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NIOSH eNews – October 2011

Volume 9 Number 6 October 2011


From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH
October eNews 2011

Safety and Health…by Design

I am pleased that the Prevention through Design (PtD) National Initiative continues to gain momentum as it enters its fifth year. NIOSH’s current partners in crafting and advancing this national initiative are the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers, CPWR-the Center for Construction Research and Training, Kaiser Permanente, Liberty Mutual, the National Safety Council, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ORC Worldwide, and the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. We look forward to expanding this distinguished list with additional partners.

PtD embodies the concept of reducing the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses by designing out hazards and minimizing occupational risks throughout the life cycle of work premises, equipment, tools, processes, and products, including their construction, manufacture, use, maintenance, and ultimate disposal or reuse. PtD emphasizes the importance of giving prospective attention to safety and health before blueprints are drawn, a much wiser and much preferred alternative to the time and cost of retroactively correcting a problem, or even worse, to dealing with the consequences once an injury, illness, or death occurs in the workplace.

Like the proverbial ounce of prevention, designing for worker safety and health up front is a wise investment that will repay itself many times over.

As we and our partners plan for the next five years of PtD and beyond, three recent accomplishments this year are worth noting. Each in its own way illustrates the power of PtD as a model for improving occupational safety and health in the 21st century:

  • The American Society of Safety Engineers approved a professional standard for including PtD concepts within an occupational safety and health management system. The consensus standard, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASSE Standard Z590.3, “Prevention through Design: Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes,” can be applied in any occupational setting. Development and publication of this standard was a major goal for NIOSH and partners in the PtD national initiative, since ANSI standards are widely consulted and used as technical templates and guides for safety and health programs and interventions. For additional details, see the news brief in this issue of NIOSH eNews and the NIOSH Science Blog entry by Donna Heidel, coordinator of the PtD National Initiative, for September 22. /niosh/blog/nsb092211_ptd.html.
  • NIOSH and its partners convened the very successful national conference, PtD: A Report on the National Initiative, on August 22–24 in Washington, DC. Plenary and break-out sessions addressed research, practice, education, and policy issues in PtD and featured presentations by diverse leaders in the industry, labor, and research communities. The conference presented an opportunity at the five-year mark to revisit the goals of PtD, assess the progress made since the first national workshop was held in 2007, and identify ongoing needs. We appreciate the hard work by NIOSH staff and their partners in planning and hosting the conference, and we look forward to continued progress that can be highlighted the next time we convene on this scale.
  • Now available from NIOSH, the Summary of the Making Green Jobs Safe Workshop synopsizes the presentations and deliberations from the December 2009 conference on Safe Green Jobs, cosponsored by NIOSH, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Toxicology Program. PtD is a vital concept for America’s “green” industries. As we look to the economic and environmental benefits of developing and using cleaner energy sources and industrial processes, we must ensure that those processes are safe and healthful for the men and women who work in them. This initiative reaffirms the historic ties between the environmental, health, and safety movements that led to cleaner air, cleaner water, and safer workplaces in the last quarter of the 20th century. Looking forward, it advances PtD as a foundational principle for the new industries that will help us to reboot our economy and maintain U.S. leadership in the global markets of the 21st century. The document is available at /niosh/docs/2011-201/.

I want to recognize the leadership of Donna Heidel, Paul Schulte, and others at NIOSH. Their dedication has helped to engage a growing roster of partners, establish clear goals that are simultaneously ambitious and achievable, and achieve major milestones in PtD since 2007. Please visit the PtD topic page at /niosh/topics/PtD/ and—if you haven’t already done so-please consider ways in which you can lend your talents and experience to this 21st century initiative.

Is YOUR respirator NIOSH-approved?

Buying a respirator can be confusing, especially because some facepieces are marketed and advertised as NIOSH-approved when, for a variety of reasons, they have not actually been certified. NIOSH recently launched a new campaign, Know It’s NIOSH, to make it easier to verify NIOSH-certified respirators. Go to and it will redirect you to the NIOSH respirator source Web page that enables you to verify whether or not the product you have is, in reality, NIOSH-approved in addition to providing other useful respirator information.

APHA Film Festival Features NIOSH Black Lung Video

The NIOSH Faces of Black Lung educational video will be featured during the 8th Annual Film Festival at the Annual APHA meeting in Washington, DC. Anita Wolfe, NIOSH public health advisor, will present the film November 1, 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. More information on the film festival is available at To preview the film go to /niosh/docs/video/2008-131/.

Viva La Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional

An article in the September 11 issue of Washington Hispanic, a Washington, DC, newspaper, reports on a partnership between the Consulates of Mexico and CASA de Maryland, a Latino and immigrant service organization, to address the needs of Latino workers in Maryland, including the Washington and Baltimore metro areas. The article quotes Pietra Check, a NIOSH health communications specialist, about the importance of identifying the occupational safety and health needs of the growing Latino worker community and designing appropriate interventions based on language, culture, and gender. “The risks for women are not the same as for men. Their injuries tend to be chronic rather than fatal. In addition, they face additional challenges because they are women, such as sexual harassment or discrimination because of reproductive health.” NIOSH partners with the Mexican Embassy and several consulates on research and outreach to help keep Latino workers safe on the job. The Spanish version of the article is posted online at

John Howard to Keynote Risk Assessment Symposium

NIOSH Director John Howard will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Risk Assessment Symposium-Converging Risk Analysis, Management, and Perception, November 3–4, in Baltimore, Maryland (preceding the Professional Conference of Industrial Hygiene). The symposium is designed to provide participants with a combination of global and local perspectives on important drivers to risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication and how to make a greater impact in solving complex problems. More information is available at

Nail Gun Safety: A New Resource

NIOSH and OSHA are pleased to announce the release of Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors. While nail guns may boost productivity, they also cause tens of thousands of painful injuries each year. This new publication is intended to provide a resource for residential home builders and construction contractors, subcontractors, supervisors, and workers to prevent these kinds of injuries. This is one of several NIOSH/OSHA collaborative publications. /niosh/docs/2011-202/

Building Western State Occupational Safety and Health Capacity

The 4th annual Western States Occupational Network (WestON) meeting was held last month in Denver, Colorado. State occupational safety and health professionals (OSH) throughout the western United States met to network, share best practices, exchange information, and build OSH capacity. Representatives from nearly all western states participated and interacted with representatives from NIOSH, NIOSH Education and Research Centers, NIOSH Agricultural Centers and OSHA. Presentations can be accessed at
. For more information on this meeting, please contact Yvonne Boudreau (

WTC Health Program Updates

Conference Looks at Lessons Learned and Future Directions

On September 16th, NIOSH and the World Trade Center Health Program participated in the conference, Protecting Worker and Community Health: Are We Prepared for the Next 9/11? hosted by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). The conference looked at lessons learned, what steps have been taken to prevent such occupational and environmental health consequences in future catastrophes, and what still needs to be done to ensure harm can be minimized in future disaster response efforts. For more information about the conference or NYCOSH go to

NIOSH Congratulates….

NIOSH Recipients of Annual HHSinnovates Award…
Researchers from the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health (OMSHR) received an HHSinnovates Award for their work to develop a light-emitting diode cap lamp for miners. The research behind this new lamp will benefit the safety of miners in the United States and around the world, has applications for workers in other industries who rely on personal lighting, and could potentially impact emergency lighting standards. Winners are key contributors John Sammarco, Timothy Matty, Miguel Reyes, Timothy Lutz, Sean Gallagher, and Grant King, and supporting contributors are Alan Mayton, Justin Srednicki, Mary Ellen Nelson, Albert Cook, all of NIOSH OMSHR, and Thomas Verghese of EnerSys Mining and Special Batteries. More information is available at

Nancy Romano, CDC Employee of the Month…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Nancy Romano, NIOSH safety and occupational health specialist, as September employee of the month in recognition of her commitment to performing high-quality work that improves the safety of the nation’s workers. Nancy who has been with NIOSH for 12 years works with the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program, a research program designed to identify and study fatal occupational injuries.

News from Our Partners

ASSE Announces Approval of Groundbreaking PtD Standard

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently announced the approval of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASSE Z590.3 standard, “Prevention through Design: Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes.” This new standard provides guidance on including prevention through design concepts within an occupational safety and health management system, and can be applied in any occupational setting. The standard will be available soon in print and electronically. For more information, please contact ASSE Customer Service at 847-699-2929 or

Analysis of Low-Back-Pain Disorders in Louisiana

Occupationally related low-back-pain disorders that require surgery are of public health importance as this process can be invasive, requires rehabilitation, and has an economical burden. Surgical hospitalizations accounted for 83% of all work-related hospitalizations involving low-back-pain disorders among Louisiana workers. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals recently added low-back-pain disorders to the list of occupational health indicators routinely tracked. Eleven years of data were analyzed to examine surgical low-back-pain disorders among Louisiana’s workforce. For the complete report on surgical low-back-pain disorders in Louisiana go to

New Massachusetts Guide Promotes Safer Jobs in Cooperative Education

The Teens at Work Project at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released Safe Jobs for Youth Guide this summer. The guide is designed to assist cooperative education placement coordinators in assessing the safety and health of potential worksites for vocational students. The guide discusses relevant federal/state laws and steps to take before and after placing a student and it includes supplementary tools and resources. The guide is available at Click on ‘Educational Materials’ then ‘Safe Jobs for Youth Guide.’

North Carolina Adds Occupational Health Objective to Statewide Public Health Objectives

Every 10 years, North Carolina sets health objectives with the goal of making NC a healthier state. Healthy North Carolina 2020 was released earlier this year, and for the first time it includes the objective to “reduce the mortality from work-related injuries.” In May, the Healthy NC 2020 Technical Report was released, which provides details on the objective and the rationale behind the objective. The inclusion of this objective is a result of input from the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, which voiced the importance of including an objective related to occupational health. The technical report is available at

Interns Create Silica Awareness Video

During the summer of 2011, AOEC Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) interns Michelle Santizo and Cassandra Porchas developed a video Don’t Let Silica Dust You! to increase awareness of silica dust issues and controls. Through funding from NIOSH, the California Department of Public Health, and other partners, Santizo and Porchas worked with San Francisco Bay Area Bricklayers and Roofers Unions, along with their apprentice programs and contractors, to produce this video that describes the usage of controls and identifies some of the enablers and barriers toward achieving greater usage. The video is available at For more information on OHIP go to

New Health Hazard Evaluation Reports Now Available

HHE logo Evaluation of Chemical Exposures at an Electrical Connector Manufacturer

HHE Program investigators evaluated the potential for exposure to chemicals at an electrical connector manufacturer and found that exposures to toluene, ethanol, and isopropanol were well below occupational exposure limits. Investigators did note that the local exhaust ventilation was not always effective in controlling nuisance odors in the gluing and oven curing area, therefore improvements were recommended. HHE Program investigators also recommended the addition of local exhaust ventilation in the shell dipping area to reduce isopropanol nuisance odors. Investigators encouraged employees to keep glue and isopropanol lubricants off their skin.

Heat Stress and Strain Evaluation Among Aluminum Potroom Employees

HHE Program investigators evaluated hot working conditions in the potroom at an aluminum smelter. The company had a comprehensive heat stress management program, but investigators found that it was not being followed at all times. Most of the tasks that were monitored exceeded the limits for working in a hot environment and most employees who were monitored had signs of heat strain. Investigators recommended that managers reduce the physical demands on employees working in the potrooms and install cooling recovery areas. Employees were encouraged to use heat reflective personal protective equipment and take the time to work safely. In addition, 8-hour overtime shifts should be stopped during extremely hot weather. /niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2006-0307-3139.pdf

New Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program Reports Now Available

Worker Dies When a Tree Falls Onto the Hydraulic Excavator He Was Operating

Failure to consider and prepare for the environmental conditions of the work area, such as wet and unstable soil, shallow root system of the trees to be felled, and wind speeds that may hamper the hydraulic excavator operator’s ability to control the direction the tree will fall were among the factors that contributed to the death of the Hispanic worker.

Solid Waste Compost Facility Worker Dies

The lack of procedures that place workers-on-foot near moving equipment, unguarded floor openings, limited communication and visual contact with mobile equipment operators, and working conditions that may include high concentrations of toxic gases and high temperatures were factors that contributed to the death of a compost facility worker.

Dump Truck at a Nighttime Highway Work Zone Construction Site Backs Over Laborer

Failure in having an internal traffic control plan, no backing protocols or signalers to direct backing vehicles, the lack of communication, work zones improperly illuminated, no buddy system, no policies that prohibit nonworkers from riding in vehicles/equipment, no monitoring technology on vehicles and equipment to assist operators, and the workers not having completed the OSHA 10-hour training were factors that contributed to the death of the worker.

New Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports Available

Seven Career Fire Fighters Injured at a Metal Recycling Facility Fire

The lack of knowing the building contents and the unrecognized presence of combustible metals, the use of traditional fire suppression tactics (direct water application to a burning combustible metal), and the darkness were some of the factors in this incident that ultimately led to seven career fire fighters being injured and the damage to apparatus and equipment.

Volunteer Firefighter Runs Low on Air and Dies While Exiting a Commercial Structure

NIOSH investigators determined that the following factors may have contributed to the deaths of two career fire fighters and the injuries of 19 other fire fighters: no abandoned/ hazardous building marking program, no vacant/hazardous building information as part of an automatic dispatch system, the dilapidated condition of the structure, a dispatch that occurred during shift change that resulted in fragmented crews, weather conditions including snow accumulation on the roof and frozen water hydrants, and not all fire fighters were equipped with radios. /niosh/fire/reports/face201038.html

Fire Fighter Trainee Suffers Cardiac Death During Maze Training

The career fire fighter trainee’s underlying cardiomyopathy coupled with the physical exertion involved in performing the fire fighter training triggered his sudden cardiac death. /niosh/fire/reports/face201108.html

r2p Corner

r2p logo Web-based First Responders Tool for Chemical Hazards

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) is a web-based resource developed to help first responders and other healthcare providers and planners to plan for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of mass-casualty incidents involving unintentional or terrorist chemical releases. CHEMM was produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, in cooperation with NIOSH and other partners. CHEMM is available on the Web or downloadable in advance if the internet becomes inaccessible during an event ( For more information, contact Scott Dotson at (513) 533-8540 or

What’s new on the NIOSH Science Blog?

Prevention Through Design—Tell Us Your Ideas

As discussed in this month’s “Director’s Desk,” many efforts are going on that we hope will bring a renewed interest in Prevention through Design. In this month’s “NIOSH Science Blog” we want to hear from you on this topic and your ideas on where redesign could lead to safer work environments and cost savings in your industry? /niosh/blog/nsb092211_ptd.html

Don’t Let The Bed Bug’s Bite

Join our conversation on bed bugs and learn more about NIOSH recommendations on effective bed bug management. /niosh/blog/nsb092911_bedbugs.html

Federal Register Notices

A list of NIOSH official publications for rules, proposed rules, and notices for 2011 is available at /niosh/fedreg.html.

New Communication Products

Summary of the Making Green Jobs Safe Workshop

A synopsis of discussions from the workshop on the occupational hazards and risks associated with green jobs and determining how to emphasize that green jobs should be safe and healthy for workers. /niosh/docs/2011-201/

Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology

A story of impact highlighting a new document that provides guidance to protect nanotechnology workers. /niosh/docs/2011-206/

Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors

A new resource for residential home builders and construction contractors, subcontractors, supervisors, and workers to prevent the kinds of injuries associated with nail guns. /niosh/docs/2011-202/

Mining Facts

Tech News on the Development of New Methods and Systems to Increase Mine Safety

  • Field Use Round Determinate Panel Test System
  • Field-Expedient Shotcrete Adhesion Test System
  • Field-Use Early-Strength Shotcrete Test System

Demands on the Knee During Kneeling and Squatting Activities Common to Low-seam Mining

Practical Demonstrations of Ergonomic Principles

Mining Facts

  • Mining Facts
  • Stone Operator
  • Coal and Metal/nonmetal
  • Sand and Gravel Operator
  • Underground Surface
  • Noncoal Contractor
  • Coal Contractor
  • Nonmetal Operator
  • Metal Operator
  • Coal Operator


A full list of all new NIOSH communication products is available at /niosh/whatsnew/

Call for Papers

XXXth International Symposium of the ISSA Construction Section on Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction Industry
Call for papers. Deadline for submission is January 15, 2012.

Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

9th Annual Safety and Industrial Supply Expo Conference and Training—Look for us!
October 6, Pittsburgh, PA

2011 TRAM/National Mine Instructors Seminar—Look for us!
October 11–13, Beaver, WV

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)
October 18-20, Morgantown, WV

International Association of Chiefs of Police—Look for us!
October 22–26, Chicago, IL

2011 SME/PCMIA Annual Joint Meeting—Look for us!
October 27–28, Canonsburg, PA

American Public Health Association (APHA) 139th Annual Meeting and
October 29-November 2, Washington, DC

National Safety Council 2011 Congress & Expo—Look for us!
October 30–November 4, Philadelphia, PA

Risk Assessment Symposium—Converging Risk Analysis, Management, and Perception
November 3–4, Baltimore, Maryland

5th International Entertainment Education Conference (EE5)
November 17–20, New Delhi

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at /niosh/exhibits.html.

Word of the Month

HHSinnovates — The HHSinnovates program was created by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to celebrate innovation by employees of HHS. The program is aimed at building a culture of innovation at HHS through facilitating the exchange of innovative ideas throughout the Department. Each year awards are given by to projects within HHS that meet the criteria. The award HHS not only to recognizes and rewards good ideas but also helps to promote them across the Department.

Please send your comments and suggestions to us at

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.