NIOSH logo and tagline

New Interagency Collaboration to Focus on Impacts of Shale Gas Drilling


April 23, 2013
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Spring (202)245-0633

Dr. Anthony Cugini, NETL Director and Dr. John Howard, NIOSH Director

On April 22, 2012 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) signed a memorandum of understanding to begin conducting collaborative research related to airborne emissions and exposure assessment at natural gas drilling sites. This research supports NIOSH’s ongoing efforts to address worker health and safety issues in the oil and gas industry.

Under the agreement, NIOSH and NETL plan to share data, quantify risks, and develop control measures on emissions and conduct exposure assessments on emissions coming from natural gas drilling sites. This joint effort will help to bolster the work done by each agency in this area. The research will help in NIOSH’s work to identify potential hazards for the workers in this industry and begin developing recommendations for control technologies.

“As this industry continues to expand, taking the opportunities for our agencies to combine resources and knowledge will assist in ensuring the safe growth of oil and gas in the future,” said NIOSH Director John Howard. “This partnership between NIOSH and NETL is a great opportunity for each agency to share and jointly move forward our scientific efforts to address the risks for both the workers and the environmental impact in the oil and gas industry.”

The collaboration will allow for greater data sharing, coordination for access to drilling sites, hazard identification, and developing methodologies and technologies around the control of emissions. In addition, the information gathered through this collaborative research may result in the development of new engineering controls and recommendations for personal protective equipment for workers.

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about our work visit