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NORA Symposium 2008: NORA Awards

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The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Liaison Committee in cooperation with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health presented two awards at the NORA Symposium held in Denver, Colorado, July 29, 2008

The NORA Innovative Research Award for Worker Health and Safety

The NORA Innovative Research Award for Worker Health and Safety honors innovative and creative occupational health and safety research in a NORA priority area. The purposes of the award are to recognize the development of or encourage continued work with a new approach to prevent and/or reduce occupational illness and injuries. Candidates may be affiliated with a university, industry, government agency, labor union, or a private organization.

The 2008 Award recipient is Optimizing Supervisor Response to Workplace Injury.
Honorable mention goes to Lab Testing of Adjustable Safety Rail-Roof Bracket Assembly

Optimizing Supervisor Response to Workplace Injury

Work and organizational factors have been shown to influence the frequency and duration of disability associated with work-related musculoskeletal problems. Modified duty programs, proactive return-to-work policies, and employee training have been shown to reduce injury and disability costs, but few studies have focused on supervisor support and activation as a means of improving the health and safety of workers. Supervisors play a significant role in secondary prevention of workplace injuries by modifying work demands, facilitating access to health care resources, applying medical restrictions, addressing employee questions and concerns, and communicating a positive message of concern and support. The goal of this study was to develop and test a training program for supervisors that might improve methods for communicating with injured workers and facilitating temporary job accommodations in response to musculoskeletal complaints.

A needs assessment phase involved the cooperation of four employers representing the food processing, retail clothing, health care, and heavy manufacturing industries. Based on the results of the needs assessment, a 4-hour training program was then developed by the research team and administered to 23 supervisors from the food processing company in a controlled study (11 supervisors in an intervention group and 12 supervisors in a delayed-intervention control group).

Supervisors reported a high level of satisfaction with the training program (mean rating of 3.4 out of 4.0) and reported statistically significant improvements in their confidence to communicate effectively with injured workers, suggest ergonomically-based job accommodations, and maintain a positive and supportive attitude with injured workers. From workers' compensation data, the intervention and control departments were compared on the number of new and existing claims, injury types, and total indemnity costs paid for lost work time. In the seven months after the training program, the i ntervention group showed a 47 percent decline in the number of new workers' compensation claims, while the control group showed only a 19 percent reduction. When control group supervisors participated in the training program seven months later, their departments experienced an additional 19 percent reduction in new claims. In both groups, more than half of claims were soft-tissue disorders (sprains, strains, inflammations, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, other cumulative trauma), and the number of active existing claims remained fairly constant. Indemnity costs for lost work time also decreased more in the intervention group than in the control group. Longer-term follow-up showed a small increase in the number of incidents reported to supervisors, but the reduction in claims frequency and cost that was maintained over 5 years.

Awarded To:
William S. Shaw, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety

Michelle M. Robertson, PhD, CPE, Research Scientist, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety

Santosh K. Verma, MD, MPH, Research Scientist, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety

Robert K. McLellan, MD, MPH, FACOEM, FAAFP, Associate Professor, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Glenn Pransky, MD, MOccH, Director, Center for Disability Research, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety

Ronald Woo, Technical Consultant II, Loss Prevention, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

Mary Jane Woiszwillo, BA, Research Specialist II, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety

Lab Testing of Adjustable Safety Rail-Roof Bracket Assembly

During 1998-2005, an annual average of 153 workers were killed and 3,374 workers were injured severely enough to miss work after falling from unguarded roof edges, through unguarded roof openings, or through unprotected skylight fixtures. A previous research project investigated the effectiveness of commercial and job-built guardrail systems. A direct result of that project was a NIOSH-designed adjustable roof bracket-safety rail assembly that can be used in a wide variety of residential and industrial-commercial work sites. A patent application was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The design complies with all OSHA requirements for height and strength, as well as for planking and toe board installation. The innovative design permits a protective guardrail system to be installed around openings or skylights on flat commercial roofs and on residential roofs with slopes ranging from 27° (6:12) to 63° (24:12).

Honorable Mention Awarded To:

Thomas G Bobick, PhD, PE, CSP, CPE, Research Safety Engineer, Division of Safety Research, NIOSH

E A McKenzie, Jr, PhD, PE, Research Safety Engineer, Division of Safety Research, NIOSH

Douglas M. Cantis, Physical Science Technician, Division of Safety Research, NIOSH

H David Edgell, Instrument Maker, Office of Administrative and Management Services , NIOSH

The National Occupational Research Agenda Partnering Award

The National Occupational Research Agenda Partnering Award for Worker Health and Safety honors groups who have demonstrated exemplary teamwork, innovative thinking, and strong science in their collaborative partnerships on occupational health and safety research.

The 2008 Award recipients are Safe Patient Handling and Movement Training Program for Schools of Nursing and Research-To-Practice Partnership to Improve Beryllium Worker Health

Safe Patient Handling and Movement Training Program for Schools of Nursing

In the field of nursing, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as back and shoulder injuries, persist as the leading and most costly occupational health problem in the United States. It is believed that a significant fraction of the musculoskeletal disorder cases reported by nurses are due to the cumulative effect of repeated manual patient handling activities, often involving heavy manual lifting associated with transferring, and repositioning patients, as well as required work in extreme static awkward postures. However, despite the severity of this problem many nursing training programs continue to teach outdated techniques and approaches for patient handling that rely on teaching of "proper" body mechanics.

The purpose of this project was to develop and evaluate an evidence-based training program for educators at schools of nursing in order to fill this specific need. The specific objectives of the project included: (1) Provide evidence-based training on safe patient handling and movement for use by nurse educators at schools of nursing; (2) Insure that the training is a sound and that the curriculum is effective in improving the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of the students; (3) Provide a full range of educational tools for use by nursing educators to increase effectiveness of the training program; and, (4) Encourage all nursing educators at schools of nursing to use the "train-the-trainer" program and evidence-based safe patient handling curriculum module for nurse training. The study found that nurse educator and student knowledge improved significantly at intervention schools, as did intention to use mechanical lifting devices in the near future. The researchers concluded that the curriculum module is ready for wide dissemination across nursing schools to reduce the risk of MSDs among nurses.

Awarded To:

Principal Partners

Nancy Nivison Menzel, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC, COHN-S, CNE, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Nancy Hughes, MS, RN, Director, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, American Nurses Association

Audrey Nelson, PhD, RN, FAAN, Director, Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, Veterans Health Administration

Thomas R. Waters, PhD, CPE, Research Safety Engineer, Division of Applied Research and Technology, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Schools of Nursing

Armstrong Atlantic State University
Belmont University
Boise State University
Emporia State University
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Felician College
Indiana State University
Kent State University
Lakeview College of Nursing
Methodist College of Nursing
Molloy College
North Dakota State University
Northeastern University
Queensborough Community College
Rhode Island College
St. Petersburg College
Seattle Pacific University
Sonoma State University (control site)
University of Florida
University of Iowa
University of Massachusetts
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Oklahoma
University of South Florida (control site)
University of Tennessee
Valparaiso University (control site)
Wesley College
Western Kentucky University
Youngstown State University

Vendors

Arjo, Inc.
EZ Way, Inc.
Guldmann, Inc.
Liko, Inc.
SureHands Lift and Care System
Waverley Glen

Other Partners

American Nurses Association

Butch DeCastro, PhD, MSN/MPH, RN, Assistant Professor, Director, Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing Program, Psychosocial & Community Health, University of Washington

Carol Sedlak, PhD, RN, CNS, ONC, CNE, Professor, Kent State University, College of Nursing

Vivian Thompson, PhD, Veterans Health Administration, Patient Safety Center of Inquiry

Gail Powell-Cope, PhD, Veterans Health Administration, Patient Safety Center of Inquiry

Pam Hagan, RN, American Nurses Association

Research-To-Practice Partnership to Improve Beryllium Worker Health

This partnership originated in 1998 when Brush Wellman Inc. leadership entered into a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NIOSH to perform cooperative research to identify the best means to protect workers from hazardous exposures and adverse outcomes during the manufacturing of beryllium-containing materials. This research partnership has resulted in the development, testing and communication of a new Beryllium Worker Protection Model for working safely with beryllium and beryllium-containing materials as well as many published scientific papers and presentations at conferences.

The direct involvement by Brush Wellman and NIOSH researchers in the partnership has been a highly collaborative effort that included study design, data gathering, data analysis, manuscript preparation and the design of research-to-work practice efforts. This effort actively included workers who provided direct counsel and information to both Brush Wellman and NIOSH scientists, both together and separately.

This project has proceeded in four overlapping stages: basic epidemiologic and workplace exposure characterization and risk factor research; incorporation of ideas emanating from this research process into an enhanced preventive model for protection of beryllium workers and implementation of the model in Brush Wellman workplaces; evaluation of the effects of this model on worker risks; and communication of the results of the evaluation and model throughout the beryllium-using community. This research partnership emphasizes a rapid research-to-practice approach in implementing the model that has been demonstrated in its first years to be effective in reducing the detection of beryllium sensitization in new employees to levels several times lower than in employees hired before the model.

Awarded To:
Brush Wellman Inc., Management
Brush Wellman Inc., Reading Plant Workforce, 1998-2008
Brush Wellman Inc., Elmore Plant Workforce, 1998-2008
Brush Ceramic Products Inc., Tucson Plant Workforce, 1998-2008

NIOSH Beryllium Program Team
Kathleen Kreiss, MD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Rachel L. Bailey, DO, MPH, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Kristin J. Cummings, MD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Gregory A. Day, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Paul K. Henneberger, MPH, ScD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Mark D. Hoover, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Ann F. Hubbs, DVM, PhD, Health Effects Laboratory Division, NIOSH
Erin McCanlies, PhD, Health Effects Laboratory Division, NIOSH
Christine R. Schuler, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Marcia L. Stanton, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Aleksandr B. Stefaniak, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Carrie A. Thomas, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Brian D. Tift, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
M. Abbas Virji, MSc, ScD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH
Ainsley Weston, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, NIOSH

 
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  • Page last reviewed: October 22, 2008
  • Page last updated: August 21, 2008
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