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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the U.S. federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent worker injury and illness.

NIOSH research is key to these efforts and provides practical solutions to identified problems. The Institute’s work in this area protects the safety and health of the nation's 155 million workers. NIOSH provides the only dedicated federal investment for research needed to prevent the societal cost of work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses in the United States, estimated in 2007 at $250 billion in medical costs and productivity losses alone . These safety and health risks take huge tolls on workers, their families, businesses, communities, and the nation’s economy; NIOSH works to promote a healthy, safe and capable workforce that can rise to the challenges of the 21st Century.


NIOSH produces new scientific knowledge and provides practical solutions vital to reducing risks of injury and death in traditional industries, such as agriculture, construction, and mining. NIOSH also supports research to predict, prevent, and address emerging problems that arise from dramatic changes in the 21st Century workplace and workforce. NIOSH partners with diverse stakeholders to study how worker injuries, illnesses, and deaths occur. NIOSH scientists design, conduct, and support targeted research, both inside and outside the institute, and support the training of occupational health and safety professionals to build capacity and meet increasing needs for a new generation of skilled practitioners. NIOSH and its partners support U.S. economic strength and growth by moving research into practice through concrete and practical solutions, recommendations, and interventions for the building of a healthy, safe and capable workforce.


The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established NIOSH. NIOSH partners with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, and it develops and enforces workplace safety and health regulations. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It has the mandate of helping to assure “every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.”

NIOSH has more than 1,200 employees from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and many branches of engineering.

A link to milestones in NIOSH history can be found at


Headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia, NIOSH has research labs and offices in Anchorage, Alaska; Cincinnati, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Spokane, Washington. Click here for a directory of NIOSH Divisions, Laboratories and Offices and Key Personnel.

  map of United States with NIOSH locations highlighted

Research Programs

To view a list of NIOSH Programs and learn more about them go to

Protecting Those Who Serve

Fire Fighters:  The United States depends on approximately 1.1 million career and volunteer fire fighters to protect its citizens and property from fire losses. Every year, about 100 U.S. fire fighters die in the line of duty. NIOSH investigates many of these incidents and develops recommendations to prevent similar fire fighter deaths. NIOSH's Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program has made over 1,000 recommendations arising from over 500 investigations since its inception in 1998.

Energy Workers:  NIOSH conducts an occupational energy research program to more fully understand radiation cancer risk factors in radiation exposed workers and to recommend improved protective measures. NIOSH is also responsible for determining occupational radiation exposure for workers with cancer who are eligible for compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Com¬pensation Program Act of 2000. NIOSH’s dose reconstructions are used by the U.S. Department of Labor to determine the probability that a worker's cancer was "at least as likely as not" caused by his or her occupational exposure to ionizing radiation during employment at a covered facility and to award compensation benefits.

Emergency Responders: The mission of the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Office (EPRO) is to protect the health and safety of emergency response providers and recovery workers, through the advancement of research and collaborations, to prevent diseases, injuries, and fatalities in anticipation of, and during responses to natural and man-made disasters and novel emergent events. The nation depends on emergency responders to preserve the public's safety and health when disasters strike. To successfully meet this challenge, emergency responders must be protected from the hazardous conditions that disasters and other emergencies create. A plan for monitoring emergency responder health and safety is an important part of protecting them. Recognizing this, NIOSH worked with the U.S. National Response Team (NRT), and a number of federal agencies, state health departments, labor unions, and volunteer emergency responder groups to develop the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS) system. The ERHMS provides best practice guidelines for protecting emergency responders over a full range of emergency types and settings. The ERHMS consists of an NRT Technical Assistance Document and A Guide for Key Decision Makers and these documents can be accessed at: The NIOSH Emergency Responders Resource page can also be accessed at

The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL): NPPTL was established at the NIOSH Pittsburgh site to provide leadership for the prevention of injury and illness among workers who must rely on personal protective equipment, including respirators, gloves, and hard hats. NPPTL's strategic research program will ensure that the development of new personal protective equipment will meet real needs as work settings, technologies, and worker populations’ change and new threats emerge.

Building Capacity for the Future

Developing and supporting a new generation of researchers and practitioners is critical to the future of occupa¬tional safety and health. NIOSH funds programs to support occupational safety and health research and education through 18 regional university-based Education and Research Centers; 10 Agricultural Disease and Injury Research, Education, and Prevention Centers; and 28 Training Project Grants that train occupational health professionals and researchers to help meet the increasing demand for occupational physicians, occupational nurses, industrial hygienists and safety professionals. The NIOSH-supported Centers also conduct research and prevention projects to address the Nation’s occupational health and safety problems.  

State Activities

As part of its mission, NIOSH operates programs in every state to improve the health and safety of workers. As part of these State Activities, NIOSH:

  • Evaluates workplace hazards and recommends solutions when requested by employers, workers, or state or federal agencies;
  • Builds State worker safety and health capacity through grants and cooperative agreements;
  • Funds occupational safety and health research on a wide variety of topics at universities and other organizations;
  • Supports occupational safety and health training programs. For more information on state programs see the NIOSH state activities page.

NIOSH Information and Resources

NIOSH Topic pages: Collections of occupational safety and health information arranged by subject.

CDC/NIOSH Publications: Access all NIOSH numbered publications by date and type. To order NIOSH numbered publications go to or call 1-800-CDC-INFO

Databases: These include the International Chemical Safety Cards, the Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, NIOSHTIC-2, and many more.

Extramural Programs and Funding Opportunities: Grants, and cooperative agreements for research and training, etc. Social Media

NIOSH also shares new information and activities through social media tools like blogs and electronic newsletters, as well as sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

Data Sharing and Privacy

CDC/ATSDR Policy on Releasing and Sharing Data: ensures that NIOSH routinely provides data to its partners for appropriate public health purposes and that all data are released and/or shared as soon as feasible without compromising privacy concerns, federal and state confidentiality concerns, proprietary interests, national security interests, or law enforcement activities.

CDC Privacy Rules: NIOSH complies with the CDC Privacy Rule. These regulations provide protection for the privacy of certain individually identifiable health data.

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  • Page last reviewed: July 26, 2013
  • Page last updated: July 26, 2013 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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