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Volume 15, Number 11 (March 2018)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

NIOSH Releases Updated Strategic Plan

In February, NIOSH released its updated Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2019–2023. This new plan covers the breadth of the research and service work at NIOSH and is organized into the following seven strategic goals, representing the health and safety issues facing the U.S. workforce:

  1. Reduce occupational cancer, cardiovascular disease, adverse reproductive outcomes, and other chronic diseases.
  2. Reduce occupational hearing loss.
  3. Reduce occupational immune, infectious, and dermal disease.
  4. Reduce occupational musculoskeletal disorders.
  5. Reduce occupational respiratory disease.
  6. Improve workplace safety to reduce traumatic injuries.
  7. Promote safe and healthy work design and well-being.

To support the seven strategic goals, NIOSH created two sets of intermediate and activity goals. The first set is comprised of research goals that are shared by multiple NIOSH programs, fostering collaboration across the Institute. Sector, cross-sector, and core and specialty programs first reviewed the draft National Occupational Research Agendas (NORA) for the third decade of NORA written by NORA councils, thinking about which objectives or parts of objectives NIOSH is well suited to undertake. NIOSH programs also weighed additional factors, such as mandates from Congress and the Executive Branch, stakeholder input, innovative ideas, and emerging issues. The programs developed research priorities from these inputs using the Burden, Need, and Impact Method (BNI Method). This method helps NIOSH to decide how to allocate its research dollars since NIOSH is always faced with more research needs than we have resources to address. While the BNI method has been used at the individual project level for the past several years, this is the first time it has been used on a broader programmatic level.

The second set of intermediate and activity goals is comprised of service goals that support the NIOSH mission. These activities (such as Health Hazard Evaluations, respirator certifications, and radiation dose evaluation) offer occupational health and safety services directly to workers, their representatives, employers, and other partners. Service goals reflect our commitment to improving or maintaining the timeliness, relevance, and quality of these services.

While our aim is to complete each of these goals, we also know that new issues may emerge or priorities may shift in response to changing conditions over the next five years. As we have in the past, NIOSH will adjust how and where we allocate our energies and resources to ensure we can continue to address the most pressing occupational safety and health issues.

I am pleased to see NIOSH usher in this new era. The Strategic Plan will help us prioritize our focus and maximize our impact on occupational safety and health.


Early Registration Ending Soon for 2018 Total Worker Health Symposium

Early registration for the 2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health® closes on March 31. The symposium will be held at Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington, DC, on May 8–11. Explore selected presentations in the At-a-Glance Symposium Agenda now available on the symposium website. Don’t miss your chance to join researchers and practitioners from around the world, discussing the latest science and practice around Total Worker Health approaches.

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS) Abstract & Session Submission Extension

The deadline for abstract and session submissions for the 7th National Occupational Injury Research Symposium has been extended to March 16. NOIRS will be held in Morgantown, West Virginia, at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place on October 16–18.

NIOSH and NHCA Present 2018 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™

On February 16, NIOSH, in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), presented the 2018 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™ to the U.S. Army’s Tactical Communications and Protective System (TCAPS). The award honors those who have contributed to the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus through effective practices or innovations directed to those who are exposed to noise at work. Nominations for the next Safe-in-Sound awards will be accepted until July 15.

Join Us for the 18th Annual Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Conference

Be a hero at your facility and champion safe patient handling and mobility. Attend the 2018 Annual Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Conference. Complete agenda and list of speakers are available here. The conference is co-sponsored by NIOSH.

New NIOSH Studies Examine Hearing Loss Prevalence in Workers

  • This study found that the prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers in the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (AFFH) sector is 15%. However, when researchers examined industries within the sector, they found as many as 36%—or 1 in 3 noise-exposed workers—have hearing loss. This is the first study to estimate prevalence and risk for hearing loss for subsectors within the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting industry sector. The study was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Learn more.
  • This study breaks down the prevalence of hearing loss experienced by workers in the Health Care and Social Assistance (HSA) sector. The overall prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers was found to be 19%, while some subsectors within the HSA had up to 31% prevalence of hearing loss. The study was published recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Learn more.

New Study Examines Nonfatal Injuries among Law Enforcement Officers

An estimated 669,100 law enforcement officers were treated in emergency departments across the nation for nonfatal injuries between 2003 and 2014, according to a new NIOSH study. The study, which is the first to examine nonfatal injuries among officers on a national scale, was published online this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Learn more.

American Journal of Public Health features Work as a Social Determinant of Health

The March issue of the American Journal of Public Health has a special section on work. Its main article, a collaboration between NIOSH and a researcher from Indiana University, points out the absence of occupation in public health research, including research on health disparities. The authors clarify some of the confusion and ambiguities about work as a social determinant of health and illustrate the possibilities and benefits of integrating work into the general public health inquiry.

Upcoming Webinars on Total Worker Health and the 2018 Construction Safety Stand-Down

  • The NIOSH Total Worker Health® program will host a free webinar “Numbers to Know How: Linking Research to Healthier Workplace Practices” on March 21, 1:00–2:30 p.m. EST. In this webinar, an expert panel of speakers will discuss challenges facing today’s workplaces and the role of health survey data to inform Total Worker Health interventions. Featured speakers will discuss data and results from the Workplace Health in America Survey, the National Health Interview Survey, and the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance System. The webinar will highlight the link between work and health and the importance of Total Worker Health interventions to protect and promote worker safety, health, and well-being. Free continuing education credits for this activity are pending. Learn more or register for the webinar here.
  • NIOSH and partners will host a free webinar “The National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction: Getting Ready for the 2018 Safety Stand-Down” on March 21 at 2:00 p.m. EST. This hour-long webinar will bring together leaders from all three organizations to showcase the past successes of the campaign and its major event, the National Safety Stand-Down, as well as to highlight plans for 2018. This year’s Stand-Down is scheduled for May 7–11. Learn more or register for the webinar here.
fatigued driving app

Use NIOSH Animated GIFs to Promote Road Safety

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety now features all of its road safety animated images—or GIFs—in a single location. Visit our animated images webpage to download motor vehicle GIFs related to seat belt safety, fatigued and distracted driving, and young and older drivers, among other topics.

safe workplace sound business logo

Love Safety & Health?

Join the Safe + Sound Campaign, organized by OSHA, NIOSH, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers, The Center for Construction Research and Training, the National Safety Council, and the Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association. Businesses of all sizes can access free activities, materials, graphics, templates, webinars, and other resources to promote the importance of safety and health programs in the workplace.

Monthly Features


Comment Now On Draft NORA Agendas

Final NORA Agendas Now Available

After considering public comments and making revisions, two NORA councils have finalized their Agendas.

Upcoming Public Safety Webinars

The Public Safety Sector Council is in the planning stages for webinars during 2018. The April webinar will focus on “Firearms Noise Hazards and Suppressors,” and the July webinar topic will focus on “Fatigue in EMS Risk Management.” To attend one of these webinars, contact William Haskell at

If you have any questions, contact the NORA coordinator.

News From Our Partners

Agricultural Safety Awareness Week: March 4-10

The NIOSH-funded Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health (Ag Centers) are partnering with the American Farm Bureau Federation to promote Agricultural Safety Awareness Week. This event will happen March 4-10 as part of the Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Safety Awareness Program (ASAP). Each day of this week, a different safety focus will be highlighted by the Ag Centers and county and state Farm Bureaus: Monday, March 5 – Hearing, Tuesday, March 6 – Respiratory, Wednesday, March 7 – Impaired Driving, Thursday, March 8 – Fire, and Friday, March 9 – General Health. The theme of Agricultural Safety Awareness Week is “No One Can Take Your Place.” For more information on this event, visit the ASAP Facebook page. The Ag Centers’ YouTube channel also has new content and fresh ideas about how to stay safe while working in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Washington State Introduces SHARP Stats

Workers, employers, policymakers, and others want data about workplace injuries and illnesses. Washington State’s Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program created SHARP Stats, which are one-page publications to communicate quick facts about workplace safety and health in a visual format. Topics for SHARP Stats have included injuries and illnesses in the cannabis industry, injury rates among janitors, temporary worker injury claims, suicide by occupation, and construction falls claims and costs, among others.

New Spanish Website for Hearing Protection

¿Habla español? Share healthy hearing with your community! Find information on preventing noise-induced hearing loss with the new Spanish website from the It’s a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing.® campaign of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Register Now for the 2018 SouthON Meeting

Registration is open for the 7th Annual Southeastern States Occupational Network (SouthON) Meeting, April 5–6, in Savannah, Georgia. The keynote speaker this year is Van Ingram from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy who will speak on the Kentucky Response to the Opioid Epidemic. This year, the SouthON meeting will be held in collaboration with the regional Education & Research Centers (ERCs). The ERCs will be holding their own meetings on April 3–4 at the same venue. Learn more.

FACE Reports

Tow Truck Driver Struck and Killed by Van While Entering His Tow Truck—Kentucky
A tow truck driver successfully loaded a disabled pickup truck onto his tow truck on the shoulder of a four-lane, undivided highway. As the driver was entering the tow truck cab, an oncoming van swerved into the emergency lane and struck him, causing fatal injuries. The tow truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tow Truck Driver Struck and Killed by Passenger Vehicle While Securing Disabled Vehicle onto Flatbed Tow Truck—Kentucky
A tow truck driver was loading a disabled vehicle onto his tow truck on the shoulder of a four-lane, controlled-access highway. As the driver was securing the vehicle to his tow truck, a vehicle failed to move over and struck the tow truck driver and the tow truck. The victim later died at the hospital.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Report

Fire Fighter Suffers a Heart Attack at Brush Fire and Dies 8 Days Later—Vermont
A paid-on-call fire fighter responded to a brush fire and drove a water tanker to the scene. The fire fighter assisted with suppression operations, and after 10 minutes, he collapsed. The fire fighter was transported to a medical center, and he died 8 days later.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Federal Poultry Inspectors Exposures to Chemical Disinfectants
HHE Program investigators found low levels of peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid on inspectors working in the evisceration area. We recommended the employer provide refresher training on the prevention of slips, trips, and falls and discontinue use of latex gloves. For more information click here.

Recommendations Provided to Control Dust Exposures in a Spice Shop
As some spice dusts have been reported to be allergens and finding spice dust exposures to employees grinding, blending, and mixing spices, HHE Program investigators recommended installing local exhaust ventilation, improving work practices, and requiring respirator use until local exhaust is installed. For more information click here.

What’s New on the NIOSH Science Blog? Join the Discussion Today!

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH or the Advisory Board), NIOSH 

The notice was posted on January 26. A public meeting will be held on March 13, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 

The notice was posted on January 17. Comments are due by March 19.

Impact Statement; Site Acquisition and Campus Consolidation for CDC/NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio 

The notice was posted on February 9. Comments are due by March 26. A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST.

Fatigued Driving Among Oil and Gas Extraction workers: Risks and Interventions 

The notice was posted on January 26. Comments are due by March 27.

Draft—National Occupational Research Agenda for Services 

The notice was posted January 29. Comments are due by March 30.

Assessment of Occupational Injury Among Fire Fighters Using a Follow-back Survey—New 

The notice was posted on February 13. Written comments are due by April 16.

NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings: Proposed Additions to the NIOSH Hazardous Drug List 2018 

The notice was posted on February 14. Written comments are due by April 16.

Law Enforcement Officer Motor Vehicle Crash and Struck-by Fatality Investigations; Notice of Public Meeting; Request for Comments 

The notice was posted on January 17. Electronic or written comments are due by April 17.

EEOICPA Dose Reconstruction Interviews and Forms—Extension 

The notice was posted on February 20. Written comments are due by April 23.

World Trade Center Health Program; Request for Nominations of Scientific Peer Reviewers of Proposed Additions to the List of WTC-related Health Conditions 

The notice was posted on March 22, 2017. Nominations must be postmarked or submitted electronically by February 1, 2019.

Call for Abstracts

19th Conference of the International Society for Respiratory Protection
Deadline for papers and posters submission is March 15.

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)—Extended
Deadline for abstract and session submissions has been extended to March 16.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Regional Education & Research Centers (ERCs) Meeting
April 3–4, Savannah, Georgia

7th Annual Southeastern States Occupational Network (SouthON) Meeting
April 5–6, Savannah, Georgia

Kentucky Conference on Health Communication
April 12–14, Lexington, KY

Safe Patient Handling and Mobility/Falls Conference
April 16–20, Orlando, FL

2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®
May 8–11, Bethesda, MD

Fifth International Fishing Industry Safety and Health Conference (IFISH 5)
June 10–13, St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

19th Conference of the International Society for Respiratory Protection
September 15–20, Denver, CO

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2018
October 16–18, Morgantown, WV

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences is available on the NIOSH website.

This Month in History

In 1991, the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program investigated the work-related death of a tree trimmer electrocuted by an aerial bucket truck. The investigation led to several recommendations to prevent future incidents, including on-site surveys to control potential risks before work begins. The FACE Program studies how to prevent work-related deaths. More information is available: Tree Trimming Groundsman Electrocuted After Contacting an Energized Aerial Bucket Truck in South Carolina.