1. Introduction to NIOSHAbbreviations | 1.2 Legislative Foundations
NIOSH is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of occupational injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the CDC in DHHS.
Surveillance data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) documents the burden of injury and illness associated with work. In 2002, there were 5,524 occupational fatalities in the private sector, an average of 15 per day.1 In 2003, there were 4.4 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses in the private sector.2 This human toll is accompanied by significant economic cost. The Liberty Mutual 2004 Workplace Safety Index estimated that direct costs for occupational injuries alone were $49.6 billion in 2002.3
Changes in the workplace will likely create new challenges for preventing occupational injury and illness. As the U.S. economy shifts from manufacturing to services and industries shift from older to newer technologies, there are resulting changes in the distribution of jobs and their associated hazards. Workforce demographics are also changing. By the year 2008, the U.S. workforce will grow to an estimated 155 million, with minorities constituting 28 percent of the workforce and women 48 percent. The workforce is also aging. By 2010, middle and older age workers will outnumber younger workers. Finally, there have been important changes in the conditions under which work is performed. Longer work hours, longer shifts and compressed work weeks; part-time and temporary work; around the clock shift work; and reduced job security are all realities of the modern workplace. NIOSH must work to prevent the occupational injuries and illnesses of today as well as anticipate and prevent those of tomorrow.
To meet the challenges of occupational safety and health, NIOSH is guided by its mission to provide national and world leadership to prevent work-related illnesses and injuries.4 In carrying out this mission, NIOSH adheres to a core set of values:
4. NIOSH Strategic Plan. [http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/strategic/].