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NIOSH eNews – December 2015

Volume 13 Number 8 (December 2015)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Using Video to Highlight NIOSH Research

In today’s world of online visual communication, video is a critical medium for informing and engaging the public on all matters, including science. As the public relies more and more on smart phones and computers for authoritative information, it becomes increasingly important for scientists and scientific organizations to help the public navigate science’s complex terrain with content presented in direct and digestible ways. Video has become a key means for providing such content.

In 2014, NIOSH began a series of videos designed to highlight ongoing or newly published NIOSH research in the words of the men and women who conduct the research. The goal of this project was to make our partners, stakeholders, and the public better aware of the wealth of research here in NIOSH and to more broadly disseminate findings traditionally limited to smaller audiences of fellow scientists who read peer reviewed journals. To date, we have produced 12 of these videos on topics that range from emerging issues such as nanotechnology, to new research for preventing persistent occupational health problems such as silicosis and job-related asthma. Shorter clips of these videos are also available on the NIOSH Instagram page.

In a simple format, each video features the appropriate researcher concisely describing the purpose, design, or findings of a given study. NIOSH posts these videos on YouTube, highlights them on other widely visited social networks, and gives links or addresses back to the NIOSH web page for further information. By producing these videos, we engage audiences such as business leaders, labor unions, health providers, students, and workers and their families who may not have been aware of our work otherwise. As professional associations and journals begin more and more to produce video themselves, our initiative helps us keep pace with the mainstream and helps our scientists to gain experience that they are likely to find as an asset in their career development. Do-it-yourself cameras, readily available editing software, and even the video capabilities of smart phones have made it possible to create a product that, only a few years ago, required dedicated production facilities and trained technicians.

Our “research byte” videos follow an earlier series, NIOSH’s “Women In Science” video series. This video series was developed to highlight the accomplishments of women in NIOSH who advance world-class research in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. It responded to the need highlighted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Women in Science, and other national leaders for resources to encourage greater participation of women in scientific fields. There are eight videos in this series.

Both of these series build on NIOSH’s prior experience in producing longer videos that were designed to be used as components of occupational safety and health training programs, or to engage partners in particular NIOSH programs. These videos range in content from focusing on the issues of black lung among miners to explaining our Health Hazard Evaluation program.

We believe that video is an important medium for communicating research. We invite you to view our videos and let us know if you have comments or suggestions on format and content. If you are interested in partnering with NIOSH to develop these types of videos or others, please contact Tanya Headley.

NIOSH Announces Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies

NIOSH announces the launch of its new Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies. The ocean environment presents many challenges to those who protect seafaring workers’ safety and health. The Center will promote safety and health for this high-risk worker population by coordinating research and intervention studies across NIOSH. CAPT Jennifer Lincoln of NIOSH will lead the new Center.

NIOSH Releases Inaugural Podcast on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Learn more about how to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss in this new podcast featuring information from the NIOSH Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention team.

Concussion Movie Coincides with NIOSH Research

The issue of risk from concussion in professional football will be highlighted in the new movie “Concussion,” scheduled for release on December 25. The issue also gained attention recently when the family of Frank Gifford announced pathology findings which they said confirmed that the NFL great suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy before his death in August 2015. The body of scientific evidence on neurodegenerative disease among professional football players includes peer-reviewed NIOSH research published in 2012. For other information on the NIOSH research, see the NIOSH Science Blog.

Update on NIOSH Construction Twitter Feed

This just in: The NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health has reached more than 15,000 followers on Twitter,the largest following of any NIOSH-related Twitter account, growing with an average 200 followers a month. Follow @NIOSHConstruct to receive real-time information on construction safety and health research, partnerships, and practice that addresses the safety and health challenges construction workers face. We just keep growing.

Free NIOSH/NIH Total Worker Health Workshop/Webinar

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NIOSH invite you to a workshop called “Pathways to Prevention: Total Worker Health®—What’s Work Got to Do With It?” The workshop will be held December 9–10, at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. It is free and available by webcast. Register today by visiting the workshop website to attend in person or by webcast.

Cooperative Agreements Fund NIOSH FACE Program

NIOSH recently announced funding for cooperative agreements with 26 organizations for occupational injury and illness surveillance. As part of these agreements, the following seven states will participate in the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program: California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Washington. The NIOSH FACE and state FACE programs investigate factors associated with worksite fatalities and develop recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

NIOSH and Partners Provide Technical Guidance for Pulmonary Function Testing Laboratories

NIOSH recently partnered with The Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS) in France and the University of Palermo, Italy, to translate the NIOSH document “Get Valid Spirometry Results EVERY Time” for French– and Italian-speaking pulmonary function testing laboratories around the world. The technical information can be used to improve spirometry test quality in occupational health, clinical diagnostic, and clinical research settings.

NIOSH Launches Motor Vehicle Safety eNewsletter, Behind the Wheel at Work

Preventing work-related motor vehicle crashes is the drive behind the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety’s research and communication efforts. To receive research updates, links to motor vehicle safety resources, practical tips on workplace driving, and news about upcoming events, subscribe to Behind the Wheel at Work, the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety quarterly eNewsletter. Sign up here to receive the first issue soon.

Save the Date: Understanding Small Enterprises Conference October 2017

NIOSH and the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work & Environmentwill host the Understanding Small Enterprises (USE) Conference in Denver, October 25–27, 2017. This will be the first-ever international small business occupational safety and health conference held in the United States. The 2017 USE theme is “Worker Well-being and Sustainable Business Health: From Ideas to Achievable Reality.” The conference seeks to provide solutions and methods to small businesses for improvements in worker well-being and productivity, while reducing injuries and illnesses. For more information, contact the NIOSH Small Business Outreach and Assistance Program Coordinator, Tom Cunningham.

NIOSH Noted in Safety Bill

In a November 18 announcement of state Senate and House passage of a Pennsylvania state safety bill to prevent aggressive and distracted driving in work zones, the bill’s sponsors, State Senators Jay Costa and Camera Bartolotta noted NIOSH’s statistics on the high toll of work zone deaths and injuries.

NIOSH Looks at Precautionary Practices of Respiratory Care Practitioners Who Administer Aerosolized Medications

A recent article from NIOSH found that safe handling of aerosolized medications is not always universally practiced in healthcare settings, placing workers, co-workers and even family members at risk. The article was published in the October issue of Respiratory Care and is available online.

Improving Worker Safety and Health Among American Indians/Alaska Natives: A Partnership Workshop

Workshop presentations are now available for a partnership workshop held August 17-18 which convened representatives from tribes, tribal organizations, academia and state and federal government to advance worker safety and health among American Indians and Alaska Natives. NIOSH, working with the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) hosted the workshop to 1) discuss worker safety, health and wellness issues and solutions; 2) learn about tribal resources, data sources and surveillance systems,; and 3) identify opportunities to work together. View workshop presentations here. For more information, contact Elizabeth Dalsey at 303-236-5955, or

Monthly Features

News from Our Partners

Oil and Gas Well Activity Associated With Commercial Motor Vehicle-related Crash Fatality Rates in Texas

In a recent ecological study, the Texas Department of State Health Services examined associations between active oil/gas well frequency and rates of commercial motor vehicle (CMV)-related crash fatalities per 100,000 population in Texas counties from 2012 through 2013. Preliminary findings show that adjusted rates of CMV-related crash fatalities were statistically significantly higher in counties with a greater frequency of active oil and gas wells, indicating potential opportunities for preventive interventions. For more information, contact Emily Hall.

Georgetown University Graduate Certificate in Occupational and Environmental Health
The Georgetown University’s graduate Certificate Program in Occupational and Environmental Health will hold informational webinars about the program on December 15 and January 14. The program is a part-time, 12-credit course that enables students to integrate scientific exposure assessment through occupational hygiene and safety science methods, assess toxicologic information about disease outcomes, and develop and apply interventions to reduce exposure to occupational and environmental hazards including in the workplace, the community, and the larger environment. Participants in the webinar can ask questions about the application and admissions process for the program. For application details and instructions about the program, go to the university’s website. You can also register for the informational webinars by clicking these links:

New Report Examines Latest Studies of Lung Cancer Risk in Workers Exposed to Exhaust

On November 24, the Health Effects Institute released findings on its intensive review and analysis of two key recent studies of mine and trucking industry workers exposed to exhaust from older diesel engines. One of the studies was the Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and NIOSH that studied a cohort of more than 12,000 male U.S. nonmetal miners. The report concluded that the studies met high standards of scientific research and could be useful for estimating lung cancer risks due to exposures to older diesel engine exhaust.

OSHA Seeks Public Comment As It Updates Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking public comment on an updated version of its voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. For more information and to review the draft guidelines and provide comment, visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Program Management webpage. Comments will be accepted until Feb. 15, 2016. Comments can also be posted directly using Docket #OSHA-2015-0018.

Michigan Surveillance Program

Michigan actively tracks six work-related illnesses (asthma, all lung disease, carbon monoxide poisoning, lead poisoning, heavy metals poisoning, and acute pesticide toxicity) and five work-related injuries (amputations, burns, crushing injuries, skull fractures, and traumatic fatalities) under a multi-data-source surveillance program. To assure the availability of timely data, two page summary fact sheets on each condition are distributed at the end of the calendar year in addition to an annual report which is typically available a year later.

FACE Reports

Warehouse Worker Falls from Elevated Forklift Platform—New Jersey
A warehouse worker died after falling from an elevated forklift platform. The victim and a coworker were adjusting metal warehouse shelving in an automotive parts warehouse. The victim parked the forklift and elevated the platform, then walked out onto the platform and fell onto the warehouse cement floor.

Batch Maker Dies after Toxic Exposure to Toluene Vapor—New Jersey
A batch maker died after a toxic exposure to a toluene vapor at a manufacturing plant. The victim was using a wooden measuring stick to determine the remaining volume of toluene in a tank. He reached down into the port to obtain a measurement and was overcome by vapor.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports

Pump Operator/Engineer Suffers Heart Attack On Duty and Later Dies—Texas

A career pump operator/engineer was serving as Acting Lieutenant for his crew’s shift. After the work shift began, the pump operator/engineer complained of sudden shortness of breath and chest pain. Ambulance paramedics provided advanced life support. The pump operator/engineer’s condition worsened, and he died 19 days later.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Disinfectant Exposure at Healthcare Facilities

HHE Program investigators evaluated exposure to ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) disinfectant at eight healthcare facilities. Although they found no evidence of adverse health effects, investigators recommended the facilities maintain proper ventilation in rooms where OPA is used, require employees use personal protective equipment, and update training programs. For more information click here.

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Personal Protective Equipment Information (PPE-Info) Database

The notice was posted on October 8. Written comments must be received on December 7.

A Vapor Containment Performance Protocol for Closed System Transfer Devices Used during Pharmacy Compounding and Administration of Hazardous Drugs— Extension of Comment Period

The notice was posted on November 9. Electronic and written comments must be received by March 8, 2016.

Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN) – Existing Information Collection in Use without an OMB Control Number

The notice was posted on November 10. Written comments must be received by January 11, 2016.

Interventions to Reduce Shoulder MSDS in Overhead Assembly—Reinstatement

The notice was posted on November 17. Written comments should be received within 30 days of this notice.

Call for Abstracts

American Industrial Hygiene Conference

Call for abstracts. Deadline to submit electronically is 5 p.m. EST on December 21.

2016 National Safety Council Congress & Expo – Building Safer Workplaces
Call for papers. Deadline to submit is January 29, 2016.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

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

2016 National Safety Council Texas Safety Conference & Expo
March 20–22, 2016, San Antonio, TX

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
April 11–16, 2016, Jacksonville, FL

American Industrial Hygiene Conference
May 21–26, 2016, Baltimore, MD

2016 International Hazardous Materials Response Teams Conference
June 16–19, 2016, Baltimore, MD

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

The NIOSH web page, Conferences and Events, offers a list of upcoming conferences.

“This Month in History”

This month, 45 years ago . . .
President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act on December 29, 1970. “To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women,” the Act created both NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. To learn more about the Occupational Safety and Health Act and NIOSH, visit The History and Future of NIOSH Morgantown. To read the full Occupational Safety and Health Act, go to Public Law 91-596.