Work-related Asthma Prevalence

The Asthma Program within the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently released the Burden of Asthma in Wisconsin–2013, a surveillance report describing asthma morbidity and mortality in Wisconsin. This report includes a section on work-related asthma, with prevalence estimates from the WI Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Adult Asthma Callback Survey, emergency department and inpatient hospitalization data, and workers’ compensation claims data. Work-related asthma is a state-added indicator collected by the Wisconsin Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program. The full asthma report is available at

SliDeRulE, Safety Style

Developed by Dr. John Gambatese and Mr. Vineeth Dharmapalan at the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University, with support from NIOSH, SliDeRulE (Safety in Design Risk Evaluator) is a tool to assess the construction safety risks associated with a building’s design. Building designers, architects, and engineers can use SliDeRule to compare prospective designs based on construction safety risk, determine the level of safety risk associated with a design, and create designs that minimize the risk of injury among construction workers.

NIOSH Total Worker Health™ Convenes National Expert Colloquium

On September 19, experts from around the globe in industry, labor, government, and academia met in Washington, DC, to provide input to NIOSH on the strategic direction for Total Worker Health™ (TWH), the initiative that advances the safety, health, and well-being of all workers. In this meeting, NIOSH shared its updated list of issues relevant to TWH, which captures the breadth of this concept that is leading the nation to redefine health and safety in the workplace. More information is available at

Forestry Workforce Review and Assessment Meeting

In September, representatives from three NIOSH-sponsored Centers for Agriculture Injury and Illness Research, Education, and Prevention (Ag Centers) and from NIOSH’s Office of Agriculture Safety and Health participated in a Forestry Workforce Review and Assessment meeting in Chevy Chase, Maryland. At the meeting, Forestry Sector leaders assessed recent and anticipated changes in the forestry workforce and workforce development needs, including safety and health. Outcomes from the meeting include the identification of next-step projects and the formation of an action planning committee to address immediate needs and to create a broad forestry alliance and network within the forestry industry. For more information, please contact Pietra Check at

New App for Saving Lives in Tractor Rollovers is Tested Under NIOSH-supported Research

Researchers with the University of Missouri are testing a smart phone application to hasten medical aid to farmers who may be seriously or critically injured in a tractor rollover. In the event of a rollover that may leave the injured farmer unconscious or immobile at a remote location, the app would send an automatic emergency call with coordinates. The project is supported under a competitive grant from the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, one of the NIOSH-funded Agricultural Safety and Health Centers. More information is available from Dr. Bulent Koc at or (573) 882-2495.

Northeast Ag Center Exhibitor at Farm Aid 2013

The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), also known as the NIOSH-sponsored Northeast Ag Center, was an exhibitor at Farm Aid 2013 September 19–21 in Saratoga Springs, New York. NYCAMH interacted with hundreds of farmers, farm advocates, and other attendees through their small-scale model farm exhibit, which demonstrated five farm safety hazards: tractor rollovers, roadway safety, power take off (PTO) entanglements, grain silo danger, and manure pit danger. For more information, please visit

Michigan FACE Report

Michigan FACE recently released their digital story on methylene chloride and bathtubs

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

HHE logo

NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program Video: Helping to Eliminate Workplace Health Hazards

The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program has just released a short video describing the program and how it can assist employees, employers, and unions. This video is available at

Evaluation of Chemical Exposures during Fire Fighter Training Exercises Involving Smoke Simulant

HHE Program investigators evaluated fire fighter trainers’ exposures to smoke stimulants used during training exercises. Levels of mineral oil mist in the air were above exposure limits during exercises involving only oil-based smoke simulant. Levels of diethylene glycol in air were above the exposure limit during an exercise involving only glycol-based smoke simulant. Levels of mineral oil mist, diethylene glycol, formaldehyde, and acrolein in air were above exposure limits during an exercise that involved smoke stimulants, heat, and fire. Investigators determined that brief exposures to compounds measured could irritate the eyes and lungs or cause more serious lung damage. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • Rotating training officer duties throughout a full day of training exercises
  • Requiring trainers to wear self-contained breathing apparatus inside the training tower even if they are outside the training room during exercises that involve heat or fire
  • Requiring trainers to wear self-contained breathing apparatus or full face piece air purifying respirators with cartridges or canisters that are effective against oil-based aerosol and formaldehyde during training exercises that involve only smoke simulants

A link to this final report is available at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.

r2p Corner

NIOSH and National Safety Council Renew Partnership

NIOSH and the National Safety Council have renewed their agreement for an additional 5 years to work together to improve workplace safety and health. This agreement includes collaborative efforts to provide evaluation research, communication, and professional development opportunities for occupational safety and health professionals. For more information, contact Dawn Castillo at (304) 285-5894 or

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

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Development of Inward Leakage Standards for Half-Mask Air-Purifying Particulate Respirators
Written comments must be received by October 18.

Collection and Use of Nonfatal Workplace Violence Information from the National Crime Victimization Survey
Written comments must be received by November 27.

World Trade Center Health Program Enrollment & Appeals—Pentagon & Shanksville, Pennsylvania Responders
The notice was posted on September 4. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Taxi Driver Survey on Motor Vehicle Safety and Workplace Violence (or, Taxi Driver Survey)
The notice was posted on September 13. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

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

New NIOSH Communication Products

  • Getting optimal performance from a powered air‐purifying respirator (PAPR) depends on the condition of its battery! /niosh/docs/2013-146/
  • Respirator Awareness: Your Health May Depend On It /niosh/docs/2013-138/default.html
  • What’s special about Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) air-purifying respirators (APR)? /niosh/docs/2013-157/
  • What’s special about Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR)? /niosh/docs/2013-156/
  • Wildland Fire Fighting: Hot Tips to Stay Safe and Healthy /niosh/docs/2013-158/
  • Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers: What Employers Should Know /niosh/docs/2013-153/

  • Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers: What Parents Should Know /niosh/docs/2013-152/

Call for Abstracts and Presentations

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.

23rd Annual Social Marketing Conference
Call for abstracts. The deadline for submission is January 31, 2014.

2014 National Safety Council Texas Safety Conference & Expo
Call for abstracts. The deadline for submission is October 25.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

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

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

2013 International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection (ICFPP)
October 23–25, Tokyo, Japan

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 Conference + Exhibition
October 29–31, Singapore

2014 National Safety Council Texas Safety Conference & Expo
March 30–April 1, 2014, Galveston, TX

AIHCE 2014
May 31–June 5, 2014, San Antonio, TX

Safety 2014 ASSE Professional Development Conference & Exposition
June 8–11, Orlando, FL

2014 NFPA Conference and Expo
June 9–12, 2014, Las Vegas, NV

23rd Annual Social Marketing Conference
June 20–June 21, 2014, Clearwater Beach, FL

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at

Did You Know?

The CDC Learning Connection provides free access to learning products and training resources from across the public health community. Users can browse monthly spotlights on public health topics and mobile lessons on the go and access CDC TRAIN, the most comprehensive catalog of public health learning products in the nation. Health professionals can sign upfor a free CDC TRAIN account and search through thousands of online courses, including continuing education courses.

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.