NIOSH eNews

Volume 14 Number 2 (June 2016)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

School’s Out, But Safety Should Always Be In

Research indicates that more than 80% of high-school-aged youth work, often during the summer months. A recent White House press releaseExternal highlights the positive impact of work on U.S. youth. A job provides opportunities to gain independence, build self-esteem, explore vocational interests, and to learn critical life skills that serve young people now, and in the future.

Although work has benefits, it also can have risks. Every minute a young worker is hurt on the job. Youth (age 15–24 years) suffer about twice the rate of workplace injuries as older workers. Younger workers are likely to be inexperienced, and they often enter the labor force unprepared for hazards they may face. To address this critical need, NIOSH conducts research and recommends how to protect young workers.

Employers have the primary responsibility to reduce job injuries and illnesses. But labor unions and federal and state agencies also have important responsibilities. Parents, too, can help their children be aware of risks that involve work. Young workers, themselves, must follow safe work practices their employers establish. School administrators and teachers can help protect working youth. Schools are an effective locus for delivering critical life skills—including those related to workplace safety and health.

To help teachers in middle and high schools prepare students for a lifetime of safe and healthy work, researchers with the NIOSH Safe-Skilled-Ready Workforce program and their partners developed a curriculum called Youth@Work-Talking Safety. Talking Safety is free, customized for all U.S. states and territories to reflect local child labor laws and resources, and it aligns with current educational standards. Through Talking Safety, young people learn foundational knowledge and skills in workplace safety and health, the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies. These competencies are transferable (to other life domains), are portable across all jobs and industries, and they help students fo1rm a solid base of safety knowledge on which job-specific training and skills can be built.

As part of a 4-year, NIOSH-led research and evaluation project in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools—the nation’s fourth-largest school system—eighth-grade students received training on Talking Safety in their science classes. Preliminary results from more than 1,650 study participants indicate significant shifts (pre- to post-test) in eighth graders’ knowledge and attitudes about workplace safety and health, and self-efficacy and behavioral intentions to use the skills they learned through the program.

The NIOSH Safe-Skilled-Ready Workforce program is also collaborating with the Oklahoma Department of Labor to integrate Talking Safety into high schools in the Oklahoma City Public Schools System, the largest district in the state. The efforts build on the passage last year of Oklahoma Senate Bill 262External, which created a new law to incorporate workplace safety and health training into schools. A partnership with the Connecticut Technical High School System is also in the planning stages. As part of their career technical training, young people across Connecticut will learn through Talking Safety the critical life skills for safe and healthy work. NIOSH is also engaging with partners to develop culturally tailored curricula for workers—including American Indian youth with disabilities—who experience multiple risk factors.

Although the Talking Safety curriculum teaches workplace safety and health knowledge and important skills for all jobs and industries, it is critical for young people to also understand the job-specific risks they may encounter. NIOSH has developed a new webpage for youth working in retail that provides information and resources to raise awareness about the risks of retail work, and how injuries in this industry can be predicted and prevented. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 nearly 23,000—or 1 of every 4 injured young workers—had retail jobs. This sector includes businesses such as supermarkets and groceries, and department and sporting goods stores, which frequently employ young workers.

These are only some examples of the activities underway at NIOSH to help protect working youth. The NIOSH Young Worker Safety and Health webpage has more information, and it provides links to other state and federal agencies. These agencies include the Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationExternal and U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour DivisionExternal, which have useful resources for young workers, their employers, parents and teachers.

To ensure that a young person’s first job, summer job, and every job provides lifelong benefits, health and safety must be at the forefront of all efforts to prepare the workforce for success in the 21st century economy.

Jon Stewart Creates PSA for WTC Health Program

Entertainer and advocate Jon Stewart recently lent his voice to encourage those affected by 9/11 to enroll in the World Trade Center Health Program. He joined John Feal of the Feal Good Foundation to film a Public Service Announcement for the program.

NIOSH and NSC Co-host #DriveSafe4Life Twitter Chat on June 28

NIOSH and the National Safety Council (NSC) are co-hosting a road safety Twitter chat on June 28 from 1-2 p.m. ET. The chat is part of National Safety Month, the annual June observance focused on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads, and in homes and communities. Tweet using the #DriveSafe4Life hashtag to join the conversation, and follow @NIOSH_MVSafety and @NSCsafety for road safety tips during the chat.

NIOSH To Seek Primary Care Settings to Evaluate CDS Tool Preparation and Use for Managing Diabetes In Patient Work Environments

NIOSH is seeking primary care clinic/clinical organizations to evaluate the implementation, use, and perceived value of integrated clinical decision support (CDS) in primary care settings that address management of diabetes mellitus in patient work environments. The pre solicitation announcement “Clinical Decision Support for Working Patients with Diabetes Mellitus in a Primary Care Clinical Setting” is posted at www.fbo.govExternal (solicitation number: 2016-N-17759). The complete request for proposals, including reference materials, is anticipated to be available for downloading at www.fbo.govExternal on or about June 15 and proposals are anticipated to be due on or July 15. Contact Diane Meeder at DMeeder@cdc.gov or (412)386-4412 for more information.

NIOSH in the News

  • NIOSH Scientist Talks Work Health to U.S. News
    Capt. Leslie MacDonald, a senior scientist at NIOSH, was interviewed for an April online article in U.S. News & World Report about how work can be related to cardiovascular risk. Throughout the article, “How to Make Heart Health Job No. 1External,” Capt. MacDonald talks about her research to recognize and address the impact of work on lifestyle and heart health.
  • ESPN Podcast Includes NIOSH study: Suicide Mortality among Retired NFL Players
    In a recent ESPN radio podcastExternal Dr. Doug Trout of NIOSH, in his role as Deputy Director of the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, joined Andy Katz and Rick Klein to summarize findings from a study that looked at suicide rates among a cohort of retired NFL players. Other guests on the podcast were Senator John McCain as well as The Undefeated’s Domonique Foxworth talking about brain injury education, research and prevention for NFL players.

NIOSH Communication Product Spotlight

  • NIOSH Releases Ergonomic App to Evaluate Mining Activities
    NIOSH Mining recently released ErgoMineExternal, a new Android app that helps users evaluate the ergonomics of certain common mining activities at their work sites and receive recommendations for improvement. These activities include bagging, maintenance and repair, and haul truck operations. ErgoMine poses questions to guide mine workers through an audit of their workplaces to find ergonomics issues. Based on the user’s responses during the audit, ErgoMine suggests how to improve the work site. The suggested improvements can be reviewed through the app on a user’s Android device, or they can be emailed to anyone for further consideration of the findings and recommendations. Better ergonomics could help prevent work-related musculoskeletal injuries and promote health, safety, and efficiency.
  • NIOSH Releases PPE Database For Identifying Standards
    How do you know if your personal protective equipment (PPE) will protect you as a worker or your employees if you are an employer? NIOSH developed the PPE-INFO database to help determine which PPE standards must be met by equipment. The database compiles federal regulations and consensus standards for respirator and non-respiratory PPE. The database is a tool for standards developers, certification organizations, manufacturers, purchasers, end users, safety and health professionals, and researchers. The information in the database can be used to determine whether a product meets a certain standard, and whether the performance requirements of that standard meet their need.
  • NIOSH and Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Release Report
    A new report, “Improving Workers’ Health Around the World: Advancing the WHO Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health” has been published by NIOSH and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The publication gives examples of the activities and achievements of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centers for Occupational Health. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the Global Network, which was formed in 1990.

OSHA Renews Prestigious VPP Star Designation for NIOSH Cincinnati Taft North Facility

OSHA has renewed NIOSH Cincinnati Taft North’s acclaimed Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star certification. The VPP program encourages employers to voluntarily go above and beyond promoting effective safety and health programs by making safety a fundamental part of the culture. Taft North first received VPP Star status certification (the highest certification level granted by OSHA) in 2012, and it has maintained the certification ever since. “VPP Star is OSHA’s highest recognition for rigorous safety and health practices, as well as an extremely prestigious achievement that few federal faculties have attained,” said Kim Reeves, NIOSH Cincinnati management and operations official. For more information, contact David Back at (513) 533-8594 or DBack@cdc.gov.

Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

CAPT Sally Brown Receives Distinguished Friend of the EIS Award

CAPT Sally Brown, U.S. Public Health Service and NIOSH senior scientist, recently received the Distinguished Friend of the EIS Award. This award has been given annually since 1984 by the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Alumni Association. It recognizes valued contributions that have made an important difference to the health, welfare, and happiness of EIS officers and the EIS Program. The awards past recipients include former CDC Director William Roper and CDC officials Dixie Snider, and Stephen Thacker.

CDR Lisa Delaney Receives U.S. Public Health Service Edward Moran Award

CDR Lisa Delaney, U.S. Public Health Service, and NIOSH associate director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, recently received the annual Edward Moran Award from the Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee of the U.S. Public Health Service. The Edward (Ted) Moran Award recognizes an outstanding mid-level environmental health professional who consistently achieves high standards in the practice of environmental health, occupational health and safety, industrial hygiene, or radiological health.

LT Megan Casey Receives Mitch Singal Excellence in Occupational and Environmental Health Award

LT Megan Casey, U.S. Public Health Service and EIS (Epidemic Intelligence Service) officer at NIOSH, received the annual Mitch Singal Excellence in Occupational and Environmental Health Award at the EIS Conference in May. The award recognizes a current EIS officer for excellence in an oral presentation that best exemplifies the effective application of public health epidemiology to an occupational or environmental health investigation. The award is cosponsored by NIOSH and the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

News from Our Partners

Prevention through Design Standard ANSI/ASSE Z590.3 Newly Reaffirmed for 2016

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) have reaffirmed ANSI/ASSE Z590.3-2011 (R2016)External Prevention through Design Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Hazards and Risks in Design and Redesign Processes. Many businesses have shown that Prevention through Design not only reduces injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, but it lowers overall costs and can improve efficiency and productivity as well.

New Wisconsin Occupational Health Indicator Trend Report

Wisconsin’s Occupational Health Indicators are statistics that help measure the state of worker health in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Occupational Health ProgramExternal summarizes state employment demographics and 22 indicators identified by CSTE and NIOSH to describe key trends in occupational hazards, health effects, exposures, interventions, and socioeconomic impact. The new “Wisconsin Health Indicator Report: Summary of Worker Health and Safety Data for Years 2003–2012Cdc-pdfExternal” provides a comparative analysis of Wisconsin occupational health data over time and, when available, to data from other states and national estimates.

Massachusetts Launches Young Workers Social Media Campaign #NotMyJob

The Massachusetts Young Workers Injury Surveillance and Prevention ProjectExternal, in collaboration with seven other government agencies that form the MA Youth Employment & Safety Team (YES Team), has launched a social media campaign. “#NotMyJob: Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description” presents graphics of unsafe job scenarios to help raise awareness among teens and young adults about their right to a safe, healthful workplace. As part of the campaign launch, the YES Team unveiled a new joint-agency websiteExternal for young workers, employers, and others who play a role in youth employment. The campaign will run through June 2016 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #NotMyJob.

DOL Announces Availability of $4.6M in Safety and Health Training Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced the availability of $4.6 million in funds in the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. Questions should be directed to Donna Robertson by emailing harwoodgrants@dol.gov or calling (847) 759-7700. Please note that this is not a toll-free number.

National Safety Council Free Webinar

At noon EST on June 14, National Safety Council Statistics Manager Ken Kolosh will host a free webinarExternal, “Hidden Epidemics: What the Data Tell Us About Our Safety.” Unintentional injuries are the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, overtaking strokes for the first time. Questions and technical issues can be directed to media@nsc.org, or call (866) 872-5840.

New Hazard Project on Trench-Related Incidents

Between 1992 and 2015, 20 New Jersey workers died in trench-related incidents. Seventy percent of these were a result of trench cave-ins. Other incident types included falls, electrocutions, and struck-by object. Many of these fatalities occurred in residential construction, and 45% of the incidents occurred in trenches less than 10-feet deep. The median age was 44, 30% were Hispanic, and one victim was a woman. The New Jersey Department of Health’s Occupational Health Surveillance Unit (OHS)External developed an educational outreach project for preventing trench-related injuries. The project resulted in a new AlertCdc-pdfExternal on the hazards of unprotected trenches to workers.

FACE Reports

Apprentice Distiller Fatally Burned by Over Pressurized Pot Still—Kentucky

On April 24, 2015, a distiller apprentice was producing moonshine when a 300-gallon pot still unexpectedly ruptured. The distillery owner heard a loud noise, ran to the distillery, and found the apprentice injured. The apprentice died on May 11, 2015.

Production Supervisor Falls 19.5 Feet Through a Metal Roof and Dies—Kentucky

On August 7, 2014, a supervisor at a manufacturing plant was attempting to troubleshoot a problem. While on a second story flat metal roof, the supervisor stepped through a rotten area and fell 19 feet to the ground. The supervisor died on August 24, 2014.

Temporary Electrician Helper Steps Into Unguarded Elevator Shaft and Dies—Kentucky

On July 16, 2014, a temporary electrician helper was laying out light fixtures to be installed in a construction project when he stepped into an unguarded elevator shaft and fell 13 feet to his death. The electrician died on the scene of the incident.

Pedestrian Tow Truck Operator Struck and Killed by Drunk Driver While Rendering Assistance on Highway Roadside—Kentucky

On July 3, 2014, a tow truck driver arrived on the scene to help the driver of a disabled vehicle. After parking on the shoulder of the road, the tow truck driver got out to operate the towing controls. A car traveling on the road struck the disabled vehicle and the tow truck driver. The tow truck driver died at the scene.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

Captain Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death While Performing Physical Fitness Training—Mississippi

Captain Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death While Performing Physical Fitness Training—Mississippi
On May 6, 2015, a career captain responded to a carbon monoxide call. After returning to the station, the captain played basketball as part of the department’s physical fitness program. He stopped playing due to a leg cramp, but when he resumed, he collapsed. The captain was transported to a hospital and was pronounced dead.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Beryllium and Other Metals at a Nanotechnology Research and Development Company

HHE Program investigators found beryllium and other metals on some surfaces. Beryllium was not found in air samples. The investigators identified no medical problems consistent with chronic beryllium disease, and none of the tested employees was sensitized to beryllium. For more information click here.

IEQ Recommendations for a University Building

Although HHE Program investigators saw no widespread mold or water damage, relative humidity levels were high. This condition can promote the growth of microorganisms and dust mites. HHE Program investigators recommended stopping environmental sampling, improving the building ventilation, and implementing an IEQ management plan. For more information click here.

Call for Award Nominations

International Society for Respiratory Protection Seeks Award NominationsExternal
Submissions Deadline is July 1

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

2016 International Hazardous Materials Response Teams ConferenceExternal
June 16–19, Baltimore, MD

ASSE Professional Development Conference & Exposition Safety 2016External
June 26–29, Atlanta, GA

2016 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media
August 23-25, Atlanta, GA

Alliance for Hazardous Materials ProfessionalsExternal
August 28–31, Washington, DC

Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP)External
September 7–10, Myrtle Beach, SC

American Public Health AssociationExternal
October 29–November 2, Denver, CO

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/exhibits.html.

“This Month in History”

Nearly 20 years ago, NIOSH released Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss—A Practical Guide. In a new development at the time, the guide emphasized prevention of hearing loss, rather than conservation of hearing. In another change in terms, the guide referred to “occupational hearing loss” to encompass all exposures: “No longer is noise considered to be the only source of hearing loss associated with work,” the guide stated. “Exposures to chemicals, such as aromatic solvents and metals such as lead, arsenic, and mercury can result in hearing loss. Combined exposures to noise and chemicals can cause more hearing loss than exposure to either agent alone. Vibration and extreme heat are also potentially harmful to hearing when combined with noise.”

Page last reviewed: June 7, 2016