NIOSH logo and tagline

NIOSH eNews – March 2017

Volume 14 Number 11 (March 2017)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Total Worker Health Affiliate Network Takes Partnerships to New Level for NIOSH

Our partners are vital in helping NIOSH advance the safety, health, and well-being of America’s workers. By working collaboratively with our partners, NIOSH is able to transfer our research findings into cost-effective solutions to make work safer, healthier, and more productive for workers, employers, and the Nation. With this in mind, we launched a major partnership initiative in 2014, the Total Worker Health® Affiliate Program. The effort brings together academic, labor, nonprofit, and government organizations to advance an integrated approach to protecting and promoting worker well-being. We created the Affiliate program with the hopes of increasing understanding of Total Worker Health (TWH) as an effective strategy to improve worker safety, health, and well-being and attracting collaborators to conduct research, build capacity and train professionals, apply TWH principles in a variety of workplaces, and share promising practices.

The first Affiliates were the Center for Worker Health and Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health, which is now a TWH Center of Excellence; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which continues to be innovative in integrating safety, health, and well-being into its organizational goals; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), recognized for its exemplary employee safety and health programs; and Mount Sinai Health Systems, the first Affiliate to be a TWH Clinical Center of Excellence, pledging to provide integrated services to its own workforce and to regional employers and to train its occupational medicine residents in TWH practices. Since that auspicious start three years ago, there are now 26 Affiliates, receiving no federal funding for their efforts, engaging across many arenas of research, intervention, and practice.

NIOSH is proud of our Affiliates and appreciates their initiatives to move TWH into practice in the workplace. Regional Affiliates such as SAIF (the non-profit, state-chartered workers compensation provider in Oregon), the Nebraska Safety Council, Kentucky Department of Public Health, and the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Center, provide consultations and technical assistance that address the specific needs of their regions. Boilermakers International and the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America are labor representative Affiliates that offer safety services and health programming to their members. Organizational membership associations—including the National Safety Council, Agrisafe, and Valley Health Alliance in the Aspen, Colorado, region—share best practices with industry leaders. Trade associations, such as ISSA-the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association and the Industrial Minerals Association of North America, help us reach large numbers of workers and employers through their nationwide networks. Affiliates may also be nonprofit or governmental organizations that are committed to implementing TWH for their employees, such as the National Security Agency and Eskenazi Health, a large healthcare provider in Indiana dedicated to improving the health of its workers and region. The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses and the American College of Preventive Medicine are examples of Affiliates that provide continuing education and training to professionals interested in TWH. We are also excited about emerging efforts to develop and launch TWH academic certificate and degree programs by our academic Affiliates, including the University of North Carolina, Northern Kentucky University, and Western Kentucky University. And of course, to continue evolving, we need the research and translation activities that are being carried out at research university Affiliates: the University of California–Berkeley (in both the Labor Occupational Health Program and the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces), the University of Michigan, the University of Georgia, and the University of Buffalo.

We ask that Affiliates emphasize organizational interventions preferentially over a focus on individual behavior change interventions, and we encourage a focus on implementing a diversity of workplace policies and programs, including those related to human resources, benefits, and disability prevention and return-to-work supports. TWH emphasizes the importance of addressing the risks in the job itself and improving work-related factors such as scheduling and long work hours, autonomy and flexibility, interactions with supervisors, and access to paid leave.

More information about the NIOSH Total Worker Health Affiliate program is available here. We look forward to strengthening our existing partnerships and to growing new ones as we continue our quest to advance the safety, health, and well-being of all workers.

June 12-18: Nationwide Safe + Sound Week Will Promote Safety and Health Programs

NIOSH, OSHA and partners announce June 12-18 as Safe + Sound Week. The event is a nationwide effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs among workplaces. Throughout the week, organizations are encouraged to host events and activities that showcase the core elements of an effective safety and health program—management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing workplace hazards. Visit the Safe + Sound Week webpage to sign-up for email updates on the event.

NIOSH and NHCA Present 2017 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards

NIOSH, in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2017 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™. This year’s award was presented to Ryan Lee Scott, deputy sheriff with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, who demonstrated initiative and innovation in examining noise exposure among police officers and presenting potential solutions in order to be safer on the job. The award honors those who have contributed to the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus through effective practices or innovations directed to those who are exposed to noise at work.

EVADE 2.0 Software Now Available: Expanded Beyond Dust Exposure

Mine operators now have a way to see exactly where their mine workers are encountering hazardous exposures. The latest release of NIOSH’s Enhanced Video Analysis of Dust Exposures (EVADE) software program goes well beyond dust to include other hazardous contaminants. Now in its second version, EVADE 2.0 brings together multiple pieces of logged data and synchronizes their playback with video camera footage to show exactly where and when a worker might be subjected to high concentrations of dust and hazardous levels of noise, diesel, and gases.

National Occupational Injury Research (NOIRS) Symposium Papers Available in the Journal of Safety Research

A special issue of the Journal of Safety Research featuring select papers from NOIRS 2015 is available now through July. The issue includes articles on police officer fatigue, all-terrain vehicle safety, fisherman deck hazards, evaluations of injury prevention programs, among many other occupational safety and health topics.

NIOSH CMVS Contributes to Forbes

Self-driving cars are gaining attention, but most U.S. workers will still be driving themselves for decades to come. NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Director Stephanie Pratt, PhD, shares how businesses can keep workers safe on the road in her Forbes guest post, “Until Self-Driving Cars Go Mainstream, How Can Businesses Protect Workers From Crashes?”

March is National Ladder Safety Month

NIOSH is participating in the American Ladder Institute’s inaugural National Ladder Safety Observance this month. This safety observance is focused on raising awareness about the importance of safe ladder use. Visit NIOSH’s Falls in the Workplace page to learn more and to download our award-winning NIOSH Ladder Safety app. Also, follow @NIOSH throughout the month for ladder safety tips, tools, and communication products.

In Memoriam of Two Former NIOSH Employees

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of two former CDC/NIOSH employees:

  • Avima Ruder recently passed, just a month after her retirement as an epidemiologist in the NIOSH Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies. She devoted 28 years at NIOSH toward protecting workers from carcinogens in the workplace and was a tireless advocate for strong science and evidence-based policies.
  • William H. Pailes IV recently passed after several years of retirement. Bill served his country as a medic in the Navy during the Korean War, and after receiving his master’s degree from the University of Iowa, moved to Morgantown to begin his career as a research biochemist with NIOSH, where he continued until his retirement.

Monthly Features


Manufacturing Sector Meeting
The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Manufacturing Sector Council conducted an in-person/online/telephone meeting on February 2–3. The work of identifying broad, strategic research objectives for the nation has begun. It will be followed by efforts to address those issues through information exchange, collaboration, and enhanced dissemination and implementation of solutions that work. It is not too late to join the conversation. If you’d like to participate in the manufacturing sector council, contact the NORA coordinator.

Mining Sector Update
The NORA National Mining Agenda from the second decade of NORA has 8 objectives and 263 sub-objectives for research that improves the health and safety of miners. With a goal of opening up this agenda to the broader mining community for the third decade, a panel of experts drawn from industry, academia, labor, and government discussed current as well as emerging trends in mine worker health and safety on February 22 at an open-to-the-public session held in conjunction with the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) Annual Conference and Expo in Denver, Colorado.

News from Our Partners

Magazine Highlights the N.J. Department of Health’s Efforts to Prevent Fatal Occupational Injuries
Two recently published N.J. Department of Health workplace fatality investigation reports were chosen by the National Safety Council to be featured in the October and December 2016 issues of their monthly magazine (Safety + Health). The first report details how a 34-year-old Hispanic day laborer was killed on his first day on the job when a backhoe loader operator, not realizing the victim was working nearby, rotated the boom, hitting the victim with the bucket. The second report describes how a 62-year-old male mechanic was killed while removing salvageable equipment from a 993.5-pound electrical cabinet when the cabinet tipped over and crushed him between the floor and the cabinet.

Kentucky FACE Program Releases Online Training
The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center’s NIOSH-funded Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance (KOSHS) Program has released an online training module series entitled “FMCSA Level 3 Driver Inspection Online Training.” This module communicates the steps involved in a roadside driver inspection in a user-friendly, engaging format complete with interactions and quizzes. Employers can opt to track each individual employee’s progress and quiz scores via an online portal.

New Report Focuses on Fatal Work-related Injuries in Texas
The Texas Department of State Health Services, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, released a new report, Fatal Work-related Injuries in Texas, 2011–2015, which summarizes occupational fatalities in Texas over time using the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data. The report shows (1) the rate of fatal work-related injuries in Texas was higher than the national average during 2011–2015 and (2) transportation incidents were the most common event/exposure resulting in work-related fatalities, especially among individuals in production, transportation, and material-moving occupations.

r2p Corner

NIOSH at the signing

Christopher Patton, CSP, ASP, President, Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP); Treasa Turnbeaugh, PhD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, BCSP; and John Howard, MD, Director, NIOSH at the signing.

NIOSH and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals Renew Agreement
NIOSH and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals recently renewed an agreement to use their collaborative efforts and expertise to improve the protection of workers through effective prevention strategies and technologies. In addition, the partners will encourage students and other professionals to choose occupational safety and health as a career and advance their competency in that field. For more information contact Dawn Castillo at (304) 285-5894 or

FACE Reports

Food Pantry Volunteer Pinned by a Table Against a Wood Cabinet When the Table was Struck by Backing Vehicle—Michigan
A food pantry volunteer died when a sports utility vehicle backed into a table and pinned the volunteer against a wood cabinet. The volunteer was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.

Truck Driver Died When He was Struck By a Vehicle in a Hit-and-Run Incident—Michigan
A semi-truck driver pulled off on a shoulder of a four-lane lane expressway to check his tail lights. He activated the hazard lights, got out to check the lights, and was struck by an oncoming car. The driver died from multiple blunt force trauma.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports

Career Fire Lieutenant Killed by Roof/Ceiling Collapse During Overhaul—Georgia
A career fire lieutenant died after being struck by a roof and ceiling collapse during overhaul following a structural fire in a vacant single-family home. The fire lieutenant was removed from the structure and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies from Injuries Sustained at a Residential Structure Fire—New York
A volunteer fire fighter was injured at a residential structure fire. The fire fighter was found face down in the basement of the house in several inches of water. The fire fighter was transported to a trauma center and he died 4 days later.

Wildland Fire Superintendent Dies from Heart Attack after Performing Physical Fitness Training—Idaho
A career, seasonal wildland fire superintendent completed physical fitness training. The training included a 1.8-mile run on a trail over rolling hills. Following the run, he suddenly collapsed. The superintendent was pronounced dead at the scene.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program

Evaluation of Odors and Noise at an Automobile Parts Manufacturer
NIOSH investigators found levels of volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide well below occupational exposure limits in the injection molding and epoxy injection areas. An injection molding operator was overexposed to noise. We recommended the company start a hearing conservation program and install local exhaust ventilation to control smoke and odors. For more information click here.

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Assessment of the Market for Electronic Technology for Underground Coal Mining Safety and Health Applications—New
The notice was posted on January 17. Written comments must be received on or before March 20.

A Performance Test Protocol for Closed System Transfer Devices Used During Pharmacy Compounding and Administration of Hazardous Drugs; Extension of Comment Period
The notice was posted on December 8. Written electronic or written comments must be received by June 7.

Survey of Engineered Nanomaterial Occupational Safety and Health Practices—New
The notice was posted on February 10. Written comments must be received on or before April 11.

“This Month in History”

Twenty years ago this month, NIOSH announced a study aimed at preventing silicosis, a serious and sometimes fatal occupational lung disease. For the first phase of the study, scientists tested 41 different gritty materials as substitutes for silica sand in abrasive blasting operations. These operations use high-pressure streams of grit to clean buildings and other structures, increasing the risk of exposure to silica sand. More information is available on the NIOSH Silica web page.