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WORK ORGANIZATION AND STRESS-RELATED DISORDERS

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Activities: NIOSH Research Projects

Work Organization Risk Factors

Assessing the Safety Culture of Coal Mining

This project will assess the safety culture at coal mines in the U.S. Because coal mining is an extremely important, yet hazardous industry, it is important to continue to improve the safety of this work. In order to do so, six mines, including three underground and three surface mines, will be studied. This study will use a variety of methods including interviewing, surveying, observation, functional analysis, and behavioral anchored rating scales. Based on this safety culture assessment, recommendations will be made to improve the health and safety of coal miners.

Project contact: Carin Kosmoski
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2008-2011


Work Organization Influence of Fatigue in Truck Drivers

The purpose of this project is to examine the influence of organizational and industry factors, such as scheduling practices, economic pressure, competition and types of freight, on fatigue and safety in commercial motor vehicle operators in order to develop targeted interventions. A cross-sectional survey of currently employed commercial truck drivers will be conducted to obtain both independent and dependent variable data. Descriptive statistics and regression modeling will be used to characterize the relationship among factors, and results will be disseminated to the trucking industry and interested academic sectors. The results will include recommendations that can be used by firms to improve driver safety and health and decrease crash risk. Follow-on projects could be developed to improve implementation of recommendations from this project. This project will also feed into another NIOSH project titled Survey of Truck Driver Injury and Health by providing measures of fatigue and salient work organization concerns in trucking.

Project contact: Ted Hitchcock
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2003-2011


Minority Health and Work Organization: Research to Practice

Although the psychosocial work environment is known to affect physical and mental health, little is known about how this relationship contributes to racial/ethnic health disparities. This project will develop, assess, and use methods to detect workplace risk factors salient to minority health. It will also evaluate the success of current workplace occupational safety and health programs and practices in addressing minority health needs. Data collected will be used to generate information about the workplace risk factors to minority health and to generate guidelines for increasing the responsiveness of occupational safety and health programs and practices to the needs of minority workers. Guidelines and recommendations will be disseminated to (1) local and national community-based organizations and (2) work organizations that are racially and ethnically diverse. The impact of this information dissemination campaign will be evaluated.

Project contact: Rashaun Roberts
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2004-2012


Improving the Health and Safety of Minority Workers

The project involves conducting a mixed-methods study in Chicago, IL to investigate the relationship between organization of work factors, stress, and stress-related problems and to identify variables that moderate these relationships among minority and White workers. In the latter part of the project, a web-based survey will be administered to employers and community-based organizations (CBOs) to assess awareness of workplace risk factors found by the study to be the most salient to minority health and to evaluate current practices and policies intended to reduce exposure to these and other risk factors. The web-based survey will also evaluate perceptions of what organizations feel they need to create practices, programs and policies that are more responsive to protecting the safety and health of diverse workforces. The results of the web-based survey and the mixed-methods study will inform the development and dissemination of recommendations and other helpful resources to employers and CBOs.

Project contact: Rashaun Roberts
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2005-2013


Shift Work and Stroke: Use of Animal Models to Identify Critical Factors

Shift work (SW) may lead to increased risk for stroke. SW causes sleep deprivation and disturbed circadian rhythms accompanied by altered physiology and metabolism. The aspect(s) of SW contributing to increased stroke risk are unknown and difficult to study in humans, further the term SW covers many work schedules. Lab-based research will determine if sleep deprivation and/or circadian pattern disruption increases stroke induced brain injury in rats using a precise embolic stroke model and well-characterized biochemical and anatomical methods. Proteomic analysis of blood and brain tissue allows the identification of as yet unidentified biomarkers of stroke and shift work disturbance. Our data will (1) provide guidance as to the aspect of SW that should be examined in surveillance and epidemiological studies of stroke and (2) identify intervention targets.

Project contact: Diane Miller
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(304) 285-5732
Project period: 2007-2013


Priority Populations and Health Disparities

This project supports the activities of the coordinator for the Occupational Health Disparities program portfolio area. The coordinator is responsible for organizing the NIOSH internal priority populations and health disparities steering committee. Activities of this committee include setting priorities on proposed intramural NORA proposals, as well as developing a Strategic Plan and supporting other initiatives to improve the NIOSH infrastructure to develop projects related to occupational health disparities.

Project contact: Sherry Baron
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2005-2015


Priority Pops: Coordination Project

This project is the coordination project for a NORA research program on Preventing Barriers to Occupational Safety and Health in Priority Populations, including low income, minority, immigrant and/or older workers. This project will provide the coordination and integration of quantitative and qualitative data collected across four research projects. It will examine the role of multilevel factors in creating barriers to effective safety and health programs including 1) individual level factors such as language, literacy, previous knowledge and experience regarding occupational safety and health, 2) workplace level factors including provision of tools and training, management commitment to safety and health, supervisor and coworker social support; and 3) societal level factors such as discrimination, policies regarding undocumented immigrants and the overall economic prospects that allow workers to find alternative employment. The project will also analyze a variety of existing surveillance data sources to better describe the work and health of priority working populations. Finally, the project will improve coordination and dissemination of project outcomes as well as consultation with outside experts, promotion of improved training on research methodology for priority populations among internal NIOSH staff and dissemination of finding through national workshops and NIOSH and peer reviewed publications.

Project contact: Sherry Baron
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2005-2015


Surveillance

Health Survey of Minority Farm Operators

The farm operator survey is part of an ongoing surveillance project conducted through an interagency agreement between NIOSH and the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), in collaboration with DSR. Earmarked agricultural funds were used to support this project. USDA/NASS conducted telephone and in-person interviews for farm operators in all 50 states. Data on health conditions were collected in 2000, and additional data on hazardous exposures were collected in 2006. National prevalence estimates of occupational health conditions among white, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Hispanic, and female farm operators are provided. These data will allow researchers, and agricultural constituents to understand the scope of identified occupational health problems, and will allow others to target educational information and interventions to the most urgent of these.

Project contact: Toni Alterman
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 1999-2012


Surveillance Needs for Emergency and Epidemic Preparedness and Response

This project will provide a surveillance component as required to emergency-related programs included in the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response program. Surveillance Branch personnel have been asked to support activities for development of a surveillance system for worker absenteeism; development of methodology to conduct emergency worker surveillance and development of statistical environmental sampling strategies in case of a bioterrorism event.

Project contact: William Sieber
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2007-2012


National Health Interview Survey Occupational Health Module

The overall objective of this proposed project is to provide data on the prevalence and correlates of work-related health conditions in the U.S. population to the NORA Sector Councils and other stakeholders to supplement the data currently available through traditional occupational health surveillance systems. We will accomplish this by collecting and analyzing data on psychosocial exposures, work organization characteristics and work-relatedness of common health conditions (e.g., hypertension, COPD, asthma, arthritis, low back pain, and other musculoskeletal problems) through an occupational health supplement to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

This project will benefit all workers. The expected outputs are: 1) the NHIS occupational health supplement survey instrument, 2) a publicly available dataset, and 3) communication products developed by NIOSH and our partners to disseminate the key findings.

Project contact: Sara Luckhaupt
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2008-2012


Industry Health Surveillance with Group Medical Claims

Because few occupational disease cases are currently reported, this NORA project will create a model for a new form of occupational health surveillance using group medical insurance claims. Working with two major health insurers, claims data is used to calculate disease rates by detailed industry for asthma, COPD, pneumoconiosis, dermatitis, bladder cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, depression, parkinsonism, hearing loss, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and others. The health insurers will promote prevention of occupational disease with employers, using information on disease rates, medical costs, and assessment and prevention recommendations developed by NIOSH. Published results will also be used to determine the need for epidemiological studies and help set prevention priorities. Project databases are nearing completion, and industry disease rates have been calculated with one insurer's data.

Project Contact: Tim Bushnell
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project Period: 2005-2010


Survey of Truck Driver Injury and Health

This collaboration between four NIOSH divisions and numerous partners is developing and conducting a national survey that will provide for the occupational safety and health surveillance needs of truck drivers. Truck drivers will be asked to complete a questionnaire that will collect basic information on demographics, employment history, health and wellness, lifestyle, occupational injuries, work organization, fatigue, and sleep disorders. Dissemination of project findings by NIOSH and project partners will potentially have a large impact on the trucking industry, as the 2004 fatality rate for U.S. heavy and tractor-trailer drivers was 48.2 per 100,000 workers, compared with 4.4 per 100,000 for all workers. In 2004, the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses estimated 63,570 non-fatal injuries among heavy and tractor trailer drivers - the second highest number among all occupations.

Project Contact: Karl Sieber
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project Period: 2006-2011


Changing Nature of Work

The purposes of the project are to characterize the nature and extent of changes in work organization in the United States and their safety and health consequences, establish baseline data for tracking trends in work organization factors, and identify targets for intervention to improve worker safety and health. Outcomes from this project will include national estimates of the nature and scope of changes in the modern workplace and how these changes influence worker safety and health. These data will represent the best estimates of how work is changing and the effects of such changes on worker safety and health since 1977. It will also serve as a benchmark for researchers over the next decade.

Project Contact: Akinori Nakata
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project Period: 1999-2011


National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) Health Surveillance

This project involves an ongoing program of occupational health surveillance for migrant farmworkers in the United States, a vulnerable, poverty-stricken, minority group working in a high risk industry. The Department of Labor has conducted the NAWS annually since 1988, and in 1999 NIOSH funded an occupational health supplement. Questions included information about musculoskeletal disorders, chronic conditions, pesticide use, and access to care. A reduced set of health questions has been asked in subsequent years. Analysis and dissemination of collected data are underway. A new supplement concerning psychosocial factors, work organization, work stress, work structure, job insecurity, and mental health, was developed, underwent cognitive testing, focus groups, and piloting. This supplement Pending OMB and HSRB approval, data will be collected and submitted to NIOSH for analysis and dissemination in 2008-2010.

Project Contact: Toni Alterman
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project Period: 1999-2012


Hazard Surveillance Survey of Workers in the HCSA Sector

This project involves two separate but related hazard surveillance surveys: a survey of healthcare workers and a survey of healthcare management. The objective of the healthcare worker survey is to describe the prevalence and distribution of important health and safety hazards and perceptions, work practices, and use of exposure controls by occupation and type and size of establishment. The objective of the management survey is to describe institution-based health and safety management policies, programs, and practices by type and size of establishment. The surveys address broad health and safety issues such as work organization (e.g., work hours) worker survey, violence, physical demands (e.g., patient lifting), needlestick injuries, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE/C). Specific emphasis will be placed on charactering exposure determinants for antineoplastic agents, selected aerosolized medications, chemical sterilants, high level disinfectants, anesthetic gases, surgical smoke, and cleaning and sanitization agents. Information collected from the surveys will be useful in identifying research gaps and intervention priorities.

Project Contact: James Boiano
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project Period: 2007-2011


Occupational Supplement to the REGARDS Cohort Study

Objectives of this project are to characterize the distribution of selected exposures (e.g., job strain) in a large national population cohort of Caucasian and African American men and women and to examine the relationship between those exposures and CVD. We are partnering with investigators of the NIH-funded REGARDS Study to design an occupational survey for administration to the cohort. Data obtained will enable characterization of exposures by sector, identification of differences in exposure by race, sex, and geography, and examination of the role of workplace exposure on the occurrence of CVD. This project will advance the goals of the Health Disparities Cross-sector by providing occupational data on hard to reach workers (e.g., contingent), African Americans, and women from rural and urban areas across the United States.

Project contact: Leslie MacDonald
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project Period: 2009-2013


Methods

Analysis of Cardiovascular Effects of Stress in Police

The objectives of this research are to optimize the analyses of cortisol in saliva as a physiologic stress indicator and to determine whether this indicator is associated with adverse metabolic and cardiovascular consequences (e.g., diabetes and myocardial infarction). A cohort of police officers who experience high-stress levels as a characteristic of their occupation are participating in the study. Results from this study may be generalized to other workplaces and lead to improved intervention efforts.

Project contact: Michael Andrew
Health Effects Laboratory Division
(304) 285-6121
Project period: 2004-2014


Work Hours Risk Assessment and Methods Development

The purpose of this project is to develop methods for conducting risk assessment of work hours and various health outcomes. The six specific aims of this project are to (1) determine the utility of the “Health and Safety Outcomes Related to Health in Nurses” study, (2) formulate the variable of work hours using mixture modeling techniques, (3) compare this method to more standard ones, (4) determine health effects associated with work hours in the above data set, (5) conduct risk assessment of work hours and health outcomes in the above data set, and (6) conduct an economic analysis of the implications of work hours health effects relationships. The results of this project will have application to work hours issues among nurses, in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector, and other industry sectors in which work hours, and the related issues of fatigue and shift work, are of concern. This includes the public-safety sub-sector, mining (all sub-sectors), manufacturing, transportation/ warehousing/utilities, construction, agriculture/forestry/fishing, and wholesale/retail trade. This project also contributes to the work organization and stress-related disorders, authoritative recommendations, and economics NIOSH cross-sectors and furthers the NIOSH/EID/ Risk evaluation branch mission goals of methods development and risk assessment. The major outputs of this project will include scientific journal articles and presentations describing methods to represent the complex variable of work hours and use this variable in risk evaluation. Intermediate outcomes will include comparison to previous methods of formulating variables to characterize work hours. If the project is determined to be feasible, NIOSH recommendations will be developed.

Project contact: Sudhai Pandalai
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8302
Project period: 2010-2015


Work Organization Assessment Tools for Companies

A report by the Center for Mental Health Services and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) entitled “An Employer’s Guide to Behavioral Health Services,” recommends that “Employers should conduct an organizational assessment to evaluate the effects of work organization on employee health and job satisfaction” (Finch and Phillips, 2005). However, companies are currently lacking in the capacity to do such organizational assessments and are in need of a valid, usable organizational assessment tool. The objective of this developmental project is to assist companies by developing a web-based diagnostic tool for measuring work organization factors that influence employee health, well-being, and performance. The project will have three phases: 1) Survey variable selection; 2) development of a web-based work organization assessment tool, containing the survey items and company productivity and health measures; and, 3) development of a methodology and analysis plan for the testing of the work organization assessment tool that will be incorporated into a 2013 NORA competition proposal.

Project contact: Naomi Swanson
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2001-2011


Outcomes

Work Organization Predictors of Depression in Women

The goals of this study are to examine the relationship between nontraditional job stressors (e.g., work-family conflicts, harassment, discrimination), traditional job stressors (e.g., demands, control), and levels of depression in working women. Additionally, the moderating effects of specific workplace policies, practices, and procedures, which may attenuate the effects of work organization stressors on depression, will also be investigated. It is anticipated that findings from this study will enhance our knowledge of workplace antecedents of depression among working women and provide a better understanding of which, if any, workplace policies, programs, and procedures might reduce depression prevalence among working women.

Project contact: Naomi Swanson
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2001-2011


Estimating the Economic Burden of Job Stress

The study plan is to survey, compare, and contrast the available literature on economic burden of work stress. The objective is to gather evidences of existing estimates; to point out the gaps in those estimates (e.g., failures to account for the stress related diseases and presenteeism); to propose a comprehensive methodology that will identify the true economic burden of work stress and stress related disorders from the organizational perspective; and to estimate the societal burden of work stress. Costs of illness methodology is used and stress prevalence data is obtained from NIOSH Quality of Work Life (QWL) survey and other sources while medical expense data is obtained from varied sources like MarketScan, Integrated business Institute's (IBI) compensation claims, BLS and NCCI. The results will include societal cost estimates and organizational cost components that can be used by individual firms to measure their respective stress related financial burden.

Project contact: Tapas Ray
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2006-2010


Sector-Based Case Studies on Cost-Effective Interventions (PHP)

This project provides for strategic planning and implementation, internal and external capacity building, strategic partnership development, and piloting research ideas in the economics of occupational safety and health. Research on the economic conditions that influence the incidence and severity of occupational injury and illness and the economic consequences of occupational injuries or illnesses for workers, employers, and society provides guidance for the optimal allocation of limited research and prevention resources. Thus, economic research impacts every NORA Sector and NIOSH Cross-Sector program and is itself one of the identified NIOSH Cross-Sector programs. Expected outcomes include increased knowledge of economic issues both within and outside the Institute and utilization of NIOSH-developed tools by employers and others interested in more fully understanding the economics of occupational safety and health.

This project provides an economic analysis examining the cost benefit and /or health benefit of adopting engineering and process controls on drilling and workover rigs. It also initiates a pilot project for the development of a business case model for reducing firefighter MSDs and evaluates the effectiveness and economics of existing wellness programs through examination of costs and level of fitness among program participants.

Project contact: Abay Getahun
Office of the Director
(202) 245-0625
Project period: 2010-2012


Prevention

Mine Emergency Response, Escape and Rescue

A systematic miner escape and safe rescue strategy is necessary when mine accidents such as fires or explosions occur and lives are in danger. Miners have not always escaped US coal mine accidents and rescuers have not always reached trapped or barricaded miners in time to save their lives. Over the years, this research project was intended to enhance the safety and effectiveness of responders to mine emergencies by developing realistic training simulations and evaluating improved technology that can be used during evacuation, exploration, rescue, recovery, and firefighting operations. Overall, the intended outcomes of this project include: a measurable improvement in the readiness of well trained and equipped miners, mine rescue teams, and fire brigades to respond to mine fires or other emergencies; improved technology to escape from underground smoke-filled passageways; publications and technology transfer briefings, seminars, and workshops. The Guideline for Escape and Rescue will help the coal industry develop resilient miners who are capable of timely self-rescue under adverse conditions and hazardous atmospheres, first responders and mine rescue teams who are capable of rapid, state-of-the-art safe rescue and management organizations that effectively support these goals.

Project contact: Danrick Alexander
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 1999-2010


Tailoring OSH Training for Hispanic Immigrant Workers

This study will improve the effectiveness of occupational safety and health (OSH) training for recent (<2 years in U.S.) Hispanic immigrant workers (HIW) by addressing unique aspects of the HIW culture. This study has the following aims: 1) To better understand the differences in prior OSH knowledge, risk perception, risk acceptance and adjustment strategies between HIW, nonimmigrant Hispanic workers and non-Hispanic workers by conducting a series of focus groups and administering a questionnaire with workers from a range of industries. 2) To develop culturally tailored OSH training modules for HIW in construction and home healthcare. 3) To evaluate the effectiveness of culturally tailored OSH training modules as compared to untailored OSH training modules for HIW in construction and home healthcare.

Project contact: Don Eggerth
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8302
Project period: 2005-2013


Dissemination of Training Interventions for Home Health Care Workers

This project is designed to identify and disseminate best practices in training interventions for home care workers using demonstrated intervention models. The project will focus on identifying a broad range of training materials, fostering the development of partnerships for implementing training and arranging with stakeholders to build capacity and translate successful models into policy. The materials will be identified and categorized using standard course planning variables such as size and type of employer (training resources for large and small employers and self employed); nature of work setting (workers in fixed site or multiple locations); language; and types of hazards and health effects. Additionally the materials will be annotated to provide information on best practice use. The primary aim is to increase the number of workers who receive effective training about health and safety in home care.

Project contact: Sherry Baron
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2007-2010


Translating NIOSH Rest Break Research into Practice

This project will help to bridge the gap between NIOSH research findings and organizational practices. The project's primary objective is to translate existing results from NIOSH studies on the importance of rest breaks for computer-based workers into a marketable format that is usable and appealing to industry. Through collaborations with internal consultants, stakeholders, and internal and external communications specialists, informational materials on the effects of different rest break schedules and a marketing campaign for their dissemination will both be developed. Data will be collected to track how many organizations and individuals receive the materials and marketing campaign; perceptions of their relevance and utility; the rates at which organizations elect to implement supplementary rest break schedules based on the materials and campaign; and the effectiveness of the new schedules at reducing musculoskeletal and visual symptoms.

Project contact: Jessica Streit
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2008-2012


Work Organization and Workplace Violence

The purpose of this project is to provide data on workplace violence prevention programs and policies in various industries through a nationwide organizations survey. An expert panel at NIOSH developed a workplace violence module that was added to the National Organizations Survey (NOS) through an existing Interagency Agreement with the NSF. NIOSH is also collaborating on pilot work to develop a workplace violence intervention and evaluation process that can then be used by other organizations as an aid in developing their own workplace violence prevention strategies.

Project contact: Paula Grubb
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2002-2014


Hazard Recognition: Preventing Falls and Close Calls

There are two primary objectives of this study. The first objective is to evaluate two hazard recognition training interventions: (1) Hazard Recognition Training for Fall Prevention in Construction and (2) Construction Site Ladder (CSL) Exercise; both are to be conducted in regular training sessions at the Ironworker Training Program, District Council of Northern New Jersey. The second objective is to produce a taxonomy of close calls and risks for falls. Experienced ironworkers that have completed the two training interventions will be invited to participate in focus groups to discuss falls and close calls. The training evaluations will provide the necessary data for other trainers to consider adopting the training tools. The long term goal of the study is a more proactive safety climate in construction that identifies incipient hazards before the hazards are created.

Project contact: Ted Scharf / Kellie Pierson
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2007-2011


Understanding and Promoting OSH in Low Income Older Workers

The proposed study involves two complementary research components. In the first component, a prospective study will be conducted of an employment program for low income older workers called the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). SCSEP is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and provides training and employment opportunities for older workers. In the second component, archival data will be analyzed from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative longitudinal survey of approximately 10,000 older adults that began in 1992 and is currently on-going. Analysis of HRS data will focus on identifying a group of low income older workers that are roughly comparable to SCSEP participants, and then tracking them over a ten-year period. Together, the analysis of HRS and SCSEP data will provide a better understanding of the employment experiences of low income older workers, and identify practices/policies that promote worker health and well-being.

Project contact: James Grosch
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2006-2012


Training to Reduce Broad Risks of Work-related Sleep Loss

The purpose of this public health practice project is to produce training products that translate scientific information about the hazards that have been associated with shift work and long work hours, and, most importantly, relay strategies to reduce the risks. Tailored work schedule training products will be developed for workers, managers, and job trainees/students in nursing, trucking, retail, and mining/blue collar work. Focus groups of targeted worker groups will provide input to guide development of the products and feedback to refine the completed products. A small scale evaluation will assess nursing students for knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors before training and several weeks after the training. Final training videos, audio tapes, and online training products will be made available free of charge through NIOSH/CDC publications and the website. Future studies will be proposed to conduct more extensive evaluations of the impacts of the training.

Project contact: Claire Caruso
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2007-2011


Priority Populations: Homecare Workers

This is a five-year community based participatory research project that will develop and evaluate a model intervention program for one large population of predominately female low income, minority and immigrant home care workers (HCWS) in Alameda County, California. The focus of the intervention will be the development of an interactive checklist and accompanying educational materials aimed at improving awareness and knowledge about safety and health risk factors, and improving the ability of HCWs, their consumers, social workers and others to identify simple, available interventions. This intervention will address the most common hazards for HCWs including frequent lifting and bending resulting in musculoskeletal problems and work stress resulting from high work demands and insufficient resources.

The target population is multi-lingual (English, Spanish and Chinese) and are of low literacy. The project will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to gather information about HCW safety and health needs and available materials and resources to address those needs. NIOSH investigators will construct a prototype of a checklist using information from focus groups, key informant interviews and observational site visits. Community outreach workers using peer education techniques will field test the efficacy of the intervention materials with other HCWs and consumers. The completed checklist will be evaluated using a randomized experimental design to examine the HCWs' and their consumers' improvement in safety and health awareness and ability to identify and change hazards in the work environment utilizing the checklist materials.

Project contact: Sherry Baron
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2005-2011


Training to Design Age-Friendly Workplace for Retail Work

Despite an aging workforce in the Wholesale and Retail Trade (WRT) sector, very few employers have developed specific programs or procedures to address the safety and health needs of these older workers. The current project takes an important first step in this process by developing a training workshop designed specifically for workers and managers in the WRT sector. The goal of the workshop is to educate and train both WRT workers and managers regarding the effects of aging, and provide practical strategies for creating an age-friendly workplace.

Project contact: James Grosch
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2009-2012


Training to Design Age-Friendly Workplace for Nurses

Hospital-based nurses face a wide range of working conditions that pose increasing risks with age. An important first step in addressing these risks is to educate and train both nurses and managers regarding the effects of aging, and provide practical strategies for creating an age-friendly workplace. The current project seeks to accomplish this goal through the development of a training workshop designed specifically for nurses who work in a hospital environment.

Project contact: James Grosch
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2009-2012


Impact of a Truck Driver Public Health Practice Project

This project will evaluate new training products to reduce possible broad impacts of work-related sleep loss". The truck driver training will educate drivers via “public service” audio recordings, web-pages, and an educational pamphlet to convey the need for sleep; the dangers of sleepiness and fatigue; health risks; functional deficits associated with difficult work scheduling patterns; countermeasures; and shared responsibility of the workplace and the worker to reduce risks. The project will assess the impact of the NIOSH fatigue training tool on short and long-term changes in knowledge, attitude, perceived behavioral control, and intended behaviors, within the truck driver population.

This project is extremely timely given the U.S. DOT, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) newly established mandatory training requirement for entry-level operators of commercial motor vehicles who are required to possess a commercial driver's license [49 U.S.C. 3502(b)]. This project relates to the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (TWU) sector and specifically addresses Strategic Goal 1- Reduce lost-workday occupational traumatic injury and fatality rates in the TWU sector and Intermediate Goal 1.1a- Employers will incorporate effective interventions into their policies and procedures to prevent work-related injuries associated with fatigue among truck drivers. Furthermore, numerous stakeholders at recent NIOSH town hall meetings have expressed concern about the health and safety risks associated with fatigued operation within the commercial transportation sectors.

Project contact: Ted Hitchcock
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2009-2012


Gain OSH Benefits in Older Workers by Improving Their Sleep

Shift work and long work hours and other causes of poor sleep and circadian rhythms are linked to a growing number of health and safety risks. Risks include injuries and worker errors, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal disorders, mental disturbances, and adverse reproductive outcomes. In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer announced shift work with circadian disruption is a probable carcinogen. U.S. retail workers and their managers have limited knowledge about these risks. Demanding work hours are common in many sales jobs. In addition as workers age, sleep disturbances become more common which can make work-related sleep loss more problematic. Poor sleep can also exacerbate symptoms and progression of other existing chronic diseases that are prevalent in older workers. Information documents that translate current scientific findings would help get this knowledge to workers and managers. This project will develop fatigue and work schedule risk prevention information documents to educate workers and their managers in the retail wholesale sector. The expected products of this project are printed educational materials. These products will be made available through CDC Publications and the NIOSH web site. We will work with our industry and union partners to disseminate announcements that the documents are available. The end user of the educational materials will be workers and their managers.

Project contact: Claire Caruso
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2009-2012


Customized Job Stress Products for Correction Officers

While there are a number of published studies on job stress as it relates to corrections work, including several studies that indicate that job stress has deleterious effects on correction officer (CO) health, few products have been developed to date to equip COs, their supervisors, managers, employers, and practitioners concerned with CO health with tools to prevent and/or reduce the high levels of job stress evident within this occupational group. Consequently, the purpose of this project is to develop, market, and disseminate a customized collection of job stress materials specifically tailored for COs. This project will produce a state-of-the-art booklet and DVD, pocket guide and, desk reference guide which address stress specifically in correctional work. It is anticipated that researchers and practitioners, associations and other organizations concerned with corrections will access and utilize these tools to help reduce stress in this corrections officers and other corrections personnel. The project will also produce a minimum of one journal article on job stress and corrections. It is anticipated that there will be a number of citations of the article by researchers external to NIOSH.

Project contact: Rashaun Roberts
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2009-2012


Creation of a Series of Home Healthcare Fast Fact Cards

An aging population and rising hospital costs have created new and increasing demand for innovative healthcare delivery systems in the United States. Home healthcare provides vital medical assistance to ill, elderly, convalescent, or disabled persons in their own homes and is one of the most rapidly expanding industries in this country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that home healthcare employment will grow 49% between 2006–2016, making it the fastest growing occupation of the next decade. Home healthcare workers, while contributing greatly to the well-being of others, face unique risks on the job to their own personal health and safety. During 2007 alone, 27,400 recorded injuries occurred among more than 896,800 home healthcare workers. A NIOSH Hazard Review: Occupational Hazards in Home Healthcare has been created and is on schedule to be published during FY10. The Hazard Review is a 50+ page document aimed to raise awareness and increase understanding of the safety and health risks involved in home healthcare. This document is geared to the owners, managers and workers in the home healthcare industry and suggests prevention strategies (for managers and workers) to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses that too frequently occur among workers in this industry. The NIOSH Hazard Review will be the foundation of a series of six easy-to-read Fast Fact cards that will be targeted directly to the home healthcare workers.

Project contact: Laura Hodson
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8302
Project period: 2010-2012


Developing OS&H Resources for an Aging Workforce

The goal of this small NORA project is to develop educational OS&H resources to help organizations meet the challenges posed by an aging workforce. These resources will be developed in collaboration with the Institute for Workplace Innovation (iwin) at the University of Kentucky and will include a report of “best practices,” an on-line tool-kit for organizations, and sector-specific webinars that will discuss strategies for creating an age-friendly workplace. Resources will be based on data collected from a cross-section of organizations in Kentucky and will be disseminated by both NIOSH and iwin to companies in Kentucky, as well as non-profit organizations that represent older workers (e.g., AARP, National Council on Aging) throughout the United States.

Project contact: James Grosch
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2010-2013


Safety Climate Training for Construction Foremen

The goal of this small NORA project is to develop and evaluate a one-day (or 8-hour) training workshop on safety climate that will be developed for construction foremen. The workshop will be developed in collaboration with CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, and based on input from three external safety climate experts who have conducted research in construction settings. The content and impact of the workshop will be evaluated and feedback used to revise the workshop. A “train the trainer” approach will then be adopted so that participating employee organizations will have workers with the knowledge and expertise to continue safety climate training in the construction sector after the project is completed. Training materials developed for the workshop (e.g., trainer’s manual, checklists, descriptions of supervisory best practices, etc.) will be made available on-line and disseminated to appropriate employee/employer organizations in the construction sector.

Project contact: James Grosch
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2010-2013

 

 
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