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eNews: Volume 15, Number 12 (April 2018)

Volume 15, Number 12 (April 2018)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Join Us in Celebrating Five Years of Stand-Downs in the Workplace to Prevent Falls in Construction

Spring season brings us an opportunity for renewal, rejuvenation, and change. This spring, employers and workers across the nation are once again committing to the revitalization of their construction worksites by participating in the fifth National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, May 7-11.  If you are a construction contractor, employer, small or large business owner, site supervisor, foreman, health and safety professional, worker, or intermediary group, I invite you to join what has become an increasingly successful effort to prevent falls in construction.

In many workplaces, falls are a real, persistent, and preventable hazard. Given the nature of the work, the construction industry sees the highest frequency of fall-related deaths and serious, sometimes debilitating, injuries. Lack of fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation, while deaths and injuries from falls remain a notably preventable public health problem. Overall, about 341 deaths annually.

The National Safety Stand-Down was created five years ago as a combined effort by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), NIOSH, and CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training, among other partners. For the past four years, the Stand-Down has had an impact on fall prevention and on the awareness and education of millions of workers in construction. Now in its fifth year, every participant can build on their strengths and welcome millions more to safety on the job.

The nature of the Stand-Down is such that it creates a national moment, a national pause. Employers are encouraged to stop all work and dedicate time to speaking directly and openly to their workers about fall hazards through talks, demonstrations, and trainings to reinforce the importance of fall prevention requirements.

Preparation for next month’s Stand-Down is well underway with a diverse set of tools available for use from our various partners. To conduct a successful Stand-Down you might wish to share some of the following resources or plan some of the following activities for the week:

  • Drills and practices
  • Toolbox talks
  • Lunchtime presentations
  • Webinars and video presentations
  • Equipment inspections
  • Trainings and demonstrations
  • Posters and other resources available at the official OSHA National Safety Stand-Down website
  • Infographics, videos and fall prevention research and resources available on the NIOSH website
  • Hard hat stickers and other resources available on the CPWR website
  • Resources available in both English and Spanish and a personalized certificate of participation available on the OSHA National Safety Stand-Down website

Millions of contractors and workers participating in the Stand-Down across all 50 states and overseas bring a level of support from industry that adds real value. Both large companies and small companies, even those with a handful of workers—who are often at the highest risk for falls—can feel like they are part of something bigger by taking advantage of the many Stand-Down resources, fall-related materials, and other support that partners can provide leading up to and during the event.

It is through this combined effort and commitment among many partners, employers, and workers that the National Safety Stand-Down has been successful in its reach. I look forward to the continued investment demonstrated in support of fall prevention. Taking a moment May 7-11 to stand down for safety can do much to help all involved walk the talk, provide the correct equipment and training, increase knowledge and efficacy among workers to speak up, and close the gap between employer and workers, reinforcing a new and positive work culture.

For resources and more information:

I hope you will join us in these collective efforts, May 7-11. If you want to share information with OSHA on your Safety Stand-Down and your Fall Prevention Programs, please send an email to


CDC Grand Rounds: Promoting Hearing Health Across the Lifespan

A new MMWR reports on NIOSH efforts to promote best practices for hearing loss prevention for all persons whether on the job or off the job. The article states that increasing awareness and reducing needless exposures to loud noise can help the public take appropriate steps to protect their hearing. Three strategies for hearing loss prevention include (1) turn it down, (2) walk away and (3) protect your ears.

New MMWR Available On Dental Personnel Treated for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis at a Virginia Tertiary Care Center

A new MMWR reports on NIOSH research findings and highlights the need for more information about exposures that occur during dental practice and if those exposures are related to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

MMWR Summarizes NIOSH HHE on Occupational Hazards Associated with Harvesting and Processing Cannabis

A new MMWR summarizes a 2015 NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation that evaluate potential health and safety hazards associated with harvesting and processing cannabis at an outdoor farm. This HHE found that employees had exposures to highly repetitive work, most notably during hand trimming activities, which increase their risk for musculoskeletal disorders. NIOSH will continue to monitor and provide recommendations on the occupational hazards associated with the harvesting and processing of cannabis plants.

NIOSH Releases New Nanotechnology Workplace Design Recommendations

NIOSH recently launched four new products intended to provide options to companies for controlling possible exposure of their workers to nanomaterials on the job. The documents provide helpful recommendations on minimizing exposures during common processes and tasks, including the following:

Visit the nanotechnology research web page to learn more.

First page of Oil and Gas Employers: How to Prevent Fatigued Driving at Work

NEW Fatigued Driving Prevention Tips for Oil & Gas Employers and Workers

Motor vehicle crashes cause over 40% of work-related deaths in the oil and gas extraction industry. Driver fatigue is a factor in some of these crashes. Download NIOSH employer and worker fact sheets that identify factors linked to fatigued driving and provide recommendations for keeping oil and gas workers safe on the road.

Keep Officers Safe On The Road Infographic

NEW Infographic—Keep Officers Safe on the Road

Motor vehicle-related incidents are a leading cause of on-the-job deaths for law enforcement officers in the U.S. This new infographic, co-branded with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, recommends ways that officers can prevent crashes and injuries.

OSHA and NIOSH Provide New Information on Chemically Induced Hearing Loss

NIOSH and OSHA recently published a Safety and Health Information Bulletin, Preventing Hearing Loss Caused by Chemical (Ototoxicity) and Noise Exposure warning of a potentially serious workplace hazard. The Bulletin provides recommendations to employers and safety professionals about identifying ototoxicants in the workplace and establishing hearing conservation programs in workplaces where these chemicals cannot be replaced. Visit NIOSH’s Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention topic pages to learn more about hearing loss prevention programs and their effectiveness.

Sign Up for Safe + Sound Campaign Updates

NIOSH is one of the cosponsors of the Safe + Sound Campaign. The Campaign encourages every workplace in the U.S. to have a safety and health program, a proactive approach to identifying and managing workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness. Throughout the year, the Campaign will provide access to free live webinars, educational content, and local events that can help support the adoption of these programs. These opportunities will all lead up to Safe + Sound Week, a nationwide event taking place August 13-19. Businesses around the country host events or activities that can help initiate or energize a safety and health program. Sign up to receive regular updates about new resources, upcoming events, and announcements or visit Safe + Sound to start planning your event.

Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

NIOSH Mining Employees Receive Awards at 2018 Mining Conference

Congratulations to Engineer Jacob Carr from the NIOSH Pittsburgh Mining Division (PRMD) who is the recipient of the J.W. Woomer Young Engineer Award presented in a ceremony at this year’s Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Annual Conference and Expo on February 27, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition, eight other researchers from PMRD were honored as a group at SME for their work related to respirable dust. Joe Archer, Andy Cecala, Jay Colinet, Emily Haas, Steve Mischler, Justin Patts, Randy Reed, and Don Tuchman received the Health & Safety Research and Educational Excellence Award for their collaborative work on several efforts, including developing the clothes-cleaning booth technology, the Helmet-CAM/EVADE assessment technology, and the continuous personal dust monitor.

hydraulic fracking

Hydraulic Fracking Photo Receives Recognition
A photo of hydraulic fracking taken by NIOSH researcher Barbara Alexander was selected as the 3rd place winner in the 2017 CDC Connects (Internal) Public Health in Action Photo Contest in the category of Domestic Programs. In the photo (right) a cloud of crystalline silica dust is visible as this sand mover operator works at a hydraulic fracturing site. Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica can cause serious respiratory disease. Protection offered by his half-face cartridge respirator may not reduce the hazard sufficiently.


Comment Now On New Draft NORA Agendas

Final NORA Transportation Warehousing and Utilities (TWU) Agenda Now Available
The NORA TWU council has finalized its research agenda after considering public comments and making revisions.

NORA Manufacturing Sector Council Meeting Update
The NORA Manufacturing Sector Council met at the Taft Laboratories in Cincinnati, OH on March 14. The focus of this meeting was to review the Council’s accomplishments to date and to plan future work with potential impact in mind. The 29 attendees were Council members, representing the private sector, labor, universities, agencies, and guest presenters.

If you have any questions, contact the NORA coordinator.

News From Our Partners

New York State is Putting Occupational Health on the Map
A new series of maps are available that allow users to explore occupational health issues at the county level in New York State.  Developed by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Occupational Health Surveillance Program and the NYSDOH Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, these maps show rates of work place fatalities, elevated blood lead levels in adults, work-related hospitalizations, and asbestos and pneumoconiosis hospitalizations. More detailed worker fatality maps provide incident information including type, date, and description. This information may be useful for public health services planning and evaluation.

NIOSH Child Ag Center Featured in National News Publications
A recent New York Times article on farm safety for children features the director of the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS). The online magazine, New Food Economy, also recently featured NCCRAHS’ research on the need for childcare in American agriculture. NCCRAHS is one of 11 NIOSH-funded Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health (Ag Centers). For the latest information on the Ag Centers and NIOSH-funded extramural activities, visit NIOSH Extramural Research and Training Programs.

NIOSH TPG at University of Puerto Rico Assists in Aftermath of Hurricane Maria
Trainees and faculty with the NIOSH Training Project Grant (TPG) at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) are assisting with recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria. UPR faculty and trainees provided training and distributed personal protective equipment to communities and hurricane recovery volunteers. They also provided supplies such as food and water to communities and health care facilities in remote areas of the island. For the latest information on the NIOSH TPGs and NIOSH-funded extramural activities, visit NIOSH Extramural Research and Training Programs.

Impact of Influenza among New Hampshire Healthcare Personnel
A new report from the New Hampshire (NH) Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) aims to better understand the impact of influenza vaccination policies on healthcare providers (HCPs). Through their jobs on the front line, HCPs can both be infected by and transmit influenza to patients and other employees. New Hampshire law requires that each hospital and residential facility offers the seasonal influenza vaccination to employees, but does not require vaccination by employees. Facilities are free to implement their own policies requiring some or all HCPs be vaccinated. The report examines those policies. “Our findings indicate that healthcare facilities need to adopt diverse strategies to increase influenza vaccine rates, in conjunction with a comprehensive infection control and prevention program, including easy access to vaccination on site, over multiple days, and at no cost,” explains Dr. Karla Armenti, Director of NH OHSP. “It is also important to include HCP in the process of developing these strategies as they can provide valuable information and help balance individual workers’ rights with public health interests.”

FACE Reports

Laborer, Pipefitter, and Utility Foreman Crushed by Falling Block Wall—Tennessee
A wind gust caused a block wall failure. The falling block injured a utility foreman and crushed a laborer and pipefitter. The laborer and pipefitter were pronounced dead at the scene, and the utility foreman was taken to a hospital.

School Custodian Struck and Killed by Pick-up Truck on School Grounds While Performing Crossing Guard Duty—Kentucky
A school custodian was preparing to assist with after-school traffic control duties at a high school. After crossing a street to perform cross-guard duties, he abruptly backtracked, stepping into the path of an oncoming pickup truck. The truck bumped him, causing him to fall backwards. He died at a trauma center.

Tree Trimmer Electrocuted While Trimming Tree Away From Power Lines–Kentucky
A tree trimmer, wearing a personal fall arrest harness, was trimming trees along a power line. A limb he was cutting is believed to have made contact with the power line, resulting in a fatal electric shock. The tree trimmer was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Report

Fire Fighter Dies of Heart Attack after Skills Training the Previous Night–New Hampshire
A paid-on-call fire fighter took part in a weekly training drill involving rescue equipment. Upon awakening the next morning at home, the fire fighter felt chest pain, collapsed, and lost consciousness. The fire fighter was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies after Running Out of Air and Becoming Disoriented in Retail Store in Strip Mall Fire–North Carolina
A volunteer fire fighter died while fighting a fire in a commercial strip mall. While operating the nozzle inside the retail store, the fire fighter ran low on air. As he tried to exit the mall, he became disoriented. Rescue crews located and transported him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Volunteer Fire Fighter Struck and Killed by Tanker Backing into the Bay of the Fire Station–Pennsylvania
A volunteer fire fighter died when a tanker struck him. The fire fighter walked toward the rear of the tanker as the tanker driver was backing into the apparatus bay. The driver did not see the fire fighter and backed over him. The fire fighter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Lead Exposures at an Indoor Firing Range
HHE Program investigator found no overexposures to airborne lead, but we did find lead on surfaces and employees’ hands. We recommended increasing the use of a lead removal solution for surface and floor cleaning and lead removal hand wipes to reduce the possible spread of lead contamination. For more information click here.

Ventilation Recommendations provided to a Plastic Bag Manufacturer
Although no chemical and dust overexposures were found, HHE Program investigators recommended moving slot hoods closer to bag-making machines, tightening loose connections between the hood and the exhaust duct, and eliminating sagging and sharp turns in the flexible duct. For more information click here                         

New NIOSH Communication Products

Program Performance One Pagers (PPOPs)

What’s New on the NIOSH Science Blog? Join the Discussion Today!

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory
The notice was posted on March 15. Comments must be received by May 14.

The World Trade Center Health Program: Impact Assessment and Strategic Planning for Translational Research (Focus Group Protocol) – New
The notice was posted on March 15. Comments must be received by May 14.

Draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Musculoskeletal Health
The notice was posted on March 22. Comments must be received by May 21.

Clarification of Post-Approval Testing Standards for Closed-Circuit Escape Respirators; Technical Amendments
The notice was posted on March 22. Comments must be received by May 21.

Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in NJ Healthcare Facilities – Extension
The notice was posted on March 23. Comments must be received within 30 days.

Anthropometric Information on Law Enforcement Officers – New
The notice was posted on March 23. Comments must be received within 30 days.

Assessment of Occupational Injury among Fire Fighters Using a Follow-back Survey – New
The notice was posted on February 13. Comments must be received by April 16.

NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings: Proposed Additions to the NIOSH Hazardous Drug List 2018
The notice was posted on February 14. Comments must be received by April 16.

Law Enforcement Officer Motor Vehicle Crash and Struck-By Fatality Investigations; Notice of Public Meeting; Request for Comments
The notice was posted on January 17. Comments must be received by April 17.

World Trade Center Health Program; Request for Nominations of Scientific Peer Reviewers of Proposed Additions to the List of WTC-related Health Conditions
The notice was posted on March 22, 2017. Nominations must be postmarked or submitted electronically by February 1, 2019.

Call for Abstracts

National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media
Abstracts must be submitted by April 23.

19th International Conference of the International Society for Respiratory Protection
Abstracts must be submitted by April 30.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Regional Education & Research Centers (ERCs) Meeting
April 3–4, Savannah, GA

7th Annual Southeastern States Occupational Network (SouthON) Meeting
April 5–6, Savannah, GA

Kentucky Conference on Health Communication
April 12–14, Lexington, KY

Safe Patient Handling and Mobility/Falls Conference
April 16–20, Orlando, FL

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
April 16–18, Reno, NV

Toxicology and Risk Assessment Conference
April 23–26, Cincinnati, OH

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
April 29–May 2, New Orleans, LA

2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®
May 8–11, Bethesda, MD

International Association of Fire Chiefs, HazMat
June 7–10, Baltimore, MD

Fifth International Fishing Industry Safety and Health Conference (IFISH 5)
June 10–13, St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Association of Infection Control Practitioners
June 13–15, Minneapolis, MN

National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media
September 11–13, Atlanta, GA

19th Conference of the International Society for Respiratory Protection
September 15–20, Denver, CO

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2018
October 16–18, Morgantown, WV

NIOSH provides a comprehensive list of upcoming conferences.

This Month in History

In 1997, NIOSH launched a nationwide program to protect children on farms. In addition to supporting research on the prevalence and circumstances of farm-related injuries and deaths among this group of children, the program raised awareness about safety and health. More information is available: NIOSH Launches National Research Program to Protect Children on Farms From Injury, Death.