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eNews: Volume 16, Number 5 (September 2018)

Volume 16, Number 5 (September 2018)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Caring for 9/11 Survivors and Responders

Outside my office in Washington DC is an American flag with the names of those lost 17 years ago this month at the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and the crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This 9/11 commemorative flag serves as a daily reminder of the cost of those terrible attacks as well as the important role NIOSH plays in caring for those who survived and those who responded.

As the Director of NIOSH, I also serve as the Program Administrator for the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program. Established by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, the WTC Health Program provides high quality, no-cost annual medical monitoring examinations and treatment for health conditions related to the 9/11 attacks. Law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel, cleanup and recovery workers, and residents of lower Manhattan are some whose health continues to be affected by the long-term impact of 9/11 exposures.

Through the seven Clinical Centers of Excellence in the greater New York metropolitan area and the Nationwide Provider Network, the program currently serves over 88,000 responders and survivors, with thousands more enrolling each year. Applications for the program are up by 66% over last year, driven in no small part by an increase in survivors applying to the program.

The WTC Health Program’s work also goes beyond medical care. A lot is still unknown about the long-term health effects of 9/11. The program, through the research-to-care logic model, funds research projects designed to help answer critical questions about the physical and mental health conditions related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This work will also help to inform and improve future disaster response and recovery planning efforts.

In addition, we held a “Research to Care” member engagement event in New York City last year where researchers shared study findings directly with members and discussed the impact on member care. Continuing education credits for the event are available through the WTC Health Program training page.

The WTC Health Program and NIOSH play a critical role for those affected by 9/11. I encourage everyone to learn more about the program and help us spread the word about it. Together, we can all play a part in helping those that were there. They haven’t forgotten 9/11, and neither will we.


Join Us for N95 Day 2018 Activities!
N95 Day, an annual NIOSH event, is a time to recognize the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and become familiar with the available resources to help make educated decisions when selecting and wearing a respirator. This year’s campaign encourages respiratory protection program managers and users of N95 respirators to become more diligent about their respiratory protection practices. Join in the social media conversation by using the hashtag #N95Day. The N95 Day Webinar brings together a panel of NIOSH respiratory protection experts to discuss current trends and questions about filtering facepiece respiratory protection. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, September 5, at 1:00 pm EST. To learn more, visit the N95 Day web page.

Join Us for the Sleep and Fatigue Webinar, September 26
NIOSH presents the Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Webinar Series’ next installment on Fatigue and Automation: Black Swans and Lumberjacks Redux. The webinar is on Wednesday, September 26, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm EDT. It will focus on the benefits and challenges that occur with increasing levels of automation, with an emphasis on the effects of fatigue. Dr. Don Fisher, Principal Technical Advisor, Safety Transportation Human Factors at the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, is the featured speaker. Register here.

Upcoming Registration & Lodging Deadlines for National Occupational Injury Research Symposium
The last day to preregister for the 7th NIOSH National Occupational Injury Research Symposium is October 5. Registration is free. If you miss the preregistration deadline, you can register onsite. The Symposium will be held in Morgantown, West Virginia, at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place on October 16–18. To receive the Symposium room rate at the Marriott, you must book your room by September 23.

Reminder: International Society for Respiratory Protection 19th International Conference
The International Society for Respiratory Protection 19th International Conference will be held September 16–20, in Denver Colorado. The theme of this conference is The Value of Innovation and Practice in Respiratory Protection. NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard is the keynote speaker on Monday, September 17: he will talk about Perspectives on American Innovation. The full agenda is available on the conference website.

Save the Date: Working Hours, Sleep & Fatigue Forum, September 2019
Working nonstandard shifts can have adverse health and safety consequences for workers, their families, and the general public. Please join us for the Working Hours, Sleep & Fatigue: Meeting the Needs of the American Workers and Employers Forum on September 13–14, 2019, in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. Learn about research gaps and effective countermeasures related to working hours, sleep, and fatigue among U.S. workers and employers. Everyone interested in worker safety is invited to come discuss this important topic.

Save the Date: Work, Stress and Health 2019: What Does the Future Hold?
The 2019 Work, Stress and Health conference will be held November 6–9, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This year’s conference will give special attention to the workplace of the future. As the world copes with growing economic, political, environmental, and social changes, what can organizations do to sustain the health and productivity of their workers? How do we design and manage organizations to accommodate the needs and use the skills of a changing workforce? Share what you know about the future of work and healthy workers with an international, multidisciplinary audience.

Monthly Features

Justin Srednicki

NIOSH Congratulates

NIOSH congratulates Justin Srednicki of the Pittsburgh Mining Research Division for receiving the HHS Departmental Award for Excellence in Management. Mr. Srednicki was awarded the prestigious honor for his work in completing the Pittsburgh site’s one-of-a-kind underground refuge chamber laboratory, a highly instrumented project that was thrown into peril when two senior researchers with decades of experience left federal service.


Comment Now On New Draft NORA Agendas

The National Occupational Research Agenda for Oil and Gas Extraction is open for public comment until September 24.

Final NORA Agendas Now Available

  • The Traumatic Injury Prevention Cross-Sector Council final Research Agenda includes eight research objectives. The first four focus on the leading causes of occupational injury. The remaining four objectives are cross-cutting and address all types of traumatic occupational injuries and work environments.
  • The Wholesale and Retail Trade Sector Council’s final Research Agenda includes five research objectives: 1) preventing musculoskeletal disorders, 2) traumatic injuries, 3) work-related violence, 4) motor-vehicle crashes, and 5) healthy work design and well-being.

Joint Council Meeting Highlights Importance of Partnerships
In July, three NORA Councils held a joint meeting: Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities; Cancer, Reproductive, Cardiovascular, and other Chronic Disease Prevention; and Respiratory Health. Meeting highlights included presentations about using medical claims data to advance workers’ health and talks on the importance of engaging with companies and other stakeholders.

News From Our Partners

New Alert Addresses Illicit Drugs in the Workplace Issues for Employers
The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center has developed a Hazard Alert for employers for addressing the issue of illicit drug use in the workplace. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 7 in 10 individuals who use illicit drugs are employed either full or part-time. As drug use rises, employers may have increased employee turnover, reduced productivity, increased injury rates, and tragically, drug overdose deaths at work.

New Report Looks at MA Fatal Opioid Overdoses by Industry and Occupation
According to a recent report released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the rate of fatal opioid overdoses in Massachusetts varied significantly by industry and occupation from 2011 through 2015. The report showed construction workers dying from opioid overdoses at six times the average rate for all Massachusetts workers. Using available death certificate data, DPH analyzed 4,302 opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts from 2011 through 2015 by industry and occupation to understand whether work, and specifically work-related injuries, might have contributed to opioid use disorders. The report found that overall, workers employed in occupations known to have high rates of work-related injuries had higher rates of fatal opioid overdoses.

OSHA Compliance Assistance Resources
OSHA has issued its summary of new or updated compliance assistance resources from April 1 to June 30. For a listing of all new compliance assistance products issued by OSHA, see OSHA’s New Compliance Assistance Products web page.

New Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Report

Volunteer Assistant Chief Killed and One Fire Fighter Injured by Roof Collapse in a Commercial Storage Building–Indiana
A volunteer assistant fire chief died after being trapped under a roof collapse while fighting a fire in a pole barn-style commercial storage building with metal siding and a wood-truss roof. The assistant fire chief and two fire fighters were operating inside the structure when the roof collapsed. The assistant fire chief was killed, and a fire fighter suffered a broken leg, before being rescued by a rapid intervention crew.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Exposures in a Steel Coil Pickling Plant
After HHE Program investigators found diesel exhaust in crane cabs and overexposures to noise on the pickling line, they recommended ventilated enclosures for the crane cabs and hearing protection and training for employees. Read the HHE report to learn more.

Evaluation of Exposure to Metals at an Electronics Recycling Facility
After HHE Program investigators found air samples for metals were low and blood measurements for lead and cadmium were below recommended levels, they recommended employees use a lead-removing product for hand washing. Investigators also suggested prohibiting the use of compressed air to clean electronics. Read the HHE report to learn more.

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

New NIOSH Communication Products

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Board of Scientific Counselors, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BSC, NIOSH)
The notice was posted on August 9. The meeting will be held on September 27, 8:30 am–2:30 pm, EDT.

Surveillance of Nonfatal Injuries Among On-duty Law Enforcement Officers—New
The notice was posted on July 20. Written comments must be received by September 18.

Assessing Impact of the NIOSH Research—New
The notice was posted on July 20. Written comments must be received by September 18.

Request for Information About Inorganic Lead
The notice was posted on August 21. Electronic or written comments must be received by October 22.

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 Proposals

Work, Stress and Health Conference
Deadline for paper and presentation proposals is January 28, 2019

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare
September 5–8, Glendale, AZ

National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media
September 11–13, Atlanta, GA

International Society for Respiratory Protection Conference 2018
September 15–20, Denver, CO

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

2019 National HIV Prevention Conference
March 18–21, 2019, Atlanta, GA

Twenty-Fourth International Symposium on Shiftwork & Working Time
September 9–13, 2019, Couer d’Alene, ID

Working Hours, Sleep & Fatigue Forum: Meeting the Needs of American Workers and Employers
September 13–14, 2019, Couer d’Alene, ID

Work, Stress and Health Conference 2019
November 6–9, 2019, Philadelphia, PA

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences is available on the NIOSH conferences and events web page.

This Month in History

More than two decades ago, a NIOSH survey from several states found that older tractors lacked rollover protective structures. Proven to protect workers in the event of a tractor rollover, these safety devices now are standard equipment on new tractors sold in the United States. They also can be installed retroactively on older tractors. More information is available: