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Activities: NIOSH Research Projects

Surveillance-related research projects by: Sector | Cross-Sector

Sectors


All Sectors

The following projects contribute to surveillance and research objectives within the eight NORA industry sectors.

Data Acquisition and Management

This is an umbrella project for developing and maintaining databases containing occupational exposure information. The primary goal is to develop an integrated data acquisition and management system (IDAMS) to house and provide access to NIOSH-collected exposure-related data. IDAMS will consist of a database and a central data management system. The database will be the repository of exposure-related data. Exposure-related data will be input into the system as it is generated. Legacy data will be able to be input as needed. IDAMS will serve the institute and the occupational safety and health community as a surveillance, research, and priority-setting tool. A second goal of the project is to integrate exposure-related data into a single source (a datamart). Consistent collection of NIOSH exposure-related data and integration with other exposure information into a single data source will facilitate exposure surveillance, epidemiologic research, population risk assessments, and intervention studies.

Project Contact – James Boiano
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Emerging Issues in Injury Surveillance

The purpose of this project is to improve the utility and use of occupational injury surveillance data. Staff from the Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch respond to requests for occupational injury surveillance data, and provide information on the strengths and limitations of the data. DSR staff also respond to requests for input or guidance on developing or improving occupational injury surveillance systems. Expected outcomes from this project are use of occupational injury surveillance data in prevention efforts in the private and public sectors, and improvements to occupational injury surveillance systems to better guide research and prevention efforts.

Project Contact – Dawn Castillo
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894

Emerging Issues in Occupational Respiratory Disease Surveillance

This is an umbrella project to: 1) incubate new public health and hazard surveillance and worker-monitoring activities that do not warrant project status on their own; 2) undertake small, short-term public health and hazard surveillance and worker-monitoring activities that do not warrant project status on their own; 3) systematically review and document important parameters for occupational respiratory disease surveillance and monitoring for the identification and development of research needs; and 4) provide a mechanism to discuss and develop methods. This project serves to focus the branch on systematically planning and developing ideas for enhancing surveillance and worker monitoring, as well as undertaking smaller, short-term investigations, and performing branch administration. The project contributes fundamentally to the overall mission of providing national leadership in the development and dissemination of health and hazard surveillance information relevant to occupational respiratory disease in the United States.

Project Contact – Michael Attfield
Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Project

The goals and objectives of this project are to prevent fatal work injuries by identifying work situations at high risk of fatal injury and developing prevention strategies for those who can intervene in the workplace. NIOSH is voluntarily notified of selected occupational fatalities (currently machine-related, workers under 18 years of age, highway construction work zones, and Hispanic workers) by the departments of labor in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, Federal OSHA area offices in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny county coroner’s office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. NIOSH is notified of work-related deaths of youth under 18 years of age across the nation by the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor. Through onsite fatality investigations, FACE personnel collect agent, host, and environmental information from the pre-event, event, and post-event phases of the fatal incident via a case series design to facilitate descriptive analysis of the incidents. These investigations are not conducted to find fault or place blame, but to better understand the chain of events and contributing factors and to develop recommendations for preventing similar deaths. Findings from FACE investigations are frequently combined with surveillance data to describe specific injury problems and develop broad-based prevention recommendations. The results of FACE investigations are disseminated through narrative reports for each fatality, NIOSH Alerts, Workplace Solutions, technical reports, targeted mass mailings, journal articles, MMWRs, and presentations. NIOSH Alerts and Hazard IDs have covered the topics of forklifts, skid steer loaders, telecommunication towers, skylights, moving large hay bales, and wood chippers among others. The results of the FACE program have the unique capability to reach workers at risk and provide timely intervention strategies to targeted areas. All FACE products are available on the internet. Additionally, NIOSH frequently undertakes targeted dissemination efforts to provide prevention information to specific audiences.

Project Contact – Nancy Romano
Division of Safety Research
(513) 841-5889

Hazard Surveillance Systems – Development of Data Analysis Systems

This project integrates hazard surveillance activities pertaining to occupational respiratory disease. Its objectives are to identify, collect, accumulate, analyze, and report occupational exposure and hazard control data for respiratory disease agents obtained from national and other data sources, and to develop and maintain occupational respiratory disease agent surveillance systems. This project facilitates essential respiratory hazard tracking and comparison across industries, especially for the construction, manufacturing, and mining industries. Both well-established and newly developed methods of data collection, analysis, and display are being employed to analyze and present the findings. New ways of collecting respiratory exposure data for COPD, TB, asthma, and silicosis in difficult industries such as agriculture, construction, mining and other small industries are being sought.

Project Contact – Kenneth Linch
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Health Surveillance Systems: Development and Data Analysis

The project identifies, acquires, analyzes, and reports work-related morbidity and mortality data from national and other data sources. It develops and maintains respiratory disease surveillance systems from appropriate data. The project responds to frequent internal and external requests and mandates, including critical hazard tracking in the agricultural, construction, mining, small business, and other industries. Project results are an important contribution to the series of Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance Reports, two NIOSH Worker Health Chartbooks, and the HP2010 – Tracking Healthy People 2010 publication. The project’s products and contributions provide the opportunity for partners to set research and prevention priorities, and contribute to the recognition and elimination of occupational respiratory disease.

Project Contact – Patricia Schleiff
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Industry Health Surveillance with Group Medical Claims

This project will create a model for a new form of occupational health surveillance based on group medical insurance claims. Working with two major health insurers, claims data will be used to calculate disease rates by detailed industry, thus making visible the industry location and potential magnitude of occupational health problems. A wide variety of high priority diseases are included: asthma, COPD, pneumoconiosis, dermatitis, bladder cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, depression, Parkinsonism, hearing loss, heart arrhythmias, and others. Disease specialists from several NIOSH divisions and from NCEH/ATSDR will contribute their expertise to analysis and interpretation of disease rates. Results will be put to immediate practical use by the health insurers who will take advantage of their existing relationships with employers to promote prevention of occupational disease. Prevention promotion will be based on the calculated disease rates, information on the costs of excess industry cases of disease, and recommendations for prevention developed by NIOSH. Results will also be used to determine the need for epidemiological studies. The main body of work falls into four broad stages: 1) construction of project databases, 2) disease rate analysis and interpretation, 3) selection of target industries and employers and development of presentations to employers, and 4) prevention promotion with employer groups and tracking of results.

Project Contact – Tim Bushnell
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Mortality Surveillance, Occupation & Industry

This collaborative project with NCHS, NCI, and State health departments provides a national occupational mortality surveillance system (NOMS). The purpose is to provide a resource for surveillance, research, consultation, or screening recommendations in occupational health. These data are available through the World Wide Web. The project provides data and occupational coding consultation as requested by external partners and investigators/internal partners within NIOSH, conducts collaborative research on occupational disease, and completes state-specific occupational mortality analyses. Studies using these data will be presented at national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Project Contact – James Walker
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

National Survey of the Mining Population

The purpose of this project is to improve NIOSH's surveillance capability related to the occupational risks in mining by conducting a national survey of mines and mine employees. The major objectives of the survey are to: 1) collect basic information about mining operations; 2) establish demographic and occupational characteristics of mine operator employees within each major mining sector (i.e., coal, metal, nonmetal, stone, and sand and gravel); and 3) determine the number and occupational characteristics of independent contractor employees within mines. For each commodity sector, the sample design developed for this study is probability based so that study findings can be used to make inferences about the nation's mines and the associated employees for that mining commodity. This information can be used as part of many surveillance and research activities.

Project Contact – Linda Mcwilliams
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6654

NIOSH Surveillance Coordination

NIOSH's strategic surveillance plan reflects the increased need for strategic planning to guide surveillance efforts within NIOSH and to foster coordination of activities among agencies and other organizations. This project supports a number of surveillance and surveillance-coordination activities to advance the implementation of the strategic plan, including 1) NIOSH-wide surveillance coordination; 2) development, publication, and Web-based dissemination of the NIOSH E-chartbook; 3) scientific and technical support to the CSTE NIOSH-State Working Group and State-based surveillance programs in California, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington; 4) the analysis, and use of NIOSH-sponsored or other surveillance data sources to support NORA2 planning and development efforts; and 5) collaboration with the NIOSH Education and Information Division and the NIOSH surveillance community on the development of the NIOSH homepage as a resource for disseminating NIOSH and State-based surveillance information and data.

Project Contact – John Sestito
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

National Surveillance of Fatal Occupational Injuries

This project involves the ongoing acquisition, analysis, interpretation, and enhancement of national fatal occupational injury surveillance data. Data collected through the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program are used to describe victim characteristics and injury circumstances; the nature and magnitude of the fatal occupational injury problem, and changes in trends in the U.S. data are also used by NIOSH and others to direct national research priorities and develop recommendations for preventing occupational injuries or deaths. In addition to general analysis and interpretation, restricted access to these and other data will be sustained and annual confidentiality training will be provided. NIOSH will also collaborate with other Federal agencies to encourage enhancement of fatality surveillance data and to expand dissemination of surveillance information.

Project Contact – Suzanne Marsh
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894

National Surveillance of Nonfatal Occupational Injury Using the NEISS

This project collects nationally representative, timely, nonfatal occupational injury surveillance data by using a sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). NEISS, which is conducted collaboratively with CPSC, collects the demographics of injured worker and a description of the injury event. National estimates of all work-related traumatic injuries can be made, as well as estimates for injuries to special populations (e.g., children, women, African-Americans), injury events (e.g., falls), and types of injuries (e.g., eye injuries). Detailed telephone follow-up investigations provide additional information on injury circumstances, worker characteristics, safety precautions, and injury perceptions. NEISS is used to identify and characterize the U.S. work-related injury burden, direct research and intervention efforts, and help establish occupational safety and health policy.

Project Contact – Audrey Reichard
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-6019

Occupational Injury Prevention in Alaska

NIOSH established its Alaska Field Station (AFS) in Anchorage in 1991 after research demonstrated that Alaskan workers were at higher risk for work-related injuries than those in the rest of the country. Since its inception, AFS has established effective and timely surveillance systems for fatal and non-fatal traumatic occupational injuries, maintained effective partnerships with State and regional government agencies, workers, industries, and non-governmental organizations, and developed tailored intervention programs to address injury problems experienced by Alaskan workers, particularly those in the commercial fishing and aviation industries.

Project Contact – Jan Manwaring
Spokane Research Laboratory
(907) 271-2598

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Among Federal Workers

This project will examine the potential of federal workers' compensation data to describe injuries and illnesses among federal workers and guide subsequent prevention efforts. Department of Labor agencies with key roles in the Safety, Health and Return-to-Employment (SHARE) Initiative, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) will be provided with technical guidance on improving future collection of these data and using them for prevention efforts. Should initial assessments and analyses prove promising, NIOSH will collaborate with OSHA on additional analyses and data dissemination. It is expected that this work will contribute to injury and illness reductions among federal employees.

Project Contact – Audrey Reichard
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894

State-Based Surveillance Activities

The objectives of this project are to strengthen, foster, and support State-based surveillance and prevention activities related to occupational lung disease (OLD), specifically silicosis and work-related asthma (WRA). This is accomplished by providing technical support for and national coordination of State-level surveillance and intervention activities. It includes maintaining a database of voluntarily-submitted, aggregated State-collected data for WRA and silicosis. It is anticipated that the project will support states conducting expanded surveillance for silicosis and WRA, and interested states funded for fundamental surveillance under the FY05 Surveillance Program Announcement, in addition to nonfunded states. The project furthers Goal 2 of the NIOSH Surveillance Strategic Plan. Currently, the project provides direct ongoing support for seven states (CA, MA, MI, NY, NJ, NM, WA) involved in work-related asthma and/or silicosis surveillance, and indirect support to the NCEH Asthma Program and 15 states (CO,CT, GA, IA, ME, MD, MS, MO, NH, OH, PA,UT,VT, WV, WI), Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C., funded by CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) for State asthma program development and asthma surveillance. Data collected from states funded under SENSOR has been used for various prevention activities and products and to inform science-based policy. This project is ongoing.

Project Contact – Margaret Filios
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Surveillance of Non-Fatal Work Related Injuries in Alaska

This project continues the support and further development of the Alaska Trauma Registry (ATR) as it becomes a model trauma registry surveillance system for nonfatal, work-related injuries. The further development of the ATR will consist of additional training for data abstractors to include recognition, recording, and utilization of work-related injury data. Information from the ATR is being used to identify common hazardous events that lead to the assessment and implementation of injury prevention measures. Current collaboration with many of our external partners is focusing on injury prevention (interventions and training), trend analysis of high-risk industries, and increasing worker awareness of injury hazards.

Project Contact – Bradley Husberg
Spokane Research Laboratory
(907) 271-5259

Surveillance of Programs Using Respirators (SPUR)

The purpose of this project is to understand respirator and other PPE use and practices with the ultimate goal of using interventions to improve respiratory protection programs. This project will continue to analyze and disseminate information about respirator use and the associated respirator programs established by U.S. employers. Composite data from the focus groups in three sectors of the construction industry will be analyzed and published. The study of thirty road and transportation building construction sites will determine the effectiveness of interventions on a relatively small scale. The information gathered from this study will be used to determine the feasibility for a future survey and interventions in the construction industry. Eventually, the study findings could be applied in nonconstruction industries.

Project Contact – Brent Doney
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
(412) 386-6111


Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

Childhood Agricultural Injury Surveillance

The project purpose is to conduct surveillance of childhood agricultural injuries. NIOSH is collecting childhood agricultural injury data through two approaches: farm operator surveys conducted in collaboration with the National Agricultural Statistics Service and personal interviews of farm workers using the U.S. Department of Labor's National Agricultural Workers Survey. The farm operator surveys include a minority-specific component. NIOSH will also conduct periodic analyses of the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the National Center for Health Statistics' Vital Statistics Mortality data, death certificates from State vital statistics registrars, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. This project provides important information for prioritizing research and intervention programs needed to reduce childhood agricultural injuries in the future.

Project Contact – John Myers
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894

National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) Health Surveillance

This project involves an ongoing program of occupational health surveillance for migrant farm workers in the United States, a vulnerable, poverty-stricken, minority group working in a high risk industry. Occupational health questions were added to the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) conducted by the Department of Labor in FY 1998–1999. A reduced set of questions has been asked in subsequent years, but has included information on musculoskeletal disorders, chronic conditions, pesticide use, and access to care. Analysis and dissemination of collected data are underway, while questions concerning psychosocial factors, work organization, work stress, work structure, job insecurity, and mental health will have undergone translation and cognitive testing. Piloting will be conducted in 2006–2007, and final data will be collected and submitted to NIOSH for analysis and dissemination in 2007 and 2008.

Project Contact – Toni Alterman
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture

The purpose of this project is to maintain periodic surveillance for occupational traumatic injuries in the agricultural production industry as part of the NIOSH agriculture initiative. NIOSH is collecting occupational agricultural injury data through two approaches: farm operator surveys conducted in collaboration with the National Agricultural Statistics Service and personal interviews of farm workers using the U.S. Department of Labor's National Agricultural Workers Survey. The farm operator surveys include a minority-specific component. The surveillance data collected through this project will provide information on the number and types of injuries occurring to farmers and farm workers over time. Such information is needed for prioritizing research and intervention programs to reduce occupational agricultural injuries in the future.

Project Contact – John Myers
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894

Occupational Respiratory Disease Surveillance in Agriculture

This project is intended to augment and structure a program of occupational respiratory disease (ORD) surveillance in the agricultural segment. The information collected, analyzed, and disseminated in this project provides essential baseline statistics for assessment of hazard burden, and evaluation of progress in reducing or eliminating disease through prevention and intervention efforts. Outputs and data from this project will be disseminated through NIOSH publications like the Agriculture Surveillance Report and Chartbook, as well as on the internet in user-friendly downloadable charts, tables, and spreadsheets. In addition, information on the economic costs of disease will be assessed by a systematic evaluation of costs summarized by disease and, where possible, type of agricultural process. If unique findings indicate particular needs for prevention, information will be distributed to stakeholders for education and action, and, if possible and appropriate, further projects or tasks will be developed with the intent of reducing further hazards and disease outcomes.

Project Contact – Jacek Mazurek
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Pesticide Poisoning Surveillance Under SENSOR

This surveillance project provides intramural and extramural support for acute occupational pesticide-related illness and injury surveillance. Its goal is to support State-based surveillance systems and response activities, including: educational outreach to employers, workers, and health care providers; in-depth field investigations; worksite consultations; and referral to regulatory agencies. This project has finalized a standardized case definition, severity index, and standardized core variables for acute pesticide-related illness and injury. It has also developed a database software program (i.e., SPIDER) for collecting, managing and reporting the surveillance data. This surveillance activity identifies emerging pesticide hazards and populations at risk. It is also useful for assessing the magnitude and trends for this condition. Findings are useful for guiding intervention and regulatory activities.

Project Contact – Geoffrey Calvert
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Predictors of Respiratory Health in Agricultural Workers

This project is done in collaboration with the principal investigator of the farmers' study, Dr. Marc B. Schenker, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis. The focus of the studies of California farmers was the investigation of respiratory hazards occurring among Californian and other western farmers to determine the prevalence and occupational risk factors for acute and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and their association with functional and work ability.

Project Contact – Eva Hnizdo
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Worker Monitoring Using Imaging Techniques

The project will focus on developing, refining, and evaluating methods for worker monitoring using imaging techniques. The main aspects to be investigated and disseminated, when appropriate, are: a) specifications for collection, display, and classification of digital chest radiographs; b) implementation of resources to receive, evaluate, classify, transmit, and store digital chest radiograph images and related data; c) examination and certification of B-readers, using digital radiographs; d) use of calibrated readings to improve quality assurance in classifications; e) use of computerized tomographic images in the routine screening and monitoring for dust-related diseases. These issues will be studied using actual data, taking into account both theoretical and practical considerations. Studies will be performed comparing the results of classifications using the ILO system, for chest images obtained using various digital and conventional approaches. The influence of diverse technical and procedural parameters on the apparent presence and extent of disease will be investigated, as well as the implications for validity and reader agreement. Pilot and demonstration efforts will also be directed at new approaches to increasing the accuracy and reproducibility of B-reader classifications of radiographs for pneumoconiosis.

Project Contact – Edward Petsonk
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749


Construction

Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance & Research Program (ABLES)

The purpose of the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program is to assist the states to “reduce the number of persons who have elevated blood-lead concentrations from work exposures” (Objective 20.7 in Healthy People 2010). ABLES identifies cases of elevated blood-lead levels among adults in 38 collaborating states. Cases identified through ABLES surveillance are used to target high-risk industries for intervention and are frequently referred to State or Federal OSHA programs for consultation or enforcement. The most crucial ABLES activity is building State capacity to initiate or improve adult blood lead surveillance programs that can accurately measure trends in adult blood lead levels and effectively intervene to prevent lead overexposures. ABLES is a surveillance tool under NORA2.

Project Contact – Robert Roscoe
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428


Health Care and Social Assistance

DSHEFS HIV Program Management, Communication, and Evaluation

This project provides technical direction to the NIOSH HIV/Bloodborne Pathogens Activity for planning, conducting, monitoring, and evaluating HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne pathogens projects relating to health care and other workers potentially exposed to blood. Future products include communication products leading to a reduction in the occupational transmission of HIV and other bloodborne pathogens among first responders and law enforcement officers.

Project Contact – Ahmed Gomaa
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Emerging Issues in Occupational HIV Prevention

This project defines evolving risks of exposure to bloodborne pathogens among all workers to prevent occupational transmission of HIV among workers who encounter unique risks and to lessen the associated morbidity and mortality after exposure. Research findings will be disseminated relating to the unique risks encountered by individual workers. In collaboration with WHO and PAHO, this project will adapt and translate a tool kit already developed and tested by WHO in Asia and in Africa. The goal is to contribute to reducing work-related bloodborne illnesses among HCWs in Latin America through training, information sharing, and global research capacity building. In addition, the risk of BBP exposures to non-health care worker occupations in the United States will be evaluated and targeted, and practical health communication products will be developed.

Project Contact – Ahmed Gomaa
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

National Exposures at Work Survey (NEWS) – Feasibility Studies

The purpose of the feasibility project is to: 1) assess whether self-administered survey questionnaires accurately elicit information on hazards and exposures, exposure controls, and H&S practices and perceptions among health care workers and management via post-survey validation; 2) evaluate two modes of administration (Web-based and paper) and distribution of employee questionnaires in two pilot tests at Federal medical centers; and 3) evaluate whether methodology is feasible for a national-scale survey of the health services sector. Findings of the feasibility evaluation (response rates, data quality, questionnaire validation, etc.) will be disseminated through peer-refereed publications and presentations at scientific meetings.

Project Contact – James Boiano
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Surveillance of Bloodborne Pathogens

This project supports surveillance studies related to occupational exposures to blood and bloodborne pathogens. Four new extramural projects (R01 grants) funded by the HIV Activity began in FY2005, each one investigating exposures to blood among home health care workers. The feasibility of initiating an intramural occupational bloodborne pathogen surveillance system will be assessed. Consultation on other occupational bloodborne pathogen exposure surveillance projects, such as CDC/NCID’s NaSH and NaSH Lite projects and evaluation of smallpox vaccination bifurcated needles with engineered sharps protections is also provided, as requested.

Project Contact – Ahmed Gomaa
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Work Organization, Cardiovascular Disease and Depression

This study is part of a larger research effort on work organization, cardiovascular disease, and depression. This component investigates the relationships between specific aspects of work organization (job stressors) and depression among 10,000 men and 10,000 women in a five-year prospective study. Specifically, we will identify relationships between 14 job stressors (as well as perceived family-related demands and discrimination), depression, and CVD.

Project Contact – Paula Grubb
Division Of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462


Manufacturing

Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance & Research Program (ABLES)

The purpose of the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program is to assist the states to “reduce the number of persons who have elevated blood-lead concentrations from work exposures” (Objective 20.7 in Healthy People 2010). ABLES identifies cases of elevated blood-lead levels among adults in 38 collaborating states. Cases identified through ABLES surveillance are used to target high-risk industries for intervention and are frequently referred to State or Federal OSHA programs for consultation or enforcement. The most crucial ABLES activity is building State capacity to initiate or improve adult blood lead surveillance programs that can accurately measure trends in adult blood lead levels and effectively intervene to prevent lead overexposures. ABLES is a surveillance tool under NORA2.

Project Contact – Robert Roscoe
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Hearing Loss and Boat Manufacturing

This project will evaluate the risk of hearing loss among styrene-exposed workers in the boat manufacturing industry by measuring noise and styrene exposures, measuring biological markers of styrene in exhaled air, and analyzing audiometric databases from the studied workers longitudinally. At the conclusion of this project, NIOSH will be able to propose alternatives to handle the observed risk factors.

Project Contact – Thais Morata
Division Of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462

Preventing Hearing Loss from Chemical & Noise Exposures

Hearing Loss from Chemical and Noise Exposures, an ongoing project, will make specific recommendations and disseminate information on an action level for exposures to ototoxic chemicals and hearing loss prevention strategies, not limited to excessive noise exposures. In addition to monitoring hazards, assessing hearing, and controlling exposures, occupational hearing loss prevention programs should assess exposures to chemicals, such as solvents, metals, asphyxiants, and pesticides. The results from NIOSH partners on this project will guide future occupational safety and health efforts in reducing the risks of work-related hearing loss and increase awareness of the ototoxic potential of chemicals.

Project Contact – Thais Morata
Division\Laboratory – Division Of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462

State-Based Surveillance Activities

The objectives of this project are to strengthen, foster, and support State-based surveillance and prevention activities related to occupational lung disease (OLD), specifically silicosis and work-related asthma (WRA). This is accomplished by providing technical support for and national coordination of State-level surveillance and intervention activities. It includes maintaining a database of voluntarily-submitted, aggregated State-collected data for WRA and silicosis. It is anticipated that the project will support states conducting expanded surveillance for silicosis and WRA, and interested states funded for fundamental surveillance under the FY05 Surveillance Program Announcement, in addition to nonfunded states. The project furthers Goal 2 of the NIOSH Surveillance Strategic Plan. Currently, the project provides direct ongoing support for seven states (CA, MA, MI, NY, NJ, NM, WA) involved in work-related asthma and/or silicosis surveillance, and indirect support to the NCEH Asthma Program and 15 states (CO,CT, GA, IA, ME, MD, MS, MO, NH, OH, PA,UT,VT, WV, WI), Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C., funded by CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) for State asthma program development and asthma surveillance. Data collected from states funded under SENSOR has been used for various prevention activities and products and to inform science-based policy. This project is ongoing.

Project Contact – Margaret Filios
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Worker Monitoring Using Imaging Techniques

The project will focus on developing, refining, and evaluating methods for worker monitoring using imaging techniques. The main aspects to be investigated and disseminated, when appropriate, are: a) specifications for collection, display, and classification of digital chest radiographs; b) implementation of resources to receive, evaluate, classify, transmit, and store digital chest radiograph images and related data; c) examination and certification of B-readers, using digital radiographs; d) use of calibrated readings to improve quality assurance in classifications; e) use of computerized tomographic images in the routine screening and monitoring for dust-related diseases. These issues will be studied using actual data, taking into account both theoretical and practical considerations. Studies will be performed comparing the results of classifications using the ILO system, for chest images obtained using various digital and conventional approaches. The influence of diverse technical and procedural parameters on the apparent presence and extent of disease will be investigated, as well as the implications for validity and reader agreement. Pilot and demonstration efforts will also be directed at new approaches to increasing the accuracy and reproducibility of B-reader classifications of radiographs for pneumoconiosis.

Project Contact – Edward Petsonk
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749


Mining

Emerging Issues in Occupational Respiratory Disease Surveillance

This is an umbrella project to: 1) incubate new public health and hazard surveillance and worker-monitoring activities that do not warrant project status on their own; 2) undertake small, short-term public health and hazard surveillance and worker-monitoring activities that do not warrant project status on their own; 3) systematically review and document important parameters for occupational respiratory disease surveillance and monitoring for the identification and development of research needs; and 4) provide a mechanism to discuss and develop methods. This project serves to focus the branch on systematically planning and developing ideas for enhancing surveillance and worker monitoring, as well as undertaking smaller, short-term investigations, and performing branch administration. The project contributes fundamentally to the overall mission of providing national leadership in the development and dissemination of health and hazard surveillance information relevant to occupational respiratory disease in the United States.

Project Contact – Michael Attfield
Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Life Support Survival and Rescue

This project will develop the technology to increase the chances for escape of miners surviving a mine fire, explosion, gas outburst, or water inundation, and to improve the safety and effectiveness of mine rescue, recovery, and firefighting. It focuses on improvements in the design, reliability, and use of CCBA such as the self-contained self-rescuer, the machines that test them, and the regulations and standards used to evaluate them.

Project Contact – Heinz Ahlers
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
(412) 386-6111

National Survey of the Mining Population

The purpose of this project is to improve NIOSH's surveillance capability related to the occupational risks in mining by conducting a national survey of mines and mine employees. The major objectives of the survey are to: 1) collect basic information about mining operations; 2) establish demographic and occupational characteristics of mine operator employees within each major mining sector (i.e., coal, metal, nonmetal, stone, and sand and gravel); and 3) determine the number and occupational characteristics of independent contractor employees within mines. For each commodity sector, the sample design developed for this study is probability based so that study findings can be used to make inferences about the nation's mines and the associated employees for that mining commodity. This information can be used as part of many surveillance and research activities.

Project Contact – Linda Mcwilliams
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6654

Rock Burst Hazard Assessment

This project supports rock burst hazard assessment work using seismic and wall-strain monitoring. The assessment continues at four mines to identify hazardous conditions and protect miners. The seismic monitoring will be used for continuing surveillance of the magnitude of the problem and to identify increases in seismicity that would create hazards to the miners. Wall-strain monitoring with instrumented rock bolts will continue in order to identify any localized strain changes that could indicate a possible rock burst. This data will also provide an understanding of the response of the support system to rock bursts for improvement of rock burst support design.

Project Contact – Theodore Williams
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8060

Surveillance of Mine Safety Hazards

This project uses descriptive and analytic epidemiology, statistical methods, and geographic information systems (GIS) to acquire and analyze information on injuries and illnesses in mining and construction. Mining accidents, hazards, and exposures are also studied. Descriptive epidemiology is used to collect, analyze, and present injury and illness statistics from existing sources (Mine Safety and Health Administration [MSHA], the NIOSH SENSOR program, and other NIOSH, CDC, and Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] databases). The primary purpose is to establish baseline levels of occupational injury and illness risks in the mining and construction industries, monitor trends in the incidence, severity, and cost of these incidents, and provide comparative analyses that help to identify areas of high priority for research and intervention.

Methods of analysis, such as analytic epidemiology and statistics, system safety analysis, and GIS tools improve surveillance by identifying areas where additional data is needed to determine risk levels between commodities, mines, activities, operations, machinery and equipment, and mine design features. Special studies to better define exposures to hazards, and surveys of workers, mine owners and managers may be conducted.

Project Contact – Patrick Coleman
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8065

Surveillance, Statistics, & Research Development & Planning

The Surveillance & Statistics Team provides leadership in surveillance of the mining industry for the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL) by: 1) collecting, analyzing, and interpreting safety and health data related to mining occupations in order to report on the overall incidence, prevalence, and significance of these problems; 2) reporting trends in the incidence of mining related fatalities, morbidity, traumatic injury, and occupational exposure; and 3) maintaining the Mine Safety and Health Administration data files, which are released to the public five times per year. The team also supports the research activities at PRL by: 1) providing consultation in the formulation of research questions, study design, data collection, and statistical methods; 2) providing statistical reviews of laboratory publications; and 3) participating in laboratory research projects.

Project Contact – Linda McWilliams
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6654

Worker Monitoring Using Imaging Techniques

The project will focus on developing, refining, and evaluating methods for worker monitoring using imaging techniques. The main aspects to be investigated and disseminated, when appropriate, are: a) specifications for collection, display, and classification of digital chest radiographs; b) implementation of resources to receive, evaluate, classify, transmit, and store digital chest radiograph images and related data; c) examination and certification of B-readers, using digital radiographs; d) use of calibrated readings to improve quality assurance in classifications; e) use of computerized tomographic images in the routine screening and monitoring for dust-related diseases. These issues will be studied using actual data, taking into account both theoretical and practical considerations. Studies will be performed comparing the results of classifications using the ILO system, for chest images obtained using various digital and conventional approaches. The influence of diverse technical and procedural parameters on the apparent presence and extent of disease will be investigated, as well as the implications for validity and reader agreement. Pilot and demonstration efforts will also be directed at new approaches to increasing the accuracy and reproducibility of B-reader classifications of radiographs for pneumoconiosis.

Project Contact – Edward Petsonk
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749


Services

Data Acquisition and Management

This is an umbrella project for developing and maintaining databases containing occupational exposure information. The primary goal is to develop an integrated data acquisition and management system (IDAMS) to house and provide access to NIOSH-collected exposure-related data. IDAMS will consist of a database and a central data management system. The database will be the repository of exposure-related data. Exposure-related data will be input into the system as it is generated. Legacy data will be able to be input as needed. IDAMS will serve the institute and the occupational safety and health community as a surveillance, research, and priority-setting tool. A second goal of the project is to integrate exposure-related data into a single source (a datamart). Consistent collection of NIOSH exposure-related data and integration with other exposure information into a single data source will facilitate exposure surveillance, epidemiologic research, population risk assessments, and intervention studies.

Project Contact – James Boiano
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Hazard Surveillance Systems – Development of Data Analysis Systems

This project integrates hazard surveillance activities pertaining to occupational respiratory disease. Its objectives are to identify, collect, accumulate, analyze, and report occupational exposure and hazard control data for respiratory disease agents obtained from national and other data sources, and to develop and maintain occupational respiratory disease agent surveillance systems. This project facilitates essential respiratory hazard tracking and comparison across industries, especially for the construction, manufacturing, and mining industries. Both well-established and newly developed methods of data collection, analysis, and display are being employed to analyze and present the findings. New ways of collecting respiratory exposure data for COPD, TB, asthma, and silicosis in difficult industries such as agriculture, construction, mining and other small industries are being sought.

Project Contact – Kenneth Linch
Division\Laboratory – Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Among Federal Workers

This project will examine the potential of federal workers' compensation data to describe injuries and illnesses among federal workers and guide subsequent prevention efforts. Department of Labor agencies with key roles in the Safety, Health and Return¬to-Employment (SHARE) Initiative, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) will be provided with technical guidance on improving future collection of these data and using them for prevention efforts. Should initial assessments and analyses prove promising, NIOSH will collaborate with OSHA on additional analyses and data dissemination. It is expected that this work will contribute to injury and illness reductions among federal employees.

Project Contact – Audrey Reichard
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894

Work Organization, Cardiovascular Disease and Depression

This study is part of a larger research effort on work organization, cardiovascular disease, and depression. This component investigates the relationships between specific aspects of work organization (job stressors) and depression among 10,000 men and 10,000 women in a five-year prospective study. Specifically, we will identify relationships between 14 job stressors (as well as perceived family-related demands and discrimination), depression, and CVD.

Project Contact – Paula Grubb
Division Of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462


Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities

Occupational Injury Prevention in Alaska

NIOSH established its Alaska Field Station (AFS) in Anchorage in 1991 after research demonstrated that Alaskan workers were at higher risk for work-related injuries than those in the rest of the country. Since its inception, AFS has established effective and timely surveillance systems for fatal and non-fatal traumatic occupational injuries, maintained effective partnerships with State and regional government agencies, workers, industries, and non-governmental organizations, and developed tailored intervention programs to address injury problems experienced by Alaskan workers, particularly those in the commercial fishing and aviation industries.

Project Contact – Jan Manwaring
Spokane Research Laboratory
(907) 271-2598

Surveillance of Non-Fatal Work Related Injuries in Alaska

This project continues the support and further development of the Alaska Trauma Registry (ATR) as it becomes a model trauma registry surveillance system for nonfatal, work-related injuries. The further development of the ATR will consist of additional training for data abstractors to include recognition, recording, and utilization of work-related injury data. Information from the ATR is being used to identify common hazardous events that lead to the assessment and implementation of injury prevention measures. Current collaboration with many of our external partners is focusing on injury prevention (interventions and training), trend analysis of high-risk industries, and increasing worker awareness of injury hazards.

Project Contact – Bradley Husberg
Spokane Research Laboratory
(907) 271-5259


Wholesale and Retail Trade

Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance & Research Program (ABLES)

The purpose of the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program is to assist the states to “reduce the number of persons who have elevated blood-lead concentrations from work exposures” (Objective 20.7 in Healthy People 2010). ABLES identifies cases of elevated blood-lead levels among adults in 38 collaborating states. Cases identified through ABLES surveillance are used to target high-risk industries for intervention and are frequently referred to State or Federal OSHA programs for consultation or enforcement. The most crucial ABLES activity is building State capacity to initiate or improve adult blood lead surveillance programs that can accurately measure trends in adult blood lead levels and effectively intervene to prevent lead overexposures. ABLES is a surveillance tool under NORA2.

Project Contact – Robert Roscoe
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428

Work Organization, Cardiovascular Disease and Depression

This study is part of a larger research effort on work organization, cardiovascular disease, and depression. This component investigates the relationships between specific aspects of work organization (job stressors) and depression among 10,000 men and 10,000 women in a five-year prospective study. Specifically, we will identify relationships between 14 job stressors (as well as perceived family-related demands and discrimination), depression, and CVD.

Project Contact – Paula Grubb
Division Of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462

 

 
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  • Page last updated: March 11, 2014
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