Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content


	hazard signs, worker avoiding falling box

Program Description

Acute trauma at work remains a leading cause of death and disability among U.S. workers. Trauma is defined as "an injury or wound to a living body caused by the application of external force or violence." Acute trauma can occur with the sudden, one-time application of force or violence that causes immediate damage to a living body.

The mission of the NIOSH traumatic occupational injury research and prevention program is to reduce the incidence of worker injuries and deaths due to trauma through a focused program of research and prevention. The program strives to fulfill its mission through the following:

  • High Quality Research: NIOSH applies the traditional public health approach to identify and address the most compelling traumatic injury risks facing workers across all industry sectors. Injury and fatality surveillance identifies, characterizes, prioritizes, and tracks injuries and fatalities; case investigations and analytic epidemiologic, social science, and engineering research discovers risk and causal factors; protective technology research identifies, develops, and assesses prevention options; and evaluation research determines program and intervention efficacy.
  • Practical Solutions: The NIOSH traumatic injury research and prevention program is committed to the development of practical solutions to the complex problems that cause traumatic injuries and deaths among workers.
  • Partnerships: We recognize that collaborative efforts in partnership with labor, industry, government, and other stakeholders are usually the best means of achieving successful outcomes. Fostering these partnerships is a cornerstone of the NIOSH traumatic injury research and prevention program.
  • Research to Practice ( r2p ): We believe that our research must be prevention oriented and lead to effective, practical prevention measures that can be implemented in workplaces. Every research project within the NIOSH traumatic injury research and prevention program includes a strategy to promote the transfer and translation of research findings into effective, feasible prevention practices, products, and technologies that can be adopted in the workplace.

Traumatic occupational injuries and fatalities occur in all occupational groups and industry sectors, although the highest risks vary by occupation and sector. For example, falls from elevation occur with higher frequencies and rates in the construction sector than in other sectors. Some types of occupational violence occur more frequently in retail trade (robbery-related violence) and health care and social services (patient or client assaults on workers) industries than in other sectors. Machines are involved in more injuries and deaths in agriculture and highway construction than in other sectors. Because of the wide range of causes and events associated with traumatic occupational injuries and deaths, and the fact that they occur in all industry sectors, NIOSH relies heavily on injury and fatality surveillance to identify and track traumatic injury problems in specific worker populations, and to establish research priorities. View the Occupational Risks section for more information about the scope of the traumatic injury experience in the United States.

For more information about traumatic occupational injuries, link to the NIOSH Traumatic Occupational Injury Topic Page .