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Volume 15, Number 6 (October 2017)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

NIOSH Recognizes National Nanotechnology Day

On October 9, the U.S. nanotechnology community will come together to celebrate the second National Nanotechnology Day. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale with the goal of developing new and improved advancements in medicine, consumer products, energy, materials, manufacturing, and other fields. The annual event is an opportunity to inform the public about nanotechnology, share scientific accomplishments that benefit industry and society, and promote its future possibilities and benefits.

As with any new technology, it is important to identify and mitigate potential hazards or risks. NIOSH is the leading federal agency conducting research and providing guidance on the occupational safety and health implications and applications of nanotechnology. NIOSH is committed to disseminating knowledge on the responsible advancement of this technology and has developed focused practices for small businesses, medical surveillance of nanotechnology workers, and effective engineering controls. NIOSH has also produced risk assessments including recommended occupational exposure limits for ultrafine titanium dioxide and carbon nanotubes. More information is available on our website.

In recognition of National Nanotechnology Day, NIOSH is bringing together Wikipedians and scientists to lead an effort to update Wikipedia articles on health and safety information pertaining to nanomaterials. Wikipedia editors from the Midwest will join NIOSH scientists in Cincinnati to learn the latest advances in nanotechnology health and safety and communicate that information as content on Wikipedia. This effort will provide the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office with additional resources to share with the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative.

We hope you can join us on this day, and throughout the month, in celebrating nanotechnology and sharing information and resources to protect the nanotechnology workforce.

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month
Occupational hearing loss can happen as a result of workers’ exposure to loud noise. Noise levels over 85 decibels can be hazardous to hearing. If you have to raise your voice to speak to someone an arm’s length away, the noise levels may be loud enough to damage your hearing. This October, remind your colleagues that noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable. To learn more, visit NIOSH’s website for noise and hearing loss prevention and read our feature article on hearing protection.

Join Us for a #TeenDriver Twitter Chat on Oct 18
Learn how parents/guardians and employers play an important role in keeping young drivers safe on the road. As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, NIOSH and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will co-host a #TeenDriver Twitter chat on October 18 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. Follow @NIOSH_MVSafety and @NHTSAgov for more information.

New Respiratory Protection Program Training Available
NIOSH and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) recently released a new Respiratory Protection Program Training. The program includes a respiratory protection course and accompanying resources for occupational health professionals who want to learn more about OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard and the role of the respiratory protection program administrator. You do NOT need to be an AAOHN member to participate in this free training or access the training resources.

Find Publicly Available Data You Can Easily Analyze! Use the NIOSH Data Visualization Tool to Examine OSH Issues
NIOSH recently added new data sets to its ( Worker Health Charts (WHC) tool. Built for researchers, educators, health professionals, and policy makers, WHC can be used to visualize occupational data for research and public health purposes. WHC produces different chart types depending on the query options you select. Email any questions or comments to

First page of NIOSH document no. 2017-207

NEW Fact Sheet for Employers & Parents—Young Drivers in the Workplace
Young workers – those age 16-24 – are gaining valuable work experience, but may also still be developing their driving skills. NIOSH has developed a new fact sheet that provides information on workplace driving laws that are important to follow so that young drivers may gain work experience under the safest conditions possible. It also provides recommendations on how to promote safe driving and prevent crashes among young workers who drive as part of their job.

Updated Website for Hazardous Drug Exposures in Healthcare
Update your bookmarks! NIOSH recently updated the Hazardous Drugs and Antineoplastic Agents webpages to enhance user navigation experience. All information related to our hazardous drugs listing, including antineoplastic agents, can now be found at one location. Stay tuned to this website for future updates to the NIOSH Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs List.

New Version of the Permeation Calculator Available
NIOSH recently released version 3.0.0 of the Permeation Calculator software program for analyzing chemical permeation test data. Version 3.0.0 is a cross-platform permeation calculator, running on both Windows and macOS computers, unlike the earlier version (2.5.0) that is only compatible with Windows computers. Version 3.0.0 has an improved graphical user interface that provides a natural and intuitive way of performing the permeation calculation. It is also capable of reading data files in the latest Excel format, while the earlier version only reads files in the 1997–2003 Excel format.

Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

2017 Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award Recipient
The NIOSH Mining Program, in conjunction with the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), recognized Granite Mountain Quarries and Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Company with the 2017 NIOSH Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award in the stone, sand and gravel sector in a ceremony during NSSGA’s fall meeting on September 25. The NIOSH Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award recognizes mines and companies that have made an extraordinary effort to apply technology or improve processes in innovative ways, above and beyond mandatory requirements, to improve mine worker safety and health. The NIOSH Mining Program invites nominations throughout the year for its awards series, which offers awards in four different sectors of the mining industry. For more information, visit the awards webpage.

NTEA Ambulance Manufacturers Division Recognizes Outstanding Contribution
Congratulations to Jim Green from NIOSH Division of Safety Research who was recognized by the Ambulance Manufacturers Division of the National Truck Equipment Association as a passionate advocate and educator of the scientific method, whose outstanding contribution to EMS worker and patient safety has significantly contributed to the advancement of the North American ambulance industry. Jim was presented with a plaque at the annual meeting of the NTEA in September.

NORA Update

Joint TIP/Construction Council Meeting
The NORA Traumatic Injury Prevention (TIP) Cross-Sector and Construction Sector Councils will hold a joint, online council meeting on Monday, November 13. The purpose of the meeting will be to learn about and discuss recent research (Precursor Analysis: A Systematic Method for Predicting and Preventing Fatal and Disabling Injuries) with guest presenters Matthew Hallowell (University of Colorado at Boulder) and John Gambatese (Oregon State University). To participate, contact Christine Schuler.

NORA Mining Sector Council Reconvenes
The NORA Mining Sector Council met in September for the first time in the third decade of NORA. Members introduced themselves and suggested changes and additions to the NORA Mining Agenda. The annual in-person meeting of the sector council will be held on February 28, 2018, in conjunction with the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration annual conference and expo. To participate, contact David Snyder, NORA Mining Sector co-chair, at 412-386-5304.

TWU Sector Council Meeting
The NORA Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (TWU) Sector Council held a webinar Friday, September 15, on Managing Safety, by sector council members Mark Friend (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University College of Aviation) and Kim Davies-Shrils (Volpe National Transportation Systems Center). The presentation reviewed safety management systems and available guidance from several leading federal agencies and standards organizations. Council members discussed the potential value of aligning language and approaches across agencies and TWU subsectors and identified challenges in developing useful guidance for smaller businesses with limited occupational safety and health capacity. For more information on this meeting, please contact Karl Sieber.

News From Our Partners

Sign Up for the 2018 Freezer Challenge Today!
This year, six CDC labs participated in the 2017 North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge (NALFC). The NALFC is a competition among laboratories throughout North America to see who can reduce the most energy usage and best improve cold storage management practices. It covers all forms of cold storage, including refrigerators, freezers, and cold rooms. CDC’s combined efforts in 2017 saved 360,000 kwh/yr., 40,000 kwh/yr. more than in the 2012 Freezer Challenge. Let’s keep the momentum going and prove once again that CDC is the “Freezer Champion.” Sign up for the 2018 Challenge today! Also view past award winners, including CDC.

DOL Seeks Nominations For Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) program is seeking nominations for membership. The Advisory Board advises the Secretary of Labor on technical aspects of the EEOICPA program. More information is available on the DOL website. Nominations are due by October 25.

Study Evaluates System for Tracking Occupation-related ED Visits
A preliminary study that evaluates a real-time syndromic surveillance system to track occupation-related emergency room visits throughout New Jersey was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Emergency department (ED) chief complaint fields were evaluated from 79 of 80 hospitals in New Jersey in 2014, using work-related keywords and ICD-9 E-codes to determine their ability to capture nonfatal work-related injuries. Overall, 11,919 (0.3%) possible work-related ED visits were identified from all ED visits; the work-related classifier achieved a sensitivity of 5.4%, a specificity of 99.8%, and a PPV of 2.8%.

WestON Meeting Follow-up
The tenth annual Western States Occupational Network (WestON) meeting was held September 13–14 in Denver, Colorado, with over 60 participants. The meeting provides an opportunity for state occupational safety and health professionals and state and local public health officials to address common worker safety and health issues and further foster partnerships to enhance occupational safety and health in the West. Presentations covered a range of topics, including novel uses of occupational health data, using informatics in occupational safety and health, and Total Worker Health. For more information on this meeting, please contact Yvonne Boudreau.

Occupational Health Interns Publish OSH Paper on Temp Workers
Interns from the Occupational Health Internship Program just published “Occupational Safety and Health in the Temporary Services Industry: A Model for a Community—University Partnership” describing their summer project. In 2015, Tessa Bonney and Samara Rivers supported occupational health promoters at Chicago Workers Collaborative (CWC)—a local workers’ center—to survey their “temp” coworkers about workplace hazards. Data were presented to OSHA concerning two particularly egregious workplaces, and after investigating, OSHA issued citations to both companies. The Illinois Occupational Surveillance Program continues to support CWC in its efforts to improve the working conditions of workers in the temporary staffing industry through advocating passage of Illinois House Bill 690.

Call for Papers for ISRP Young Research Award in Respiratory Protection
The call for papers is now open for the International Society for Respiratory Protection 2018 Arthur Johnson Young Researcher Award in Respiratory Protection (JISRP). To enter, you must meet the entry requirements, and a full paper must be prepared for the JISRP and submitted. Entries are due June 1, 2018. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a trip to the Denver conference to present their paper to the conference attendees.

FACE Reports

Laborer Fatally Injured After falling From a Home under Construction—Massachusetts
A laborer was fatally injured after falling from a house under construction. While on the top plate of a studded, exterior, second-story wall, the laborer lost his balance and fell approximately 24 feet to the ground. The laborer died the next day at a trauma center.

High School Student Sustains a Partial Thumb Tip Amputation While Using a Sander in Shop Class—Massachusetts
A high school student sustained a partial thumb tip amputation injury while using a combination belt and disc sander in shop class. The student’s gloved thumb came in contact with the rotating disc sander. The student was transported to a hospital and had his partially amputated thumb tip reattached.

Carpenter Fatally Injured after Falling from an Extension Ladder—Massachusetts
A carpenter was fatally injured after falling from an extension ladder. The carpenter was at a residential home to perform gutter work. The carpenter climbed an extension ladder that was sitting on top of stone pavers. While climbing, the carpenter and the ladder fell to the ground. The carpenter died in the hospital 16 days later.

Tow Truck Operator Fatally Injured When Struck by a Box Truck While Assisting a Motorist—Massachusetts
A tow truck operator employed by a motor vehicle service center was fatally injured while assisting a motorist with a flat tire on a highway. While standing near the driver side controls, the operator was struck by a passing box truck. The operator was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports

Two Fire Fighters Die and Two Fire Fighters are Injured at Multi-occupancy Fire with Structural Collapse—Missouri
Two fire fighters died in a structural collapse during a fire in a multi-occupancy structure. An exterior wall collapsed into an alley, trapping four fire fighters. Two fire fighters were completely covered with debris, and they were removed and pronounced dead at the hospital. The other two fire fighters were rescued from the debris pile and admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Potential Hazards during Harvesting and Processing Cannabis at a Farm
HHE Program investigators found tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component in cannabis, on all work surface wipe samples. We also determined that employees are at risk for hand and wrist musculoskeletal disorders if hand trimming tasks are performed for longer periods than we observed. We recommended developing a cleaning schedule for work and tool surfaces and changing procedures and improving tools to reduce the potential for musculoskeletal disorders. For more information click here.

Evaluation of Brake Dust Exposures at a Hydroelectric Dam
HHE Program investigators found that concentrations of metals and minerals in the air were well below their occupational exposure limits. Metals and minerals were detected at low concentrations on hands and work surfaces. We recommended evaluating airborne exposures while cleaning the other two generators. For more information click here.

New NIOSH Communication Products

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

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Factors Influencing the Transmission of Influenza—Reinstatement with Change
The notice was posted on September 18. Written comments must be received within 30 days.

Health Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance—Requests and Emerging Problems—Revision
The notice was posted on September 18. Written comments must be received within 30 days.

Draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Cancer, Reproductive, Cardiovascular and Other Chronic Disease Prevention
The notice was posted on August 9. Electronic or written comments must be received by October 10.

Mobile Proximity Initial User Feedback—New
The notice was posted on September 6. Written comments must be received on or before November 6.

A Performance Test Protocol for Closed System Transfer Devices Used During Pharmacy Compounding and Administration of Hazardous Drugs; Extension of Comment Period
The notice was posted on July 26. Comment period extended to February 28, 2018.

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. Nominations must be submitted postmarked or electronically received by February 1, 2019.

Draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Manufacturing 
The notice was posted on August 23. Electronic or written comments must be received by October 23.

Call for Abstracts

Fifth International Fishing Industry Safety and Health Conference (IFISH 5)
The deadline for abstracts and session descriptions is October 31.

2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®
The deadline for abstract submission is October 31.

Kentucky Conference on Health Communication
The deadline for papers, posters, and panels submission is December 1.

19th Conference of the International Society for Respiratory Protection
Deadline for presentation submission is March 15, 2018

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Understanding Small Enterprises (USE) Conference
October 25–27, Denver, CO

10th International Joint Conference on Occupational Health for Healthcare Workers: Health & Wellbeing in the Health Care Sector; Addressing Current Threats to Workers
November 28–30, Khon Kaen, Thailand

Kentucky Conference on Health Communication
April 12–14, 2018, Lexington, KY

2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®
May 8–11, 2018, Bethesda, MD

19th Conference of the International Society for Respiratory Protection
September 15–20, 2018, Denver, CO

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

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at

This Month in History

In October 2004, NIOSH and the British Health and Safety Laboratory cosponsored the First International Symposium on Nanotechnology and Occupational Health in Buxton, Derbyshire, United Kingdom. Scientists from diverse fields attended this historic, international symposium to share research on nanotechnology and occupational safety and health. After the symposium, NIOSH and the British Health and Safety Executive published the proceedings, adding to a growing body of literature on this important issue.