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NIOSH Welcomes National Academies' Panel Report From Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing Program Review

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Bowles (202) 245-0633
December 19, 2007

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) welcomed a report Dec. 19 that presents findings and recommendations from a review by a committee of the National Academies. At NIOSH's request, the independent scientific review committee examined NIOSH's strategic research program in the area of preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry sector.

The review committee assessed the research program's scientific soundness, relevance, and impact. The 311-page report presents the detailed results of the public review, which began in 2006, including recommendations for improving NIOSH's program. The National Academies report, "Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Research at NIOSH," is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nas/AgForFish/review.html. This is one of nine such reviews that the National Academies commissioned, at NIOSH's request, to examine NIOSH strategic research in various program areas.

"We thank the eminent members of the committee, the National Academies staff, and NIOSH staff for their hard work in this ambitious project," NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., said. "NIOSH will review the findings and recommendations with great interest, and we will consult with our partners and stakeholders to incorporate the committee's work as part of our program planning. The record that flows from this process -- which includes the December 2006 evidence package from NIOSH that helped to inform the committee's review, public comments on the evidence package, today's report from the committee, and further public discussions to follow -- will stand as a tremendous resource for scientists and policymakers for years to come."

The report by the National Academies committee states in part:

"The [NIOSH agriculture, forestry, and fishing] Program has conducted decent work but many opportunities for improvement remain, including the setting of priorities with stakeholder input and a focus on research of utmost importance to and impact on AFF worker safety and health. The new challenge is to create a cohesive program that establishes strategic goals with the input of stakeholders so that researchers will understand the issues facing AFF workers, conduct surveillance of all subpopulations of AFF workers, and create a research-to-practice stream of information that will have an impact on the stakeholder communities. Successful implementation of the research to practice component of the AFF Program will need to include participatory involvement at the ground level, data to answer stakeholder questions, identify how stakeholders access information, and create continuous discussion with stakeholders."

"NIOSH appreciates the committee's recognition of the challenges that we and our partners face in addressing the occupational safety and health needs of the diverse agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry," Dr. Howard said. "As Dr. Paul D. Gunderson, the Chair of the review committee, notes in his preface to the report, this workforce is engaged in 'noble activity that secures the nation's present and future fate.' It incorporates men and women from many diverse walks of life, cultures, and age groups. The work they perform is essential to our society, and the nature of this work often places them at elevated risk for work-related injury and illness. The efforts that we and our partners make to solve persistent traditional problems, while predicting and preventing emerging hazards, have tremendous impact for the public good."

NIOSH asked the National Academies to conduct the public reviews in order to increase the transparency of NIOSH's programs, and to help assure that the programs are based on high-quality, relevant, results-oriented science. Further information about the NA reviews, including evidence packages, committee reports, and other documentation, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nas/.

 
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