Volume 2 Number 9 January 2005
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Strategic Plan Notes Key NIOSH Role
NIOSH and ASSE Renew Partnership
Youth Employment Rules from the U.S. Department of Labor
and Nonfatal Injuries from Wood Chippers
Approaches for 2005 ACTE Safety Competition Submissions
Deputy Director Named
NIOSH-Funded Study Reveals Multidrug Resistant Bacteria at Swine Feeding Facilities
NIOSH-Funded Survey Elicits Safety Views from Alaska Pilots, Operators
NIOSH Standards Development Process Presented to Global Partners
NIOSH Researches the Human Cough
Two NIOSH Employees Named Federal Engineer of the Year
Look for us
John Henshaw departs Occupational Safety and Health Administration
|Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals-2005|
a Milestone in Mine Health and Safety
A year before Congress passed the 1970 legislation, it enacted the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. Building on previous laws and policies, the 1969 Act established a strategic federal program to prevent work-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths in coal mining. Research, an important component of the program, was entrusted to agencies that later were incorporated into NIOSH. As 1970 began, those agencies geared up to meet their mandate under the new law.
From those beginnings 35 years ago, great advancements in coal mine safety and health occurred. Many programs and practices now regarded as everyday features in underground coal mining – from roof bolting for securing overhead rock, to nationwide monitoring of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis or black lung disease – were stimulated by the 1969 law.
We at NIOSH are gratified that coal mining has become significantly safer, and that this progress is due in part to our research and that of our forerunners. Three factors have contributed to that success, thanks to the hard work and vision of NIOSH staff and their diverse partners:
accomplishments in the 35 years since enactment of the 1969 law can
be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/surveillance/ords/CoalMineHealthSafetyAct35Years.html.
Although the U.S. has made significant progress in reducing injuries,
illnesses, and deaths in coal mining, more remains to be done. NIOSH
continues to keep pace with the safety and health needs of this industry
as it and we enter the 21 st Century.
NIOSH’s key role in conducting and partnering in research on occupational exposures to nanomaterials is noted in a new strategic plan under the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the interagency consortium overseeing the federal government’s widespread nanotechnology activities. The National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan: December 2004 charts the vision, goals, and plans by which NIOSH and partner agencies will work to expedite the responsible advancement of nanotechnology over the next 5 to 10 years, and to ensure that the U.S. will remain a world leader in nanotechnology research and development.
is advancing research to better understand the ways in which people may
be exposed to nanoparticles in the production and use of nanomaterials,
and whether those exposures may result in health effects. In
the interim, as the new strategic plan notes, NIOSH plans to issue recommendations
in 2005 on “safe working practices when producing and handling nanoscale
materials.” The strategic plan is available at http://www.nano.gov/NNI_Strategic_Plan_2004.pdf.
More information on NIOSH’s research program is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nanotech.
|NIOSH and ASSE Renew Partnership|
On December 17, 2004, NIOSH and the American Society
of Safety Engineers (ASSE) signed an agreement extending their formal
partnership to improve workplace safety and health in the U.S. NIOSH
and ASSE pledge continued collaboration to provide outreach, communication
and professional development opportunities, and to facilitate the
transfer and use of effective workplace injury prevention measures.
The original agreement established a one-year formal partnership. The
new agreement extends the partnership for an additional three years,
demonstrating that NIOSH and ASSE have been pleased with the results
of their collaboration. For example, as a result of the initial
agreement signed on October 23, 2003, ASSE members
participated in the NIOSH Steps to a HealtherUS Workforce Symposium held
earlier this year, and ASSE has appointed a NIOSH representative
to serve on the ASSE Foundation Research Subcommittee that reviews
and recommends research proposals for funding by the Foundation.
More information on the agreement can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-12-17-04.html.
On December 16, 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor published final regulations in the Federal Register changing some employment rules for youth ages 14-17. The rules become effective February 14, 2005. The changes include:
NIOSH played a critical role in the revised regulations including providing comments and recommendations on the proposed changes, epidemiological data, statistics and fatality investigation findings to the Department of Labor. The rule change was considered by the Office of Management and Budget as a “significant regulatory action” with NIOSH research and findings cited among the justifications for the rule changes. The final rules can be accessed on the Federal Register at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
of this rule is part of the Department of Labor’s
ongoing efforts to promote positive, safe work experiences for youth,
while ensuring necessary and effective safety protections. As
part of this ongoing rule, the Department of Labor contracted with
NIOSH to review available data and make recommendations for changes
to regulations that prohibit 16- and 17-year olds from performing especially
hazardous work. NIOSH provided DOL with these recommendations
in 2002: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/NIOSHRecsDOLHaz/.
This rule substantially incorporates four of the NIOSH report recommendations. The
Department of Labor continues to consider additional recommendations
in the NIOSH report.
1992-2002, 31 occupational injury deaths were attributable to mobile
wood chippers, according to the December 10 issue of CDC’s Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Data for the analysis came from
the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational
Injuries. Between 1992 and 2001, roughly 2,042 nonfatal injuries
resulted from working with the chippers, an average of 204 per year,
according to data from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
Mobile wood chippers shred branches and tree trimmings into mulch through
rotating blades and therefore, pose potential dangers to operators who
can become caught in the feed mechanism and pulled into the rotating
chipper knives or struck by the hood of the machine. The full MMWR citation
can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5348a2.htm.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), a NIOSH partner since 1997, described NIOSH as the Nation's premier occupational safety and health institute in the October 2004 issue of their official trade magazine, Techniques, http://www.acteonline.org/members/techniques/oct04_dept3.cfm. The article highlighted NIOSH educational grants, the free publications, the new school safety CD-ROM NIOSH Safety Checklist Program for Schools, and the national safety competition among teachers in vocational-technical education.
The article included
information about the upcoming 2005 safety competition and its criteria http://www.acteonline.org/about/awards/awards-niosh.cfm.
The deadline for the call for papers is January 26, 2005 . The winning
entry will be selected by a judging committee from the NIOSH Education
and Information Division on February 11, 2005. The award will be presented
at ACTE's National Policy Seminar on March 6–8, 2005.
Larry Reed has accepted
the position of Deputy Director for the NIOSH Division of Surveillance,
Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies (DSHEFS). Larry has a wealth of
experience at NIOSH beginning in 1977 when he began work as a Research
Industrial Engineer in the former Division of Physical Sciences and
Engineering. From 1981 to the present, Larry has held research, policy,
and management positions in several NIOSH Divisions including DSHEFS,
the Division of Safety Research, the Division of Applied Research and
Technology and the former Division of Biomedical and Behavioral Science.
He will begin his new position effective January 3.
from a NIOSH Education Research Center funded study reveal the potential
for exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria from breathing the air from concentrated
swine feeding facilities. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of
Public Health detected bacteria resistant to at least two antibiotics in air
samples collected from inside a large-scale swine operation in the Mid-Atlantic
region of the U.S. The study increased understanding of pathways in which humans
could be exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Workers at the swine-feeding
facilities are at greatest risk for airborne exposure to the bacteria and may
become reservoirs for the drug-resistant bacteria that could be spread to their
family and community. Additionally, the study raises questions concerning the
spread via ventilation fans and by the application of manure from feeding operations
to off-site fields. The article is published in the online edition of Environmental
Health Perspectives and can be accessed by http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2004/7473/abstract.html.
Alaska air commuter and air taxi operators and pilots, in a survey funded by NIOSH, generally agreed that better weather information and more training on regional air hazards would help prevent crashes in their high-hazard industry. The survey was part of NIOSH’s ongoing partnership with employers, employees, and other groups to reduce work-related fatalities and injuries in aviation and other Alaskan industries. Aviation crashes are a leading cause of occupational fatalities in Alaska.
reported the results of the survey as “Alaska Air Carrier Operator
and Pilot Safety Practices and Attitudes: A Statewide Survey,” in
the November 2004 issue of Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine,
Vol. 75, No. 11, pp. 984-991. Further information on the findings
is available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-12-7-04.html.
More information on NIOSH research and partnerships to prevent job-related
deaths and injuries in Alaskan aviation, including results of studies and
recommendations for improving safety, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/injury/traumaaviation.html.
from the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL)
participated in the 12th International Conference of the
International Society of Respiratory Protection (ISRP) held in Yokohama,
Japan on November 8-12. The conference, Respiratory Protection
of Workers and Citizens, was organized by the Asian Section of
the ISRP. NPPTL Director Rich Metzler presented the keynote address
on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) respirator
standards development in the U.S. highlighting the NIOSH process for
developing standards for powered air purifying respirators, self-contained
breathing apparatus, self-contained escape respirators and air-purifying
escape respirators. Bill Newcomb discussed total inward leakage and
summarized the assigned protector factors proposed by the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration. Ziqing Zhuang described facial anthropometrics
and John Kovac presented standards concepts for respirators and breathing
apparatus used to protect emergency responders. During the conference,
Rich Metzler, former ISRP President, received the Revoir Award for
his contributions to the society.
NIOSH researchers are developing an innovative cough recording machine. They are conducting tests to determine whether the computerized device will detect work related lung disorders by recognizing differences in human coughs.
When someone coughs
into the machine, the sound pressure wave and airflow patterns are
recorded. Based on these measurements, several cough parameters are
calculated and the difference between parameters of normal subjects
and subjects with lung disorders are used to train a computerized system
called a neural network classifier. The trained classifier can then
be used to distinguish between newly tested normal subjects and subjects
with lung disease. The system is currently scheduled to be evaluated
as a new method for detecting lung disease in the workplace. For further
information on this ongoing research, contact Jeremy Day, NIOSH Health
Effects Laboratory Division, at JDay2@cdc.gov.
Two NIOSH engineers are recipients of the 2005 Federal Engineer of the Year award presented by the Professional Engineers in Government, a division of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Jeff Whyatt and Cherie Estill are being recognized for their achievements and accomplishments. Jeff Whyatt’s contribution in mining engineering has earned him the honor of engineer of the year in the category of Civil Servant. Mr. Whyatt is a mining engineer at the Spokane Research Laboratory (SRL). He has improved engineering of mine structural safety, extending engineering techniques from engineered to natural materials. Furthermore, he has made significant contributions to engineering of mines for stability and safe operation, meanwhile devoting time to support education of current and future engineers at all levels. Mr. Whyatt received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Idaho and he received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
expertise in the engineering field has earned her recognition as engineer
of the year in the category of Commissioned Officer of the U.S. Public
Health Service. CDR Estill is co-chair for NIOSH Human Subject Review
Board comprised of 16 individuals who are internal employees and local
citizens. She leads the project, “Improved Environmental
Exposures Sampling Methods for Bioterrorism Response.” Mrs. Estill
reviews research studies and gives her expertise on programs. Mrs. Estill
received her B.S. in Industrial engineering at Purdue University and
received her M.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Stop by and chat with the NIOSH staff at the NIOSH Exhibit Booth at these upcoming conferences.
Henshaw, Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA), announced his resignation from the agency on
December 8, 2004. During his administration, OSHA
extended programs in enforcement, outreach and education and compliance
assistance to reduce the number of work-related fatalities, injuries
and illnesses. The agency created hundreds of alliances and partnerships
with business, labor and community groups to advance safety and health
including more than 1,100 sites in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program,
more than 200 Strategic Partnerships Program sites and nearly 200 Alliances. Mr.
Henshaw has worked closely with NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard to strengthen
the relationship between the two agencies. Working together, Mr.
Henshaw and Dr. Howard established the OSHA-NIOSH Issues Exchange Group to
foster greater working collaborations between the two agencies. "I
am grateful to Mr. Henshaw for supporting NIOSH-OSHA collaborations
and I wish him much success with the next chapter of his distinguished
career in occupational safety and health," said Dr. Howard. Upon
Mr. Henshaw’s departure on December 31, 2004, Jonathan Snare assumed
the duties of Acting Assistant Secretary for OSHA. The OSHA Press
Release can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=11155.
on Women’s Health and Safety
Mine Rescue and Response - Technologies
Improved technologies for mine emergency responders are also being identified and evaluated. The technologies include chemical lightshapes, light vests, strobe lights, laser pointers, lifelines, wheeled stretchers, and thermal imaging cameras. These devices were shown to enhance the effectiveness and safety of mine rescue teams and evacuating miners in dark and smoke-filled passageways during realistic rescue and evacuation simulations at the NIOSH Lake Lynn Laboratory Mine and operating mines. Several mine rescue teams and coal mine operators have adopted the technologies.
Technology to enhance communications during mine emergencies has also been developed. When a rescue team explores complex underground passageways such as found in mines, a lifeline and reliable communication system are essential. Previous communication technology was based on a sound powered phone system that provided communication from only one team member to one other location, the underground fresh air base. Communication between team members required shouting through the breathing apparatus face pieces. NIOSH and Transtek, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA, collaborated in the development and evaluation of the Ron Conti Res-Q-Com System. This system is named after Ron S. Conti (deceased) to pay tribute to the NIOSH researcher who led its development. The Res-Q-Com is a self-contained, portable battery operated system that provides voice communication and a lifeline for rescue teams, such as those called out for an underground mine emergency. It is now commercially available.
These technologies have also
been highlighted in the September 8 and September 15, 2003 issues of International
The Res-Q-Com system was highlighted in the December 19, 2003 issue
Longwall News. For more information contact Charles Lazzara at CLazzara@cdc.gov.
Solutions: Preventing Injuries when Working with Ride-On Roller/Compactors
International Beryllium Research Symposium-Be2005
International Conference on Work Environment and Cardiovascular Diseases
2005 International Workshop on Environmental Monitoring
and Silica Dust Exposure Assessment
for Papers: Work, Stress and Health 2006: Making a Difference
in the Workplace
Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals-2005
Fifth International Symposium on Modern Principles
of Air Monitoring
Anthropometrics is the measurement of the size and proportions of the human body, including
parameters such as reach and visual range capabilities. It literally
means man (anthro) measurements (metric).