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NIOSH eNews – December 2014

Volume 12 Number 8 December 2014

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

NIOSH Asks eNews Readers for Feedback

The NIOSH monthly newsletter, eNews, made its debut in May 2003. Now, just over 11 years later, eNews seeks each month to continue fulfilling its original goal: to inform our stakeholders of new NIOSH products, events, accomplishments, partnerships, programs, policies, and priorities in a concise, timely, and engaging format.

Our introduction of eNews those 11 years ago was predicated on a very simple fact of communication in the age of the Internet. Electronic publishing freed us from the high costs, intensive staff resources, and significant commitments of time required for publishing a monthly newsletter on paper. Moreover, thanks to hyperlinks, we could keep news items short and to the point for busy readers, providing links to the original electronic resources for those who wanted further details.

I am pleased that eNews has found a receptive and growing audience of more than 54,000 readers. We want to continue that growth by retaining your interest and adding other readers who may be joining us for the first time. In order to do that, we need to be sure that we continue to deliver information in a format, style, and channel that keeps up with changing times.

In 2003, eNews was innovative. Today, in an ever-evolving world of dynamic social media and electronic communication, an 11-year-old product risks being overtaken by advancements in technology. In NIOSH alone, eNews was followed by the advent of the NIOSH Science Blog, greater use of video and podcasts, a rapid shift toward online delivery of most of our products, a robust presence on the social networks, and the growth of mobile platforms. Without doubt, other novel communication channels will follow tomorrow, next year, and the year after that. eNews must keep pace. We also must recognize changes in our audience’s composition—including age, culture, and professional background—that affect the types of information they seek and the ways in which they receive it.

We are asking our readers this month for your feedback as we revisit our strategies behind eNews to ensure that we meet today’s needs. Questions that we would like to pose include these:

  • What do you like about eNews? What features of content and format continue to serve you well?
  • What don’t you like, in terms of content or format? Are there types of content or design elements that may have outlived their usefulness for you?
  • What topics or design elements would add value?
  • What other venues—Twitter, Facebook—do you use to get information? Could these be better integrated with eNews?
  • Are there topics that you would like to hear more about that the current format doesn’t cover?
  • Are there design or delivery features of other electronic newsletters that we should consider for eNews?

We value your input so that we can bring you the most useful NIOSH information possible, and our talented eNews staff is interested in hearing from you. Please email Tanya Headley at with your feedback. Thank you!

NIOSH Launches Training for Emergency Responders to Reduce Risks Associated with Fatigue due to Long Work Hours

NIOSH’s new interim training program is for emergency workers who deploy to disaster sites caused by weather, earthquakes, and other catastrophic events like Ebola. The 30-minute online training is for workers and their managers to help them better cope with the demands of these emergency operations. Emergency responders in healthcare, public safety, utilities, construction, humanitarian aid, and clean-up services can learn strategies to reduce risks that are linked to working long hours. To learn more and take this training, go to /niosh/emres/longhourstraining/.

NIOSH Highlights Research at American Public Health Association Meeting

NIOSH participated in the 142nd annual meeting of the American Public Health Association November 15–19 in New Orleans. For more details about NIOSH and partner presentations, go to /niosh/updates/upd-11-14-14.html.

NIOSH Receives Funding from CDC Office of Preparedness and Response

NIOSH recently received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response for fiscal year 2015 for the following projects:

  • NIOSH Recommendations for Sensor Technologies in Response Efforts (contact Gayle DeBord)
  • Use of a Novel Fluorescence Instrument to Biomonitor Worker Exposure and Assess Environmental Contamination by Aromatic Hydrocarbons (AH) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) (contact John Snawder)
  • Airborne Pathogen Exposure and Deposition Patterns for Event Response and Management in Aircraft (contact Jamie Bennett)
  • Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS) Software Development and User Training (contact Renee Funk)
  • Development of Occupational Exposure Banding e-tools and Instructional Materials for Responders (contact Lauralynn McKernan)

Contact Renee Funk at for more information.

Models to Breathe By—Engineering Controls Silica Advisory Group Develops Specifications

Recently, the CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training/NIOSH Engineering Controls workgroup released model silica specifications ( for protecting workers from inhaling silica-containing dust while grinding, cutting, and sawing masonry during construction operations. The document is for builders, supervisory personnel, and other professionals responsible for implementation or governmental oversight of safety and health, environmental standards, and building codes.

Broad Agency Announcement for Development and Demonstration of Mine Safety and Health Technology

The NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research is soliciting concept papers to conduct research, explore development, undertake rigorous testing, or evaluate or adapt technologies to improve mine safety in the following six areas: remote detectors for methane gas; intrinsically safe absolute pressure sensors for mine atmosphere; economically viable stopping/door systems for built-in-place refuge alternatives; permissible, non-invasive rock property tools; compact, high-capacity dust collectors; and reduced-noise fans for use in underground mines. The estimated amount of awards is $200,000–$300,000, with a ceiling of $650,000. The deadline is January 12, 2015. For more information and to apply, go to

David Conover

In Memoriam CAPT David Conover

NIOSH was saddened to learn that CAPT David Conover, Ph.D., passed away November 16 at age 69. Dave completed a 30-year career as a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service in 2001 after spending the last 28 years with NIOSH. For decades, he was the leading NIOSH researcher and an internationally recognized expert in the measurement of radio-frequency (RF) radiation exposures in complex, real-world environments. Nearly all present-day RF measurement devices are derivatives of instruments he developed. Following his retirement in 2001, he continued to assist NIOSH researchers in field studies of radiation exposure for a number of years.

Lawrence Foster

Retirement of NIOSH’s Lawrence Foster

Lawrence (Larry) Q. Foster of NIOSH is retiring on December 3, with just over 40 years total service to the U.S. government as both a soldier and a civilian. Larry has performed a number of duties during his time at NIOSH. Most recently, he worked in the NIOSH Education and Information Division where he used his editorial skills as well as literature-searching skills to assist researchers in more depth and detail. Thank you Larry for your service!

Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

Publication of the Year Award

Congratulations to Aleksandr Stefaniak for receiving the Publication of the Year Award at the annual meeting of the Southern African Institute for Occupational Hygiene. The paper, “International Guidelines for the In Vivo Assessment of Skin Properties in Non-clinical Settings, Part 2: Transepidermal Water Loss and Skin Hydration,” was co-authored with his colleagues from South Africa.

Research Highlighted by Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs

Congratulations to James O’Callaghan. His work on the Department of Defense Gulf War Illness Research Program is being highlighted on the website of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. To read the highlight, go to


Submissions Requested for r2p Track at NSC 2015

For the fourth year, the NORA Manufacturing Sector Council and the National Safety Council will co-host a research-to-practice track at the 2015 National Safety Congress and Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia from September 26 to October 2, 2015. The objective is to help expedite the transfer of documented results and knowledge on the prevention of work-related illnesses and injuries into highly effective practices in the workplace. This track is open to any industry. Selections will be based on quality of the research, not on scale. We are now requesting submissions for the special track. Please view full submission requirements. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015.

News from Our Partners

Washington Releases New Trucking Industry Report

The North American trucking industry and occupational health researchers will find the in-depth report, Trucking Industry: Examining Injuries for Prevention, Washington State, 2006–2012, insightful for injury prevention. Using Washington State workers’ compensation data grouped by industry sector, the report details the most frequent injury type, source, and cost and includes worker training tips. The report was produced by Washington State’s NIOSH-funded Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis Through Surveillance program at the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention program. The report is available at

Community-based Participatory Research to Reduce Injuries Among Hispanic Construction Workers

Workplace mortality and severe injury are disproportionately distributed among foreign-born and Hispanic construction workers. In this study the Illinois Center for Injury Prevention partnered with eight worker centers in seven cities to train worker leaders to deliver a modified OSHA 10-hour curriculum to their peers. Its research provided evidence for successful implementation of a training intervention for low-wage, low-literacy Hispanic construction workers using a community-based participatory research approach. To read the full article or a summary factsheet, go to

FACE Reports

Laborer Dies When He is Crushed by an Industrial Washing Machine—California

When the machine door safety interlock on an industrial washing machine was disconnected, the laborer operating the machine was crushed as he leaned into the washing machine drum to retrieve clothing. /niosh/face/stateface/ca/11ca007.html

Millwright Fatality Involving a Hydraulic Accumulator—Oregon

As three millwrights were rebuilding a hydraulic accumulator, one of them slowly removed an 8-inch-diameter cap from the end of the accumulator, and the cap violently exploded off the cylinder and hit him in the abdomen and pelvis, killing him. His coworkers were injured by the cap and related debris. /niosh/face/stateface/OR/11OR016.html

Snowmaker Killed after Sliding off an Icy Trail and Striking a Tree—New York

A snowmaker at a ski resort was assigned to work on an expert-rated ski run to connect the snow guns with water and compressed air. He slid off an icy ski trail and struck a tree, suffering fatal injuries. /niosh/face/stateface/ny/12ny001.html

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports

Nine Volunteer Fire Fighters and One Off-Duty Career Fire Captain Killed by an Ammonium Nitrate Explosion at a Fertilizer Plant Fire—Texas

Ten emergency first responders were killed when a burning fertilizer plant containing 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded. The victims were among a number of first responders engaged in fire suppression and support activities and were in close proximity to the burning structure when the explosion occurred. /niosh/fire/reports/face201311.html

r2p Corner

Mount Sinai Participates in Total Worker Health Affiliate Program

NIOSH and the Mount Sinai Health System announced Mount Sinai’s participation in the Total Worker HealthTM (TWH) Affiliate Program, beginning in November. The program integrates occupational safety and health protection with health promotion strategies to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance overall employee health and well-being. The announcement was made during a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony held at The Mount Sinai Hospital on November 6. For more information go to

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Recommendations Provided to Reduce Silica Exposures When Maintaining Dirt Roads

Road maintenance crew overexposures to respirable crystalline silica led HHE Program investigators to recommend ways to minimize dust exposure during dust-generating activities. They recommended wetting the soil prior to work, scheduling dust-generating tasks on days when the soil is moist, and regularly maintaining air filters in the equipment. 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

Nominations of Candidates to Serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) 
The notice was posted on September 10. Nominations must be received by December 15.

Proposed National Total Worker Health Agenda
The notice was posted on September 23. Comments must be received by December 22.

Assessing the Impact of Organizational and Personal Antecedents on Proactice Health/Safety Decision Making (New)
The notice was posted on October 20. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Returning Our Veterans to Employment and Reintegration (Revision)
The notice was posted on October 23. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

EEOICPA Dose Reconstruction Interviews and Forms (Extension)
The notice was posted on November 3. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Interventions for Airplane Cargo Baggage Handling (New)
The notice was posted November 6. Written comments should be received within 30 days.

Incentives for the Adoption of the Youth@Work—Talking Safety Curriculum (New)
The notice was posted November 7. Written comments should be received within 30 days.

Improving Organizational Management and Worker Behavior through Worksite Communication (New) 
The notice was posted November 17. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Surveillance of Health-Related Workplace Absenteeism (New) 
The notice was posted on November 19. Written comments should be received within 30 days.

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

Presentations and Abstracts

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
Poster abstracts must be submitted by December 5.

Tenth Symposium on Performance of Protective Clothing and Equipment: Risk Reduction through Research and Testing (2016)
Abstracts must be submitted by January 9, 2016.

2015 National Safety Council Congress & Expo—Building Safer Workplaces
Proposals must be submitted by January 30, 2015.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
March 23–26, 2015, Boston, MA

American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists
March 24–26, 2015, Savannah, GA

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

FDIC 2015 Conference
April 20–25, 2015, Indianapolis, IN

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Conference 
May 3–6, 2015, Baltimore, MD

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

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)
May 19–21, 2015, Kingwood, WV

2015 Hazmat Conference
May 28–31, 2015, Baltimore, MD

American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo
May 30–June 4, 2015, 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, 2015, 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?

Did you know that there are over 2 million workers who grow crops, raise animals, and harvest timber to bring the many bounties we enjoy with our family and loved ones. Visit /niosh/agforfish/ to learn more about safety and health within the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors.

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.