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Scientists Convene for NIOSH National Symposium on Occupational Injury Prevention

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 260-8519
October 15, 1997

More than 300 scientists and engineers from industry, labor, government, and academia convened Oct. 15 for a three-day national conference in Morgantown, W.Va., on new research for the prevention of work-related injuries. The National Occupational Injury Research Symposium was sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in association with 11 professional societies, academic institutions, and organizations..

Participants exchanged latest findings and discussed opportunities for future studies in a wide range of industries. Focus of presentations ranged from research needs for job injury prevention in traditional industries such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction, to emerging areas involving working adolescents and other special employee populations at risk, workplace violence, injuries in the expanding health-care and service sectors, improvements in injury surveillance, and new applications of advanced technologies.

“Job safety research is more diverse, innovative, and forward-looking than ever before,” said NIOSH Director Linda Rosenstock, M.D., M.P.H. “The studies discussed at this conference are producing significant new tools for injury prevention in every kind of workplace, from mines and construction sites to retail stores and hospitals.”

Among other topics, presentations at the symposium from NIOSH researchers and others addressed:

  • Development and application of new computer programs and other high-tech tools to protect miners from unstable ground, dust, and other job hazards.
  • Differences between men and women in types and sources of work-related injuries in the West Virginia work force.
  • Risks of fatal injury among self-employed workers.
  • Findings and recommendations from a survey of teenage workers about safety in their jobs.
  • Injury risks for health-care providers, including work-related assaults against nurses and post-traumatic stress in emergency responders.
  • Preventing fatalities and injuries in highway work zones.
  • Risk factors for work-related violence in convenience stores and liquor stores.
  • Using death certificates, ER records, and other sources for better identifying high-risk jobs for earlier, more effective injury prevention.

The symposium is an outgrowth of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), which identifies traumatic injuries as one of 21 areas where new research will be most urgently needed over the coming decade for protecting worker health and safety. The national agenda was developed by NIOSH last year with extensive public input and stakeholder involvement.

Each year, occupational injuries claim more than 6,000 lives, account for some two million non-fatal cases involving lost work time, and drain an estimated $121 billion from the U.S. economy.

Co-sponsors with NIOSH for the national symposium were the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Center to Protect Workers Rights, Harvard University School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Liberty Mutual Research Center for Safety and Health, the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Studies in the Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health, the National Safety Council, and the University of Iowa Institute for Rural and Environmental Health. The conference was held at NIOSH’s Appalachian Laboratories for Occupational Safety and Health.

For further information about the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, the National Occupational Research Agenda, and NIOSH occupational injury prevention research, call the toll-free NIOSH information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) or visit the NIOSH Homepage at