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CDC Highlights Research Success in National Symposium


NIOSH Update:

Contact: NIOSH Media Relations 202-401-3749
April 18, 2006

More than 400 industry, worker, safety, and health leaders are meeting in Washington, D.C. today to share research on future prevention initiatives of work-related injuries and illness and to celebrate the first decade of success of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with the National Safety Council, brought the experts together for the NORA Symposium 2006. The three-day symposium will launch the second decade of the national research agenda, and honor NORA partnerships that have made workplaces safer, healthier, and more secure.

“Safe and healthy workplaces make our communities better and give our businesses a competitive edge in the international marketplace,” CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said. “Innovative research is essential for maintaining that edge And as today’s symposium demonstrates, the nation’s catalyst for this research is NORA.”

The design of NORA’s second decade is being developed by NIOSH and its partners. So far, NIOSH has held 12 town hall meetings across the United States that drew some 1,200 participants. The plan for the next 10 years will design partnerships around eight industry sector groups: agriculture, forestry and fishing; mining; construction; manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade; transportation, warehousing, utilities services, healthcare and social assistance. “These extraordinary partnerships serve as a model for other organizations and enable us to continue to meet the public health challenges of the workplace today and in the future,” said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard.

The first decade stimulated numerous successful research partnerships, including three collaborations that will be recognized with awards at the symposium:

  • Innovative Research Award for Worker Health and Safety
    Researchers from Wake Forest University developed a resource safety manual to alert the growing Hispanic farm worker population, and their health-care providers, to the risk of “green tobacco sickness” – an acute poisoning from skin absorption of nicotine in handling uncured tobacco – and to offer precautions for reducing exposures.
  • Partnering Award for Worker Health and Safety
    NORA research partners developed a full-service best practices program to reduce worker’s compensation costs by 25 percent for employee slips, trips and falls in hospitals owned by BJC Health Care, a national hospital network. According to recent data, these injuries account for the largest proportion of lost-work-time injuries in healthcare, and are more prevalent in hospitals than in private industry. The researcher’s findings lead to the development of employee safety training curriculum that has a focus on slip-resistant footwear and flooring.
  • Partnering Award for Worker Health and Safety
    NORA researchers documented potential health risks from occupational exposures to potent drugs used in cancer treatment and developed recommendations for preventing such exposures. Although these drugs have benefits for patients when used in controlled conditions, occupational exposures have been associated with risks for potential reproductive and carcinogenic effects in healthcare employees. The recommendations involve interventions such as establishment of restricted work areas, prudent clean-up procedures and minimizing the risk of unintended exposure of other employees.

NORA was developed by NIOSH and a diverse group of partners in 1996 as a strategic plan for designing and conducting new collaborative research that would do the most to reduce occupational injuries, illnesses, and deaths over the next 10 years.

For more information about NIOSH and NORA, call the toll-free NIOSH information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674), or visit the NORA web site:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.