Western States Division (WSD)

Worker Safety and Health Challenges in the West

The Western U.S. continues to experience rapid population growth and encompasses a broad range of work environments and workplace safety and health issues. Workers in the Western states may face unique hazards, including climate extremes, long distance commutes, working at altitude, and working at remote worksites. As a result, these workers consistently suffer from some of the Nation’s highest occupational fatality rates.

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Western States Division Mission

The NIOSH Western States Division (WSD) conducts research to reduce a wide variety of occupational safety and health hazards and has three office locations: Spokane, WA, Denver, CO, and Anchorage, AK.

WSD aims to improve safety and health for workers through research and intervention development and assessment, as well as by providing technical assistance in the West in collaboration with other NIOSH assets and partners.

The WSD employs the public health approach for its research programs, including the:

  • Identification of occupational safety and health hazards through data collection and analysis
  • Prioritization of research activities based on burden, need and potential for impact
  • Development of tailored, effective interventions designed to address the identified occupational hazards
  • Implementation of NIOSH’s Research to Practice (r2p) approach to promote the use, adoption, and adaptation of NIOSH knowledge, interventions, and technologies
  • Collaboration with partners during all phases of our work
WSD Program Areas

The NIOSH Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies (CMSHS) conducts and supports research to improve safety and health for maritime workers, which are found in every U.S. state and across multiple industries and occupations, including:

Program Manager:  Alice M. Shumate, MPH, PhD
Program Coordinator: Abbas Virji, MSc, ScD, CIH, FAIHA 
Assistant Program Coordinator: Laura Syron, MPH, PhD

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/maritime/ Go to page

Contact the NIOSH Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies:

The mission of the NIOSH Oil and Gas Extraction Program is to conduct research, work with partners, and develop and communicate workplace solutions to improve worker safety and health in the oil and gas extraction industry. Our research activities include:

  • Analyzing surveillance data and conducting epidemiologic studies to identify leading causes of death and injury.
  • Characterizing exposures to hazardous agents, such as chemicals, minerals, and noise to better understand the hazards and risks.
  • Developing and evaluating engineering controls for the workplace.
  • Investigating possible mechanisms of disease in oil and gas workers through laboratory research.
  • Communicating and distributing information to raise awareness of hazards and promote NIOSH recommendations.

Program Manager:  Ryan Hill, MPH
Program Coordinator: David Caruso, MA 
Assistant Program Coordinator: Alejandra Ramirez-Cardenas, MPH

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/oilgas/ Go to page
https://www.cdc.gov/programs/oilgas/ Go to page

Contact the NIOSH Oil and Gas Extraction Sector Program:

WROE was created to support WSD’s work that does not fall into the NIOSH-wide CMSHS and Oil and Gas Extraction programs. Many, but not all, WROE projects are related to industries and occupations that started in or are predominant in the West. WROE includes:

Program Manager: Christa Hale, DVM, MPH, Dipl. ACVPM (Epi)

Contact the NIOSH Western Region Outreach and Epidemiology Program:

Page last reviewed: July 14, 2022