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	wholesale and retail trade

Activities: NIOSH Research Projects

NIOSH Wholesale and Retail Trade Initiative

The following list of projects addresses various occupational health issues relevant to the NIOSH Wholesale and Retail Trade sector. Because the trade sector represents a relatively new focus for NIOSH research and funding, the projects that are listed do not directly focus on safety and health issues in the trade sector nor directly reference wholesale and retail trade issues. The projects selected for listing here, however, provide examples of projects that could easily be tailored to study wholesale and retail trade issues. A number of the projects provide ideas for organizing and disseminating surveillance information and for the collection of injury and exposure data. In addition, projects are listed that deal with topics known to be a concern of workers and employers in the trade sector, such as: shift work, violence, and small business solutions. This list is a first step to coordinate NIOSH-wide activities aimed at reducing causes of traumatic occupational fatalities and improving the safety and health of workers in the wholesale/retail trade industry. Major objectives for FY07 are to (1) continue to build capacity and interest within NIOSH, (2) seek external input to help inform and guide NIOSH research, (3) support research contracts and other collaborative activities, and (4) coordinate submission of NORA FY07 project and program proposals for the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector in response to the NORA FY07 RFA.

NIOSH Surveillance Coordination

This project supports a number of surveillance activities to advance the implementation of the strategic plan. The goal is to advance the usefulness of surveillance information for prevention by (1) providing surveillance coordination and support NIOSH-wide surveillance program development and evaluation, (2) actively promoting the dissemination, use, and institutionalization of the NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, including seminars and visits to the principal surveillance and research divisions, and NIOSH external partners, and (3) adapting the NIOSH Homepage to disseminate the E-chartbook and sector-related information.

Project contact: Marie Haring Sweeney
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4102
Project period: ongoing

NIOSH Workers Compensation Research

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (OBWC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are partnering on a number of research projects to improve health and safety in Ohio wholesale retail trade (WRT) companies:

  • Workers compensation data trending for WRT sector 1999-2009
  • Online survey tool to identify most effective safety and health management practices and programs
  • Intervention studies (sponsored through the OBWC Safety Grant$ program ) where WRT companies will receive matching funds to put into place engineering controls and participate in follow-up studies to determine the effectiveness of the controls in reducing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and slip/ trip/ falls (STFs)

The goals are (1) to improve health and safety while reducing workers comp cases and costs for WRT companies, (2) to identify key safety and health programs and interventions that are most effective and have the highest return on investment in controlling MSDs and STFs in WRT, (3) to share evidenced-based best safety and health practices, and (4) to provide wholesalers and retailers with valuable benchmarking information on company performance for safety and health. Participation in these projects is voluntary.

Project contact: Steve Wurzelbacher
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4322
Project period: ongoing

Data Acquisition and Management

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. A secondary goal is to develop a datamart including exposure-related information from a variety of sources. The main limitation of sector-based research is the lack of definitive exposure information. The BLS provides some indirect indicators of exposure or risk factors in its census of injuries and fatalities associated with an event or exposure. The exposure databases will serve as a repository that can be used to support sector driven surveillance, research, and intervention priority setting and project activities.

Project contact: Jim Boiano
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: ongoing

Emerging Issues in Injury Surveillance

The goals of this project are to (1) explore new or previously under-recognized occupational injury problems and evaluate new sources of traumatic occupational injury data, (2) develop and publish new recommendations to prevent occupational injury, and (3) develop and disseminate these data, including the use of new formats and in association with appropriate partners. This emerging issues project will thus address a variety of topics that will include new (or newly appreciated significant) occupational injury problems; new ways to obtain, process, evaluate and disseminate occupational injury data; and responses to the continual presentation of new recommended safety guidelines or standards. Specific activities include providing expert advice and assistance to developers and end-users of injury surveillance systems and communicating NIOSH data to the public. The project will thus involve a variety of research and service efforts directed at occupational injury surveillance issues.

Project contact: John Myers
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-6005
Project period: ongoing

Work Schedule Designs to Reduce Job Stress

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of changing work schedules to reduce risk of injury or illness due to stress and fatigue. Pre- and post-intervention data collected by external partners will be evaluated to determine which work schedules are most effective in reducing health-related problems (e.g., work absences, visits to health clinics, injury and incident rates, changes in somatic complaints) and behavioral or psychological indices (e.g., changes in perceived stress, fatigue, rest and recovery, and satisfaction with domestic and other personal relations). Findings will be used to develop work schedule design recommendations that can be adapted to various industry sectors. These recommendations will be disseminated through trade and professional publications.

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

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 will develop a workplace violence module to be added to the National Organizations Survey (NOS) through an existing Interagency Agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). NIOSH will also collaborate on pilot work to develop a workplace violence intervention and evaluation process that could then be used by other organizations as an aid in developing their own workplace violence prevention strategies. The goals of the project are to develop (1) an intervention and evaluation strategy for workplace violence and psychological aggression that can later be used for a comparative or evaluative study, (2) a working solutions sheet for workplace psychological aggression risk factors awareness that can be distributed to organizations, and (3) pilot test for assessment and evaluation that can be used by retail businesses.

Project contact: Paula Grubbs
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: ongoing

Small Business Solutions Internet Web Site

The goal is to provide a solutions internet database to small business owners, managers, and workers. This project will enhance the NIOSH small business internet site to transfer the results of current research, solutions-based information, and technology transfer information to small business workplaces. This user-friendly internet site will enable small businesses to find solutions to various occupational safety and health concerns. The information presented on the site will include hazard information and solutions (substitution, engineering control, work practices, etc.) targeted to specific small business segments. Through this project a Small Business Safety and Health Solutions Database will be developed consisting of information specifically targeted to the interests of small businesses and their workers. This database will provide a first step towards the transfer of much needed, practical, occupational safety and health information into workplace practice for this hard-to-reach, but extremely important sector of the American workforce accounting for 98% of industries employing less than 100 workers and accounts for 56% of the U.S. workforce.

Project contact: Carol Stephenson
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8302
Project period: ongoing

Useful Links

The National Federation of Independent Businesses

OSHA Small Business Handbook

Small Business Resource Guide

Small Business Assistance and Outreach Program
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Tom Cunningham, Coordinator
(513) 533-8325