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NIOSH eNews – December 2013


Volume 11 Number 8 December 2013

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Women in Science

7 Great stories of Women in Science

In our ever changing workforce, NIOSH is proud to join national efforts to address the disproportionately small representation of women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). As important as it is to recruit more women into STEM careers, discussions must be held as to how to boost retention of women in these fields. This month I am pleased to announce the release of the Women in Science video series, spotlighting just a few of the many talented female researchers at NIOSH. Drawing from their diverse backgrounds, the women share their journeys to science and offer encouragement to aspiring scientists.

As part of its mission, NIOSH develops and supports the next generation of occupational safety and health professionals. NIOSH funds programs to support occupational safety and health research and education through 18 regional university-based Education and Research Centers; 10 Agricultural Disease and Injury Research, Education, and Prevention Centers; and 28 Training Project Grants that train occupational health professionals and researchers to help meet the increasing demand for occupational physicians, occupational nurses, industrial hygienists, and safety professionals.

NIOSH Education and Research Centers (ERCs) have served as a pipeline for careers in occupational safety and health. Individuals have the opportunity to receive training and gain hands-on experience in various occupational safety and health (OSH) disciplines. NIOSH provides about half of the financial support for professional OSH disciplines. In academic year 2011–2012, 222 professionals graduated from the ERC training programs with specialized training in a variety of OSH fields. Of the 222 ERC graduates, 211 (95%) entered careers in OSH or entered more advanced OSH degree programs. More information on NIOSH training programs can be found at /niosh/oep/training.html.

NIOSH is dedicated to protecting the safety and health of the American workforce through innovative research. This commitment to ensure the health of the nation’s workers starts at NIOSH. We support a diverse workforce and try to accommodate the demands of family and work. The Women in Science video series touches upon the value NIOSH places upon work-life balance. The women scientists featured in the video series discuss the importance of setting time aside for themselves and their families. NIOSH appreciates the dedication of all women in science, especially those working in occupational safety and health.

NIOSH encourages you to learn more about women in science and to reflect upon how your organization can better engage and support women in STEM. Please help us raise awareness by circulating the Women in Science video series.

The NIOSH Women in Science video series can be accessed at /niosh/topics/women/2013-wis/.

NIOSH Study Associates Mistreatment at Work with Missed Work Days

A recent NIOSH study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine ( showed that more than 7.6% of working Americans reported that they were mistreated at their workplace in 2010, and this mistreatment was associated with a 42% increase in the number of missed work days, controlling for covariates. At the national level, workplace mistreatment was associated with $4.1 billion, or 5.5%, of sickness absenteeism costs in 2010. These results demonstrated the importance of developing prevention strategies for workplace mistreatment in the United States. While the issue of workplace bullying/mistreatment has been studied extensively in Europe, it has not received much attention in the United States, partly because of insufficient empirical evidence on its magnitude and associated costs.

Join Us For A Stress-free Chat

On Monday, December 9, experts from NIOSH and Federal Occupational Health (FOH) will host a Twitter chat on stress to explore the topic and offer stress management and prevention strategies. During the #stresslesschat, we’ll discuss what stress is, what workplace factors can lead to stress, how work stress can impact our lives, and what we can do to manage and prevent this stress. We hope you will join us from 1:00–2:00 pm EST! #stresslesschat

New NIOSH Publication Discusses Controlling Worker Exposures to Nanomaterials

The number of commercial applications of nanomaterials is growing at a tremendous rate. It is essential that producers and users of nanomaterials ensure a safe and healthy work environment for employees who may be exposed to these materials. NIOSH’s new document entitled Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes (/niosh/docs/2014-102/) discusses approaches and strategies to protect workers from potentially harmful exposures during nanomaterial manufacturing, use, and handling processes. More information can be found at /niosh/topics/nanotech.

Total Worker Health™ News

The November 2013 newsletter from the NIOSH Total Worker Health™ Program is now available. Get updates from the program as well as a “Total Worker Health™ Exclusive” on emerging efforts to measure Total Worker Health.

New Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance System Training Available

The Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS) System: Leadership Training (IS-930) is now available online. This course introduces the ERHMS system to leaders in organizations responsible for planning and executing an incident response that optimizes the health and safety of response, remediation, recovery, and volunteer workers. The intended audience is decision makers at the local, regional, state, tribal, and federal levels who are responsible for decisions affecting the occupational safety and health of responders. Participants can receive 0.1 continuing education credits for completing the course. Access the course at /niosh/topics/erhms/.

Twitter Buzzes With Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Information

  • On November 19, Dr. Rick Davis, co-team leader of the NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Team, participated in a Twitter chat on noise-induced hearing loss. The chat was hosted by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health. The link with the archive for the chat is available at
  • On November 20, NIOSH researchers Chuck Kardous and Thais Morata participated in a PBS NewsHour Twitter chat on tinnitus from the accounts @NIOSHNoise, @NIOSHFiringRanges, @SafeinSoundUS, and @NIOSHManufacturing. The Twitter chat was a follow-up of their coverage on tinnitus (Americans afflicted with ‘phantom noise’ seek relief from ringing in their ears). View the chat history by going to Twitter and searching on #newshourchats.

Public Meeting Announcement on Update of NIOSH Carcinogen Classification and Target Risk Level Policy for Chemical Hazards in the Workplace

A public meeting will be held on December 16, 9 am to 4 pm, for comments on the update of the NIOSH carcinogen classification and target risk level policy for chemical hazards in the workplace. More information is available at Written comments will also be accepted through February 13, 2014 (see “Federal Register Notices for Public Comment”).


Monthly Features


Revised National Agenda includes Wildland Fire Fighting

The NORA Public Safety Council updated the National Public Safety Agenda (/nora/sectors/pubsaf/agenda.html) to include goals related to wildland firefighting. Over 30 wildland firefighting stakeholders from throughout the United States identified research priorities highlighting knowledge gaps and the need for improvements in such areas as surveillance, interventions, equipment, communications, and occupational safety and health programs. Comments on the Agenda are always welcome and will be considered in future updates. Submit correspondence to

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program Reports

Career Captain Sustains Injuries and Dies at Hospital

On November 2, 2012, a 54-year-old male career captain sustained injuries at a 2-1/2 story apartment building fire then died at a local hospital. The victim and another fire fighter stretched a hoseline to the rear of the second-floor apartment. Before water could be applied to the fire, the captain told the fire fighter they had to “get out.” The captain moved halfway back in the hallway toward the kitchen and yelled out that he needed help. A Mayday was called and the victim was carried down the stairs to the front yard and then transported to the local hospital where he had complications during airway management and died. NIOSH investigators identified possible contributing factors that included the modified building construction, horizontal ventilation contributing to the rapid fire growth, fire ground communications, lack of proper personal protective equipment, and the lack of a sprinkler system in the residential rental building. /niosh/fire/reports/face201228.html

News from Our Partners

New Ag Safety and Health YouTube Videos

The best agricultural safety videos are one click away on the new YouTube channel, U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers, The channel is a joint project of the 10 Agricultural Safety and Health Centers funded by NIOSH. The Ag Centers have created over 50 videos pertaining to working safely in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Topics include respiratory protection, livestock safety, tractor and machinery safety, child development, emergency response, grain safety, pesticide safety, heat-illness prevention, ladder safety, and hearing protection. The channel launched on November 1 and additional videos will be uploaded to the site over the next several months.

Louisiana Occupational Health & Injury Surveillance Program Updates

On average, 26 construction workers die every year in Louisiana from a work-related injury; about one-quarter of these fatalities are due to falls. In an effort to educate stakeholders about this critical occupational health issue, the Louisiana Occupational Health & Injury Surveillance Program presented key findings at Louisiana’s Safety and Health Conference and issued several publications summarizing construction fatality data and promoting OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign. Learn more at and

New OSHA Resource Acknowledges NIOSH Noise Research

In August OSHA released a new chapter in the OSHA Technical Manual (Section III, Chapter 5). This new chapter provides technical information and guidance to help compliance safety and health officers evaluate noise hazards in the workplace. The content is not restricted to OSHA’s standards; information is offered on NIOSH research publications on damage risk criteria, noise controls, ototoxicants in the workplace. The full chapter can be downloaded from the OSHA Web site at . For more information about NIOSH noise research and occupational hearing loss prevention go to

On-the-job Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke

At the 2013 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting, the Massachusetts Occupational Health Surveillance Program presented results (
) from an analysis using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to look at exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) at work among non-smokers following passage of a statewide, comprehensive smoke-free workplace law in 2004. While, overall, the prevalence of exposure to ETS at work decreased from 2003 through 2010, results indicated prevalence of exposure was still high among certain occupation groups, underscoring the value of incorporating occupational information in public health data sources. The findings landed original press coverage by APHA ( The Boston Globe (
), and the story has been picked up by news outlets across the country.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

HHE logo

Evaluation of Dermatitis among Sanders in a Furniture Manufacturing Plant

HHE Program investigators evaluated sanding department exposures and rashes among employees at a furniture manufacturing company. Two sanders had severe skin reactions at work and were unable to continue working in the area. Employees plugged furniture screw holes with epoxy resin and reported using their fingers to mix the epoxy resins because of their thick consistency. A review of medical record for four employees revealed that one had been diagnosed with work-related allergic contact dermatitis after skin patch testing showed an allergic skin reaction to bisphenol A; the other three were diagnosed with contact dermatitis. A ventilation assessment determined that downdraft tables were ineffective in controlling dust while employees sanded large frames. HHE investigators recommended

  • using a dispensing gun to apply the epoxy resins
  • adding local exhaust ventilation to the hand-held sanders to control dust
  • educating employees on the hazards of epoxy resin exposure and the need for work practices to prevent skin exposures to epoxy resins, including appropriate glove use.

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

r2p Corner

NIOSH Partners With NIOSH, Japan

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Japan (JNIOSH) and NIOSH have signed a 5-year agreement to use their collaborative efforts and expertise to advance the protection of workers and to promote best practices to improve worker safety and health. JNIOSH and NIOSH plan to work together to jointly develop a plan of action and discuss targets for the activities and initiatives covered in this agreement. For more information contact Margaret Kitt at or (304) 285-6368.

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

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

New NIOSH Application of a Web-based Health Survey Tool in Schools
The notice was posted on October 23. Comments should be received within 60 days.

Persistence of Viable Influenza Virus in Aerosols
The notice was posted on November 8. Comments must be received within 60 days.

World Trade Center Health Program Enrollment and Appeals
The notice was posted on November 8. Comments must be received within 30 days.

Current Intelligence Bulletin: Update of NIOSH Carcinogen Classification and Target Risk Level Policy for Chemical Hazards in the Workplace
Comments must be received by February 13, 2014.

An Investigation of Lung Health at an Indium-Tin Oxide Production Facility
The notice was posted on November 19. Comments should be received within 60 days.

Development of Inward Leakage Standards for Half-Mask Air-Purifying Particulate Respirators
Written comments should be received by December 31.

Technical Review of 25 Draft Skin Notation Assignments and Skin Notation Profiles
Written comments should be received by January 21, 2014.

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

New NIOSH Communication Products

NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin 66: Derivation of Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) Values /niosh/docs/2014-100/

Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes/niosh/docs/2014-102/

Common Misconceptions About the Flu Among People Who Work in Child Care Settings/niosh/docs/2014-103/

Call for Abstracts and Presentations

International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health 2014 Annual Conference: Cultivating Ag Safety and Health
Call for Abstracts. The deadline for submission is December 23.Call for Posters and Educational Displays. The deadline is January 27, 2014.

23rd Annual Social Marketing Conference
Call for Abstracts. The deadline for submission is February 14, 2014.

2014 National Safety Council Congress & Expo
Call for Presentations. The deadline for submission is January 31, 2014.>

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

2014 NSC 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, 2014, Orlando, FL

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

7th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology 2014
June 9–13, 2014, Houston, TX

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

International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health 2014 Annual Conference: Cultivating Ag Safety and Health
June 22–26, 2014, Omaha, NE

2014 National Safety Council Congress & Expo
September 13–19, 2014, San Diego, CA

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at

Did You Know?

Did you know that NIOSH is now on Pinterest? Follow NIOSH on our Pinterest board to see the newest products including videos, apps, and factsheets on workplace safety and health issues.

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.