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NIOSH eNews – January 2015

Volume 12 Number 9 January 2015

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

NORA Decade Review

In 1996, NIOSH unveiled the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). NORA is a partnership program to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. Since its inception, NORA has become a research framework for NIOSH and the nation. Diverse parties collaborate to identify the most critical issues in workplace safety and health. Partners then work together to develop goals and objectives for addressing these needs.

In 2016, NORA will celebrate 20 years of accomplishments. In 2005, the accomplishments of NORA’s first decade (1996–2005) were collected and reviewed. Currently, an evaluation of the second decade (2006–2015) is being conducted. This review is focusing on the accomplishments of the decade and progress toward meeting goals and objectives. Part of the review is the collection of input from stakeholder groups as to the strengths and weaknesses of the second decade of NORA, including general strategic approach and tactical execution of the approach. The evaluation is designed to answer three main questions: What did we do in the second decade of NORA? How well did we do it? What was the impact?

Audiences for the evaluation include funding agencies, stakeholder groups, NIOSH researchers, policy-making groups, other occupational safety and health organizations and agencies, and thought leaders. NIOSH data on intramural and extramural research activities, outputs, and impacts during the second decade of NORA will be analyzed. NIOSH program leaders and NORA sector council members will be asked to respond to questionnaires about council and program activities, effectiveness, and impacts. A NIOSH docket will open in early 2015 to accept comments and insights from the general public and from NORA partners about NORA during the second decade.

The results will be reported in 2015 and will help inform planning for the third decade of NORA, which starts in 2016. The following products from the evaluation are expected to be available in 2016:

  • Final printed reports
  • Electronic information for easy download and quick messaging
  • Bibliometrics of the second decade of NORA
  • Topic-specific fact sheets and impact stories

To learn more about NORA, go to /nora/about.html or, to learn more about the review, go to /nora/decadereview.html.

To submit questions and comments about the review, email us at We look forward to your input as we prepare for NORA’s third decade.

Congressman Highlights Visit to NIOSH

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa) recently visited the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory in Bruceton, Pennsylvania. While there, he met with NIOSH researchers who conduct research and evaluations on technologies that protect workers from hazardous substances in their workplace. In the wake of this year’s Ebola outbreak, the facility has placed a special focus on validating test methods and evaluating the performance of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses to prevent work-related exposures to the virus. Read more at

New NIOSH Publication on Ergonomic Solutions for Retailers

A new NIOSH publication highlights how workers in grocery stores can reduce strains and sprains when moving materials from the delivery truck to the sales floor. Designed for retail workers and safety experts, Ergonomic Solutions for Retailers uses a series of illustrations to show how and where employees in a retail setting, such as a grocery store, would use mechanical assist devices to lift, push, or pull heavy materials—job tasks that can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Learn more at /niosh/updates/upd-11-25-14.html.

NIOSH and OSHA Provide New Resource to Help Ebola Responders Prevent Fatigue

A new factsheet is now available to help healthcare workers, responders, and employers prevent work-related fatigue in tending to Ebola cases. NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) together released the document Preventing Worker Fatigue Among Ebola Healthcare Workers and Responders, which provides practical tips and resources for employers and workers involved with cases related to Ebola.

Institute of Medicine Releases Report for Healthcare Stakeholders

The Institute of Medicine Use and Effectiveness of Powered Air-Purifying Respirators in Health Care Report, published January 6, 2015, was commissioned by NIOSH in an effort to gather and compile information regarding the needs of the healthcare stakeholder. NIOSH is moving toward more contemporary approaches to updating the standard in accordance with the 1995 National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (Public Law 104-113) to address innovative technologies and contemporary applications for PAPRs. The report is being used as one of many significant inputs to revising the standards and prioritizing the performance requirements to be incorporated in the standards that are underway at this time. /niosh/npptl/ptprogram.html#national

Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

Diana Ceballos Receives Harvard Fellowship

Dr. Diana Ceballos of NIOSH was selected as a JPB Environmental Health Agency Fellow from the Harvard University School of Public Health. The fellowship program was established to promote a new generation of environmental health scholars who are committed to using comprehensive approaches to address health disparities in disadvantaged communities. Dr. Ceballos, one of 12 scientists from academia and government, participated in the inaugural training of this fellowship cohort in November at the Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Ceballos will be attending a follow-up training in January in Seattle, Washington.


Supplement to the National Construction Agenda

The NORA Construction Sector Council conducted a mid-decade review of the National Construction Agenda. Six of the 15 strategic goals were judged “ready for impact,” since sufficient knowledge and solutions are available for implementation by contractors and workers. Subsequently, the council outlined a road map for achieving impact in each of the six goal areas. For details, see the link to the mid-decade review supplement on the National Construction Agenda webpage at /nora/comment/agendas/construction/.

News from Our Partners

New Hampshire Releases New Report on Asthma Prevalence by Industry and Occupation

More than 17.5 million adults in the United States suffer from asthma, and, according to the American Thoracic Society, approximately 15% of U.S. adults with asthma have asthma attributable to occupational factors. To explore this further, the New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program used the newly added industry and occupation variables in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey to identify those industry and occupation groups of workers at greater risk for asthma. This information can be useful to prioritize and guide prevention strategies within high-risk industries and occupations. To read the full report, go to

New Mexico Occupational Health Surveillance Program

Work has direct and indirect effects on an individual’s health status and behavior. In New Mexico, workers in transportation occupations have the highest rate of obesity (44.0%) among all occupation groups, while construction occupations have the highest rate of being uninsured, the New Mexico Department of Health reported. Those in construction occupations were significantly more likely to be without health care coverage (41.0%). To read the complete report of selected findings, visit the New Mexico Occupational Health Surveillance Program webpage at and click on Occupation and Health in New Mexico Report (

Colorado BRFSS: Adding Value by Adding Occupation

In 2012, Colorado included the first industry and occupation questions in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. These questions help researchers learn about and evaluate the relationships between work and health status, prevalence of chronic diseases, and health behaviors. Preliminary analyses of these new data demonstrate that these factors vary by occupation. A full summary report will soon be published by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program ( For more information or to request a direct notice of publication, please contact

Ohio Increases Funding for Safety Interventions

In 2010, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OHBWC) and NIOSH developed a formal partnership to protect Ohio workers from work-related injury and illness. Since 1999, the OHBWC has offered a Safety Intervention Grant program where employers are provided matching funds to implement engineering controls. Recently, the OHBWC and the NIOSH Center for Workers’ Compensation Studies (CWCS) found that this program significantly reduced affected employee claims and costs (see As a result, in 2014 the OHBWC greatly expanded the annual program budget to $15 million and is allocating an additional $45 million for fiscal years 2015–2017. For more information, contact Steve Wurzelbacher ( or visit the websites of the OHBWC ( and the CWCS (/niosh/topics/workercomp/cwcs/).

American Society of Safety Engineers Family Scholarship Fund

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Family Scholarship Fund provides college funding for families affected by a workplace tragedy. It is the hope of ASSE that these scholarships, open to spouses and children of those who have died from a workplace incident, will minimize the financial impact of the loss while encouraging continuing education. Spouses or children of fallen workers can apply for a scholarship if they are U.S. citizens, are enrolled as a full-time student seeking a degree, maintain a GPA of at least 2.5, and can demonstrate financial need. Applications are due February 1, 2015. For more information or to apply, visit

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

The University of California San Francisco will present a course, Cardiovascular Health and Disease: Occupational and Environmental Factors and Updates in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (, on March 12–14, 2015, 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.

UMass Receives NIOSH Funding for Retinal Detachment/Lifting Study

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, have received a $1.4 million grant from NIOSH to study the connection between lifting and an eye condition known as retinal detachment. The study will analyze whether intense physical activities common in the workplace—such as lifting, pushing, and pulling—lead to retinal detachment, a condition in which the retina pulls away from its nourishing layer of blood vessels, resulting in potential vision loss and blindness. Learn more at

National Farm Medicine Center Receives NIOSH Funding for Children’s Center

The National Children’s Center, a part of the National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic, is getting continued funding from NIOSH. The Center has been awarded a $1.2 million per year competitive grant renewal for a 5-year cycle to help expand its efforts to integrate proven safety strategies into programs of organizations and businesses that are best positioned to influence the safety of children living and working on farms. Read more at

FACE Reports

Hispanic Lumberyard Worker Dies When Struck By a Forklift—North Carolina

On March 30, 2012, a 58-year-old Hispanic lumberyard worker died from crushing injuries received when a forklift driven by a coworker struck him. The forklift operator’s field of vision was limited because he was transporting lumber and the load partially obscured his view. He did not see the laborer but stopped when he felt the forklift roll over something. /niosh/face/in-house/full201201.html

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports

Career Fire Fighter Killed by Structure Collapse While Conducting Interior Search for Occupants Following 4th Alarm—Texas

On May 20, 2013 a 51-year-old male career fire fighter was conducting a primary search for occupants after the fourth alarm at a fire in an apartment complex and was killed inside the building when it collapsed. The victim was part of a crew who returned to search for residents in the burning structure. /niosh/fire/reports/face201317.html

r2p Corner (H2)

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. Submissions for the special track are now being requested. Please view full submission requirements. The deadline for submissions is January 30, 2015.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Recommendations Provided to Reduce Exposures at an Electronics Recycling Facility

Employee overexposures to lead, cadmium, and noise led HHE Program investigators to recommend improving the ventilation systems, requiring respirator use in certain areas, and following the OSHA lead, cadmium, and noise standards. A link to this final report is available at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.

Precautions Against Lead Exposure Provided to an Indoor Firing Range

Finding elevated blood lead levels in employees and lead on surfaces in the range and showroom, HHE Program investigators recommended changes to the ventilation system and removing employees from lead exposure until the hazard was abated. 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

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

Emergency Self Escape for Coal Miners (New)
The notice was posted on December 11. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Investigating the Implementation and Evaluation of Top-ranked HSMS Elements (New)
The notice was posted on December 15. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Coal Workers Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) (Revision)
The notice was posted on December 15. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

World Trade Center Health Program Enrollment, Appeals & Reimbursement (Revision)
The notice was posted on December 23. 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

Tenth Symposium on Performance of Protective Clothing and Equipment: Risk Reduction through Research and Testing
Abstracts must be submitted by January 9, 2015.

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

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?

Workers who are exposed to extreme cold or work in cold environments may be at risk of cold stress? Learn more at /niosh/topics/coldstress/.

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.