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NIOSH eNews – March 2015

Volume 12 Number 11 March 2015

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Truck Driver Health and Safety

From armchairs to zucchini, almost everything we buy is transported by truck. Long-haul truck drivers are drivers of heavy tractor trailers whose freight delivery routes require them to sleep away from home most nights. They live on the road with limited access to healthy foods, drive long hours, have low physical activity levels, and feel stress from demanding schedules. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022. As more men and women become truck drivers, it is important that we make their health and safety a priority.

Last year, NIOSH published the findings from the National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury. The study is the first to provide a comprehensive look at the health status, health and safety risk factors, and work practices of long-haul truck drivers in the United States. During 2010, NIOSH researchers collected data from 1,670 long-haul truck drivers at 32 truck stops across the 48 contiguous United States.

Data from the survey are a key component of NIOSH’s first-ever Vital Signs, CDC’s monthly release of data and calls to action on important public health issues. The theme of this month’s Vital Signs, launched on March 3rd, is Trucker Safety: Using a Seat Belt Matters. Vital Signs includes an article in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) based on data on truck drivers’ seat belt use from the NIOSH survey. It also provides a graphic fact sheet and website, a media release, and social media tools. Most of the Vital Signs materials are available in English and Spanish. I invite you to review these useful materials, and I also hope you can attend this month’s CDC Vital Signs Town Hall Teleconference, “Keeping Truckers Safe on the Road,” on March 10. You can find meeting details at

It will come as no surprise to our readers that motor vehicles crashes are the leading cause of fatal work-related injuries for truck drivers in the United States. But, the NIOSH survey provides important new insights into the relationship between long-haul drivers’ work environment and a higher likelihood of health problems. Key health findings of the survey were:

  • Seven in ten long-haul truck drivers were obese (BMI of 30 or higher)—twice the number of U.S. adult workers that were obese.
  • More than half of long-haul truck drivers were current cigarette smokers—over twice the number of current cigarette smokers among all U.S. adult workers.
  • Long-haul truck drivers were twice as likely as other workers to report they were told they had diabetes.
  • More than half of long-haul truck drivers reported having two or more of the following risk factors:
    • High blood pressure
    • Obesity
    • Smoking
    • Little physical activity
    • High cholesterol
    • Six or fewer hours of sleep
  • About six in ten long-haul truck drivers slept less than six days at home within the past month, while 18% spent zero days.

Poor health can affect truck drivers during their working lives and into retirement. Health issues can also force truck drivers to leave the industry. If a health problem affects a driver’s ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely, he or she may not qualify for a commercial driver’s license. This infographic, created by NIOSH, illustrates the impact of obesity on a truck driver’s livelihood.

This initial survey on long-haul truck drivers provides baseline health and injury data that can be used to inform the development of interventions such as occupational health screenings, well-being programs, and expanded workplace health and safety policies. Findings from the study have been used to demonstrate the need to address the health and well-being of truck drivers on and off the job. The data can be used as benchmarks to assess the impact of prevention efforts on truck driver health and safety and help improve the overall health and work environment for long-haul truck drivers.

I invite you to learn about our work and to consider ways in which you can collaborate in moving this research to practice. Please contact Karl Sieber at if you are interested in partnering in this endeavor.

For more information, visit:

World Trade Center Health Program Seeks Nominees for the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee

Lend your expertise to help 9/11 responders and survivors receive the highest quality healthcare. The World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program is seeking nominations for six open positions on the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee, which advises the administrator of the WTC Health Program on important medical and scientific issues. Members review research and making formal recommendations on how to implement and improve the program. Nominations are due March 31. Learn more at

Health Risks For Countertop Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and NIOSH have published important documents that provide information on exposures to silica during stone countertop manufacturing and related health risks. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) “Notes from the Field: Silicosis in a Countertop Fabricator” ( presents case findings, and the OSHA/NIOSH Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Silica during Countertop Manufacturing, Finishing, and Installation ( provides facts and guidance.

NIOSH and NHCA present 2015 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™

NIOSH, in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™, honoring companies that have shown dedication to the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss through excellent hearing loss prevention practices in the work environment. The awards were presented at the 40th Annual Hearing Conservation Conference on February 20, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Read more at /niosh/updates/upd-02-19-15.html.

NIOSH Releases New Ebola Guidance

NIOSH has released two new Ebola guidance documents: “Interim Guidance for U.S. Businesses, Employers, and Business Travelers to Prevent Exposures to Ebola” ( and “Guidance for Safe Handling of Human Remains of Ebola Patients in U. S. Hospitals and Mortuaries” (

New Study Shows Workers May Fear Talking to Doctor About
Job-related Asthma

NIOSH researcher Dr. Jacek Mazurek was featured in an article from Health Day News for Healthier Living related to a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology on February 3, stating that workers may be afraid to discuss job-related asthma with their physician. “Work related asthma is underdiagnosed and under-recognized” said Jacek in a journal press release. Read more at

Stand Tall, Stand Proud, Stand-Down for Fall Safety

NIOSH, in a combined effort with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and CPWR—the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), among other partners, announce the second annual construction Fall Safety Stand-Down during the weeks of May 4–15. This event follows the success of last year’s Stand-Down and asks employers and workers across the nation to pause in their work and dedicate time to activities that promote the prevention of fatalities from falls. Read more /niosh/updates/upd-02-18-15.html.

NIOSH To Participate in World of Asphalt Show & Conference

Meet NIOSH safety experts March 17th and 18th in Baltimore, Maryland, at the World of Asphalt Show & Conference 2015. Dr. Christine Branche, director of NIOSH’s Office of Construction Safety and Health, will present highlights of a new NIOSH document developed with the Silica/Asphalt Milling Machine Partnership, which provides best practices to help reduce respirable silica exposures during asphalt pavement milling in highway construction. For more information contact CDR Duane Hammond at or 513.841.4286.

Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

Federal Engineer of the Year

Chris Pan was selected as the National Society of Professional Engineer’s Federal Engineer of the Year for CDC.

James M. Crawford Award for Outstanding Service

Jim Green won the James M. Crawford Technical Standards Board Outstanding Achievement Award for outstanding service in the technical activities of SAE International.

USPHS Distinguished Service Medal

Geoffrey Calvert received the United States Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal. This is the highest award granted to a Corps officer. This award is presented in recognition of an exceedingly high level of achievement by an officer who possesses a genuine sense of public service and who has made exceptional contributions to the mission of the Corps.

NHCA Recognizes NIOSH Researcher for Excellence in Hearing Conservation

William Murphy is the recipient of the 2015 National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) Outstanding Hearing Conservationist Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to, or achievement within, the field of hearing conservation.

NIOSH Manuscript is the NHCA Readers’ Choice

An article published by NIOSH authors in the 2013 issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine,  titled “Prevalence of Hearing Loss in the United States by Industry,” was selected as the NHCA 2015 Readers’ Choice Award for a peer-reviewed manuscript related to the prevention of hearing loss.”


Requesting Feedback on the Second Decade of NORA

NIOSH is requesting feedback from its partners and the public on the second decade of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). The following request is posed on the website: Please describe the most significant successes and challenges of your engagement with NIOSH during the second decade of NORA (2006 to present). Go to the NIOSH Docket webpage (/niosh/docket/review/docket244a) for additional information and instructions for submitting comments. Comments will be accepted until March 24, 2015.

News from Our Partners

Preventing Job-related Pain for Dental Hygienists

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has created a five-part video series by and for dental hygienists on using ergonomics to prevent job-related pain. An advisory group of San Francisco dental hygienists provided messages, themes, and interviews for the videos. These dental hygienists also appeared in the videos, telling their personal stories. CDPH’s Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program successfully partnered with the University of California, Berkeley, Ergonomics Program and the California Dental Hygienists’ Association to produce and distribute the series. To view the videos, visit the CDPH website or YouTube channel at or

University of California San Francisco Presents New Course on Cardiovascular Health and Disease

A new course, Cardiovascular Health and Disease: Occupational and Environmental Factors and Updates in Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine, will be held on March 12–14 in San Francisco, California. This course, presented by the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, provides occupational and environmental health professionals and persons from other health-related disciplines with a review and update of current data in occupational and environmental medicine.

2014 Iowa Mercury Exposure Lessons Learned Presentation Now Available

In 2014, an unusual work-related mercury exposure was investigated in Iowa. The Iowa Occupational Health & Safety Surveillance Program shares their experience to raise awareness of the growing cottage industry of recycling for profit in the home. Their presentation, 2014 Iowa Mercury Exposure Lessons Learned, is available at or by contacting them at

Carbon Monoxide Exposures Persist in North Carolina Manufacturing Workplaces

The North Carolina Division of Public Health’s (NC DPH) Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch is expanding its efforts to address carbon monoxide (CO) exposure among workers in the manufacturing industry. NC DPH has partnered with the local Tarheel Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers to design an education and outreach program to increase awareness of CO exposure sources among North Carolina workers in the manufacturing industry. Online factsheets and other information will be available to manufacturing employers and workers in early- to mid-June 2015 at

Surgeon General Murthy Addresses NIOSH Partner School District

Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, the newly appointed U.S. Surgeon General, was the keynote speaker at the Miami Dade County (Florida) Public Schools (M-DCPS) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) expo on February 7. M-DCPS, the fourth largest school district in the country, is partnering with NIOSH to use the new NIOSH Talking Safety curriculum to equip students with foundational workplace safety and health skills. /niosh/talkingsafety/

FACE Reports

Hispanic Laborer Killed When Struck By Falling Plywood on a Commercial Construction Site—Kentucky

Tanker Truck Involved in Deadly Crash on Interstate—Kentucky

Construction Flagger Struck and Killed in Two-Lane Highway Work Zone—Kentucky

Laborer Dies after Falling Through 40-Foot High Roof of Recycling Facility—New Jersey

Painter Died When Elevated Scissor Lift Tipped to Side When Tire Entered Pavement Depression—Michigan

Laborer Died Due to Hypertensive and Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease with a Contributing Factor of Hyperthermia—Michigan

Bus Driver Died While Attempting To Open Bus Doors While Bus Was Moving—Michigan

Assistant Manager at Fertilizer Mixing Facility Dies When Pinned Under Overturned 1972 Tractor Without a ROPS—Michigan

Roofer Dies After Gust of Wind Knocks Him And A Co-Worker Off Roof—Kentucky

Grain Truck Driver Killed at Train Crossing—Kentucky

A Metal Fabrication and Finishing Foreman Dies After 25 Foot Fall at a Commercial Building Site—Kentucky

Truck Driver Dies When Tractor-Trailer Leaves The Road And Plunges Into A Creek-Bed—Kentucky

An Electrician Dies When He Is Crushed Between a Traveling Hoist and a Plating Tank—California

Experienced Journeyman Machinist Killed While Operating an Engine Lathe—Oregon

Tree-care Worker is Crushed by Cut Tree Section During Storm Damage Cleanup—New Jersey

Mechanic Crushed Underneath Four-ton Wood Chipping Machine—New Jersey

Laborer Killed after being Struck by a Slab of Concrete that had been Lifted—New Jersey

Operator Dies after Excavator Tips Over the Side of a Bridge into River—Washington

Timber Faller Killed While Working Under a Hung Tree Limb—Oregon

Truck Driver Crushed Between Semi-trailer and Loading Dock—Oregon

Highway Worker Crushed by Swinging Backhoe Boom—Oregon

Young Warehouse Worker Killed by Backing Forklift—Oregon

Machine Operator Dies After Head Crushed in Machine—Oregon

Log Truck Driver Killed When Brakes Fail on Steep Road—Oregon

Logger Killed by 41-foot Pole Sliding Down Steep Hill—Oregon

Mechanic Killed Pouring Gasoline on Fire—Oregon

Municipal Mechanic Fatally Injured When Crushed Between a Skid-steer Loader’s Frame and Bucket—Massachusetts

Municipal Police Officer Fatally Injured When Struck by a Backing Dump Truck—Massachusetts

Municipal Electrician Dies after Falling out of an Aerial Lift Truck’s Raised Bucket after It Was Struck by a Semi-Tractor Trailer—Massachusetts

Truck Driver Dies When Tractor-Trailer Overturns After Leaving Road—Kentucky

A Machine Operator in a Food Processing Plant Dies When Trapped Inside a Steam Pressure Cooker—California

A Tree Trimmer Dies When He is Crushed by Palm Tree Fronds—California

A Stagehand Falls from the Ceiling of an Amphitheater—California

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports

Career Lieutenant Killed Following a Walkway Collapse While Working to Evacuate a University Student Housing Building—Missouri

On February 22, 2014, a 48-year-old male career lieutenant lost his life after the elevated concrete walkway that he was working on collapsed. The lieutenant’s department was dispatched for a reported roof collapse at a university student housing complex. The lieutenant was attempting to evacuate the building when the collapse occurred. /niosh/fire/reports/face201407.html

Captain Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death During Physical Fitness Training—California

On April 3, 2012, a 50-year-old male career fire captain was working an 8-hour overtime shift at a remote fire camp. The captain participated in a morning physical training hike with his crew. During the hike, the captain was observed lagging behind and crew members advised him to walk faster to finish the hike on time. Approximately 35 minutes later, the crew became aware that the captain had not yet returned to camp. The crew found the captain a short time later, unconscious along the trail. /niosh/fire/reports/face201214.html

Volunteer Fire Fighter Killed Rescuing Injured Construction Worker When Struck by Collapsing Cell Phone Tower—West Virginia

On February 1, 2014, a 28-year-old male volunteer fire fighter died after being struck by a collapsing cell phone tower. The fire fighter was rescuing a construction worker who had been injured during the collapse of a separate tower. He and three other fire fighters were dragging the injured worker out of the danger zone of the collapsed tower when a second tower collapsed and struck him as he attempted to run away. /niosh/fire/reports/face201403.html



r2p Corner (H2)

NIOSH-developed Roof Bracket and Safety Rail System Now Commercially Available

NIOSH has signed a nonexclusive licensing agreement with Reese Wholesale (Indianapolis, Indiana) to commercialize the NIOSH-designed and patented roof bracket and safety rail system. The NIOSH guardrail system is designed for use in residential, industrial, and commercial construction industries and provides fall protection around roof and floor openings, temporary handrails on stairways, and perimeter protection on flat and six different sloped roofs. Product information for the Reese Wholesale system may be found at or by contacting Susan Ragan, director of Sales and Marketing, at 765-776-2058. For more information on NIOSH’s research related to fall injury prevention, visit /niosh/topics/falls/. Mention of a company name, product, or website does not constitute endorsement by NIOSH.



Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Ergonomics Recommendations for a Label Manufacturing Facility

Employees in the film and paper finishing departments worked in awkward postures that put them at risk for developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. HHE Program investigators recommended redesigning workstations, rotating employees, and adjusting staffing or assigned work hours to allow employees time to rest and recover. A link to this final report is available at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.


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

New NIOSH Communication Products

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

World Trade Center Health Program Petition for the Addition of a New WTC-related Health Condition for Coverage under the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program (Revision)
The notice was posted on January 22. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin: Reproductive Risks Associated with Hazardous Drug Exposures in Healthcare Workers and Recommendations for Reducing Exposures
The notice was posted on January 23. Electronic or written comments must be received by March 24.

Request for Comment on the Second Decade of National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)
The notice was posted on January 23. Electronic or written comments must be received by March 24.

Enhancing Dialogue and Execution of Dust Reduction Behaviors through Workgroup Communication (New)
The notice was posted on January 23. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Interventions to Reduce Shoulder MSDs in Overhead Assembly (Extension)
The notice was posted on February 6. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Request for Nominations of Candidates to Serve on the World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee
The notice was posted on February 24. Electronic or written comments must be received by March 31.

Future Directions for the Surveillance of Agricultural Injuries—Public Meeting and Request for Comments
The notice was posted on February 26. A public meeting will be held on March 30, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. (EST), or after the last public commenter has spoken, whichever occurs first. The public meeting will have only a 100 web-based conference availability. Electronic and written comments must be received by May 27.!docketDetail;D=CDC-2015-0005

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

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
March 23–26, Boston, MA

American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists
March 24–26, Savannah, GA

2015 National Safety Council Texas Safety Conference and Expo
March 29–31, Austin, TX

FDIC 2015 Conference
April 20–25, Indianapolis, IN

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Conference
May 3–6, Baltimore, MD

11th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, Work Stress and Health 2015: Sustainable Work, Sustainable Health, Sustainable Organizations
May 6–9, Atlanta, GA

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)
May 19–21, Kingwood, WV

2015 Hazmat Conference
May 28–31, Baltimore, MD

American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo
May 30–June 4, Salt Lake City, UT

2015 National Safety Council Congress & Expo—Building Safer Workplaces
September 26–October 2, Atlanta, GA

National Fire Protection Association 2015 Backyards and Beyond Wildfire Education Conference
October 22–24, Myrtle Beach, SC

Tenth Symposium on Performance of Protective Clothing and Equipment: Risk Reduction Through Research and Testing
January 28–29, 2016, San Antonio, TX

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at

Did You Know?

Today, more employers are making the connection that a safe, healthy, and engaged workforce affects their bottom line. Visit the NIOSH Total Worker Health website at Here you will find practical tools and evidence-based guidelines for creating a culture of Total Worker Health.

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.