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NIOSH eNews – July 2015

Volume 13 Number 3 (July 2015)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Making the Rounds to Bring NIOSH Research to You

It is my pleasure to announce NIOSH Research Rounds, a new newsletter featuring the wealth of research that NIOSH advances every day: the beginnings of studies, benchmarks achieved in studies-in-progress, advancements in methods for the 21st century, and new findings reported in the peer-reviewed literature. Beginning next month, and then continuing on a monthly basis, NIOSH Research Rounds will make the regular rounds of our nine laboratories nationwide to bring you a collection of research updates written for a diverse audience.

Typically, NIOSH researchers network vigorously, through professional conferences and peer-reviewed journals, to inform their fellow researchers from other agencies, academia, and the private sector about research progress. With Research Rounds, we will keep you apprised, as well, of the ongoing research that culminates in the final products of NIOSH numbered documents and peer-reviewed papers. We will also include summaries of selected scientific articles that, normally, you might see if you subscribe to a professional journal but otherwise may be new and interesting to you.

For this first issue of NIOSH Research Rounds, we started by making the rounds in our Morgantown, WV, laboratories. In future issues of the newsletter, we will extend our rounds to include all of our sites in Cincinnati, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Denver, CO; and Spokane, WA, as well as in Morgantown.

Our preliminary rounds uncovered research that includes the following:

  • A new clinical study investigating the genetic markers of exposures that may increase the risk for silicosis.
  • A new study of truck-driver measurements geared toward improving truck-driver safety through better cab design.
  • Completed research comparing the effectiveness of vibration-reducing gloves in preventing severe damage to nerves and blood vessels in the hands and arms, known as hand-arm vibration syndrome, which can result from frequent, prolonged use of power tools.
  • A new study analyzing the relationship between cleaning products and asthma among hospital workers.
  • Testing samples of composite materials containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes in NIOSH’s sanding-simulation system to determine the type of particles released and generate samples for toxicity tests.

    Testing samples of composite materials containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes in NIOSH’s sanding-simulation system to determine the type of particles released and generate samples for toxicity tests.

  • Efforts underway to expand the NIOSH Ladder Safety app.

NIOSH Research Rounds will complement NIOSH eNews, which remains our monthly newsletter of publicly available news briefs and links to materials, and the NIOSH Science Blog, which presents a scientific dialogue about our programs. All three communications reflect our value of transparency, our pride in leading world-class research, and our ongoing exploration of new ways to use the Internet and social media to expand our universe of stakeholders.

Since a communications forum is a dialogue, we want to hear from you. As a new publication, NIOSH Research Rounds is evolving, and its editors welcome your comments and suggestions for future issues. Please send them by e-mail to NIOSH Research Rounds and let our editorial staff know what kinds of research information interest you.

NIOSH eNews subscribers will receive NIOSH Research Rounds automatically, but if you prefer not to receive it, simply click here. Otherwise, look for the first issue of NIOSH Research Rounds in your inbox later this month, as we make the monthly rounds to bring NIOSH’s ongoing research to you.

John Howard, M.D.

Bill Requires OSH Training for Students Using NIOSH Materials

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (seated, center) signs State Senate Bill 262, with the bill’s sponsor, Oklahoma State Senator Susan Paddack (fifth from right); Mark Costello, Oklahoma Labor Commissioner (center); Lester Claravall, Oklahoma Dept. of Labor (fifth left); Andrea Okun, NIOSH (center); and Stacy Oakley (third from left), her husband, and her students from Latta Schools in Ada, OK, who worked tirelessly to champion the passage of this first-of-its-kind bill.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (seated, center) signs State Senate Bill 262, with the bill’s sponsor, Oklahoma State Senator Susan Paddack (fifth from right); Mark Costello, Oklahoma Labor Commissioner (center); Lester Claravall, Oklahoma Dept. of Labor (fifth left); Andrea Okun, NIOSH (center); and Stacy Oakley (third from left), her husband, and her students from Latta Schools in Ada, OK, who worked tirelessly to champion the passage of this first-of-its-kind bill.


Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin held a ceremonial signing on June 25 for State Senate Bill 262 (for more details, refer to the May eNews, From the Director’s Desk column). The bill requires school districts throughout Oklahoma to provide training on workplace safety and health to students in grades 7 through 12. NIOSH partners at the Oklahoma Department of Labor will collaborate with the Oklahoma State Department of Education to make information regarding workplace safety and health available to schools, using the Oklahoma version of the NIOSH Youth@Work-Talking Safety curriculum.






NIOSH Launches Workplace Solutions for Cutting Fiber-Cement Siding

Silica dust is a hazard for workers who cut fiber-cement siding. NIOSH has created a Workplace Solutions report for lowering silica dust exposure by using a regular shop vacuum attached to a dust-collecting circular saw during the cutting process. This low-cost solution reduces a worker’s exposure to silica dust and minimizes the risk of silicosis, /niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2015-185/pdfs/2015-185.pdf.

NIOSH, VA Collaborate on Safe Patient Handling Project

NIOSH and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs are collaborating on a study of best practices for safely lifting and moving patients, particularly obese patients. At five VA hospitals, researchers are collecting hospital records data and worker surveys to examine musculoskeletal hazards in patient handling; safety program factors such as policies, training, and equipment; and related outcomes such as caregivers’ perceived exertion, discomfort, and injuries. Researchers estimate that it will be at least 2017 before results of the extensive project begin to become available. Further information is available from Traci Galinsky at .

Follow @NIOSHConstruct on Twitter

Four years after the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health launched its account, the office has reached more than 14,000 followers on Twitter. This is the largest following of any NIOSH-related Twitter account, and it has been growing an average of 200 followers a month. Follow @NIOSHConstruct to receive real-time information on construction safety and health research, partnerships, and practices that address the safety and health challenges construction workers face.

New Guidance to Protect the Hearing of Workers in Music Industry

NIOSH has published new guidance to help musicians and those who work in the music industry protect their hearing. Professional musicians, such as orchestra, band members, music teachers, as well as others in the music industry, such as disc jockeys, audio engineers, and crew members, are all at risk for developing permanent hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and other hearing disorders from prolonged exposure to loud music. Learn more /niosh/updates/upd-06-19-15.html.

This Summer, Keep Cool At Work and Keep Responder Safety In Mind

Summer is the season for family vacations and lazy weekends by the pool. For men and women who work outdoors or those who work indoors without air conditioning, summer also brings serious risks of heat stress. For emergency responders, the risks of performing strenuous physical labor in extreme heat are compounded by fatigue, stress, musculoskeletal strain, traumatic injury, and other hazards of rescue and recovery. NIOSH resources for protecting workers from heat stress can be found at /niosh/topics/heatstress/. NIOSH resources for planning, establishing, and following safe practices and procedures for responders can be found at /niosh/emres/.

Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

NIOSH Employees Honored by Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board

The Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board (FEB) recognized more than 40 NIOSH staff for their dedication and commitment to the Federal government at the Excellence in Government Awards, an annual event that honors exceptional government employees. For a list of staff and more information go to /niosh/updates/upd-06-30-15.html.


Revised National Mining Agenda

The NORA Mining Sector Council, /nora/councils/mining/, has published a revised National Mining Agenda, /nora/comment/agendas/mining/. The revisions meet the need for research objectives and sub-objectives in the domain of data adequacy and analysis. The document sets objectives in eight major areas that include disaster prevention, disaster response, health hazards, ventilation, work organization, systems operation and management, human factors, and surveillance. The council encourages organizations to consider these objectives, perhaps in partnership with NIOSH. For more information, contact the NORA Coordinator.

News from Our Partners

Public Health Oscars Night – a Tuxedoed Success

The fourth annual Public Health Oscars Night was an event where excitement was in the air, as students in the Introduction to Environmental and Occupational Health class dressed up in gowns and suits and promenaded on the red carpet . In a tradition that started in 2011, each year Masters of Public Health students at the Colorado School of Public Health collaborate to create YouTube videos focused on an environmental or occupational health issue. In a standing tradition, students competed for the “Golden Hard Hat” for Best Occupational Health Video, and the “Golden Nalgene” for Best Environmental Health Video, not to mention the “Golden N-95” for the Most Infectious Film. The event is hosted by NIOSH’s Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) Director Dr. Lee Newman, in partnership with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Colorado. To enjoy the videos, visit: Follow the MAP ERC on Facebook at

New Jersey Hazard Alert on Falls from Temporary Wooden Platforms

The New Jersey Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (NJ FACE) Project developed a hazard alert based on two work-related fatalities that involved falls through temporary wooden platforms on highway bridge deck construction worksites. The hazard alert, “Temporary Wooden Bridge Platforms,”, highlights the two cases, presents data on construction fatalities in New Jersey, gives detailed recommendations on prevention, and it summarizes how a group of stakeholders worked to change the NJ Turnpike Authority’s contract specifications to mandate safer temporary platforms in bridge deck repair jobs. The Alert was reviewed and endorsed by the New Jersey Health and Safety Laborers’ Fund and the Center for Construction Research and Training. It was posted on OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction website for the 2014 and 2015 Stand-Down events, and it was also featured as a NIOSH Story of Impact, /niosh/docs/2015-190/pdfs/2015-190.pdf.

University of Cincinnati MPH Program Notes Synergy With NIOSH

The proximity of NIOSH’s Cincinnati, Ohio, laboratories to the University of Cincinnati provides an advantage to students in the university’s Masters in Public Health degree program, the program’s new director said in a June 22 press release. “With a major presence in Cincinnati by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, students and residents have opportunities for rotations and jobs after graduation,” said Jun Ying, Ph.D.

Rutgers highlights ERC-supported Historical Perspectives Bus Tour

The Spring 2015 issue of Rutgers Magazine highlights a Rutgers-affiliated Historical Perspectives Bus Tour of U.S. industrial and environmental sites for medical residents and public health graduate students, now in its 10th year. “Seeing these places gives students a first-hand look at occupational dangers and problems that have occurred,” says Mitchel Rosen, Ph.D., director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the Rutgers School of Public Health, who founded the tour. “They learn the importance of worker safety and how hazards can be avoided in the future.” The program receives support from the NIOSH-funded New York/New Jersey Education and Research Center (ERC),

Video Series Focuses on Road Worker Fatalities

Recently, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) created a series of eight animated videos using cases from NIOSH’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. The animated videos follow onsite investigations during work zone accidents and incidents. The videos follow the course of the incident and subsequent fatality and provide recommendations designed to control or eliminate the identified risk. View the videos here

Respiratory Protection Education Education and Resources Webkit

Offers Free Online Learning The Respiratory Protection Webkit includes a 10-module Respiratory Protection Course and accompanying resources. The course is ideal for the occupational and environmental health professional who wants to learn more about OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard and the role of the Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) as the Respiratory Protection Program Administrator. The course is free and runs about 90 minutes. After completing the training and the accompanying evaluation tool, you will be awarded 1.5 CNE. The survey, education, and resources are brought to all OHNs at no cost thanks to a NIOSH Grant, #0000HCCL-2012-48066,

Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education

The Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education recently released 21 tailgate training guides for logging and forestry safety. The brief guides include an incident summary, discussion questions, and a take home message. For more information, contact Amanda Wickman at 903-877-5998,, or browse and print the guides at

r2p Corner

NIOSH New Partnership with Public Private Partnership for Cellulose-based Nanotechnology

Recently, NIOSH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Public Private Partnership for Cellulose- based Nanotechnology (P3NANO), part of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. This MOU will be a government-public-private partner collaboration that will advance workplace health and safety standards and practices and strengthen the resulting nanotechnology workforce. The two parties will be acting as a global resource for research, education, and dissemination in nanotechnology safety and health. For more information, contact Charles Geraci at or (513) 533-8339.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Insulation Exposure at a Union Training Facility

NIOSH evaluated airborne exposures from handling aerogel insulation at a union training facility. Because most aerogel particles were respirable in size and airborne amorphous silica exposures approached calculated exposure limits, NIOSH recommended continued use of personal protective equipment per the manufacturer’s safety data sheets. A link to this final report is available at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.

2014 Health Hazard Evaluation Program Annual Report

The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program is pleased to share its 2014 annual report. The report includes summaries of projects that were interesting and other highlights of the year. The HHE program hopes the report stimulates conversations about the HHE program and how it makes a difference for the health and safety of employees throughout the United States. A link to the annual 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

Employer Perspectives of an Insurer-sponsored Wellness Grant (New)
The notice was posted on May 4. Written comments must be received by July 6.

Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery (Extension)
The notice was posted on May 22. Written comments must be received within 30 days.

NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings: Proposed Additions to the NIOSH Hazardous Drug List 2016
The notice was posted on May 28. Electronic and written comments must be received by July 27.

Assessing and Evaluating Human Systems Integration Needs in Mining (Extension)
The notice was posted on June 5. Written comments must be received on or before August 4.

Interventions to Reduce Shoulder MSDs in Overhead Assembly (Reinstatement)
The notice was posted on June 5. Written comments must be received on or before August 4.

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

Call for Abstracts

ASSE Professional Development Conference & Exposition Safety 2016
Call for presenters and proposals. Deadline for submission is July 15.

International Conference on Occupational Health and Safety 2016
Call for abstracts. Deadline for submission is November 1.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

GTCbio’ 4th Influenza Research and Development Conference
July 8–10, Boston, MA

Ninth Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media
August 11–13, Atlanta, GA

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

Infectious Disease Week
October 7–11, San Diego, CA

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

International Conference on Occupational Health and Safety 2016
March 1–2, 2016, Miami, FL

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
April 11–14, 2016, Jacksonville, FL

ASSE Professional Development Conference & Exposition Safety 2016
June 26–29, 2016, Atlanta, GA

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at

This Month In History

This month, 20 years ago . . .

NIOSH warned that employment might be hazardous for adolescents, with motor-vehicle deaths accounting for the greatest number of work-related deaths among 16- and 17-year-olds. Today, motor-vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of work-related death for workers of all ages.

To prevent occupational deaths and injury among adolescent workers entering the workforce, this year NIOSH updated its Youth@Work Talking Safety curriculum, which specifically targets the unique needs of young employees. Visit the Youth@Work Talking Safety website and click your state to access the region-specific materials.

Read the 1995 press release, NIOSH Warns: Employment May Be Hazardous for Adolescent Workers.

Read the 1995 publication, Request for Assistance in Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Adolescent Workers.