Volume 17, Number 1 (May 2019)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

NIOSH Annual Science Award Ceremony Highlights

On April 25, NIOSH held its annual Science Award Ceremony that recognizes excellence in occupational safety and health research and communication by NIOSH staff. This event is held annually on the last Thursday in April. The NIOSH laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia, hosted the event this year.

One of the highlights of this year’s ceremony was the recognition of an important milestone in occupational safety and health history—the 100th anniversary of the hard hat, an item of personal protective equipment (PPE) that many workers rely on today. The hard hat was developed by Edward Dickinson Bullard so that the workplace could be a safer environment. Edward’s grandson and Chairman of the Bullard Company, Mr. Jed Bullard, and Edward’s great granddaughter and Bullard Company CEO, Ms. Wells Bullard, both attended the ceremony and spoke about the importance of PPE to worker safety. They also helped present the Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Awards that recognize NIOSH scientists and their partners who embody the same dedication to innovation as Edward Bullard did.

During the ceremony, NIOSH also presented the Keogh Award that recognizes a current or former employee of NIOSH whose career “exhibits respect and compassion for individual workers, with tireless leadership, courage, and a fierce determination to put knowledge into practice to enhance their well-being.” It is named to honor the late Dr. James P. Keogh who was a respected scientist, advocate for worker safety and health, and leading medical educator. This year, the award was given posthumously to Dr. Leslie Nickels. Over her nearly 40-year career, Leslie was a dedicated advocate to improving the safety and health of underserved workers. Her legacy continues to touch workers, researchers, students, and health and safety professionals around the world. Leslie’s husband, Lon Berkeley, attended the ceremony in Morgantown and accepted on her behalf.

Other awards presented at the ceremony included the Alice Hamilton, Plain Language, and Director’s Intramural Award for Extraordinary Science for recognition of excellence in fulfilling the NIOSH mission: to develop new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and to transfer that knowledge into practice. See the NIOSH Science Awards webpage for a full list of award descriptions and winners. Congratulations again to all the winners.


NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard Issues Annual Workers Memorial Day Statement
Workers Memorial Day, observed annually on April 28, recognizes workers who were injured, became ill, or died because of exposures to hazards at work. Each year, NIOSH Director John Howard releases a statement. This year, the statement reflects on how NIOSH is addressing worker safety around emerging technologies through its Center for Occupational Robotics Research. Dr. Howard’s statement also reflects on how NIOSH is actively addressing the opioid crisis from an occupational perspective through development of such tools as a framework that looks at workplace conditions that can be risk factors for medically prescribed opioid use becoming opioid misuse. Read the full statement here.

Follow #MySafeSummer Job for Young Workers Safety Info
NIOSH has teamed up with OSHA, CareerSafe, and others to provide workplace safety and health information and resources to employers of youth, young workers, parents, and educators with a goal of keeping young workers safe at their summer jobs. Follow along on the NIOSH Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter through mid-May. Visit the My Safe Summer Job websiteexternal icon and the NIOSH Science Blog for materials, resources, and information.

Burden, Need, and Impact (BNI) Article Explains Need for BNI Method in Research
NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, and other NIOSH researchers recently published an article, Burden, Need and Impact: An Evidence-Based Method to Identify Worker Safety and Health Research Prioritiesexternal icon, in the Annals of Work Exposures and Health. The article helps to explain the purpose and the need of the Burden, Need, and Impact (BNI) method for research prioritization. Learn more about how NIOSH identifies research priorities using BNI on our Burden, Need, and Impact webpage.

New Article Provides Recommendations for Keeping Law Enforcement Safe from Opioid Exposure
NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, and other NIOSH researchers published an article, Health Effects From Unintentional Occupational Exposure to Opioids Among Law Enforcement Officers: Two Case Investigationsexternal icon, in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The article summarizes findings from a series of interviews with law enforcement officers who have been exposed to opioids. The article states that “while health risks from occupational exposure to drugs during law enforcement activities cannot currently be fully characterized with certainty, steps to prevent such exposures should be implemented now. The creation and implementation of appropriate controls plus education and training are both important to protecting first responders from these hazardous agents. To more fully characterize potential exposures, timely prospective toxicological evaluation of affected responders is recommended.”

NIOSH Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator Update
NIOSH has released an updated version of the NIOSH Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator. In addition to a scissor lift scenario, the updated Simulator now includes a boom lift scenario. Both scissor and boom lift operators can use this free simulator to refresh their knowledge or familiarize themselves with hazards they may encounter on the job—all from the safety of a computer.

Save the Date: Safe + Sound Week: August 12–18
Once again, NIOSH, OSHA, and their partners are sponsoring Safe + Sound Weekexternal icon August 12–18. Safe + Sound week is a nationwide event to celebrate the successes of businesses that have implemented safety and health programs in the workplace. Every August, businesses that have implemented these programs in the workplace are invited to celebrate their safety successes and efforts to be #SafeAndSoundAtWork.

Free Webinar on Controlling Exposure to Silica Dust
A free webinar on the dangers of silica dust and how to protect workers from severe and fatal lung disease is being hosted by the NIOSH NORA Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council, OSHA, the California Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Branch, CPWR, and the Natural Stone Institute. This webinarexternal icon will be held May 14, 2:00–3:30 p.m. (ET), and will focus on how to protect workers from inhaling silica dust.

NIOSH Offers B-Reader Course for Pulmonologists in Kentucky
NIOSH has teamed up with the Central Appalachian Regional ERC to provide a B-Reader courseexternal icon in Lexington, Kentucky, June 16–20. The course is open to everyone, but those in the pulmonologist community are especially encouraged to attend in hopes of increasing the number of pulmonologists who are certified B Readers in the state.

Nominations Open for the 2020 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™
Nominations will be acceptedexternal icon for the 2020 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™ until July 15. The award, given by NIOSH in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association and the Council on Accreditation of Hearing Conservationists, recognizes those who demonstrate, by example, the benefits of developing or following good hearing loss prevention practices. Safe-in-Sound Award™ winning stories are shared and showcased at special award ceremonies and in press releases disseminated to the occupational health and hearing research communities.

NIOSH Joins Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing
NIOSH recently announced that it has joined Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM), the nation’s leading collaborative in robotics and workforce innovation. As a member of ARM, NIOSH will contribute its perspective on issues related to worker safety and health and research needs associated with advancing industrial applications.

Final Rule for the Removal of Compliance Deadline for Closed-Circuit Escape Respirators (CCERs) and Clarification of Post-Approval Testing Standards for CCERs
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has revised regulatory language to remove a deadline by which respirator manufacturers were to have discontinued the manufacturing, labeling, and sale of certain self-contained self-rescuer models. In addition to removing the compliance deadline, HHS is also modifying regulatory language to clarify that post-approval testing of CCERs may exclude human subject testing and environmental conditioning of test samples, at the discretion of NIOSH. The entire announcement is in the April 19, 2019, Federal Registerpdf iconexternal icon.

safe-and-sound campaign

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Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

National Academies of Engineering Invites NIOSH Associate Director for Mining for Membership
Dr. Jessica Kogel, NIOSH Associate Director for Mining, has been selected to be a member of the National Academy of Engineering. The academy honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.” There will be a formal induction ceremony at the beginning of October. Read more here.

American Industrial Hygiene Association Honors

  • NIOSH Associate Director for Nanotechnology Dr. Charles (Chuck) Geraci was announced as the 2019 winner of the American Industrial Hygiene Association Henry F. Smyth, Jr. Awardexternal icon. This award is presented to “an individual who has made substantial, evidence-based solutions and contributions in recognizing the diverse needs of the industrial hygiene profession, thereby making a major impact on, and the improvement of, the public welfare.” The award will be presented at the Mark of Excellence Breakfast at AIHce EXP on May 22. Chuck will also deliver the award lecture during the annual AIHce conference.
  • NIOSH Industrial Hygienist, Abbas Virji, was awarded the designation of Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)external icon. Fellows of AIHA are individuals with at least 15 years of service to AIHA with recognized contributions to the organization and industrial hygiene profession. Abbas was nominated for this award by the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Committee of the AIHA.

ACOEM Recognizes NIOSH Epidemiologist With Kammer Award
NIOSH Epidemiologist, Alysha Meyers, received the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s (ACOEM) 2019 Adolph G. Kammer Merit in Authorship Award for the paper entitled, Applying Machine Learning to Workers’ Compensation Data to Identify Industry-Specific Ergonomic and Safety Prevention Priorities: Ohio, 2001 to 2011external icon, published in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM). The Kammer Award is presented to the lead author selected by Editorial Board to recognize an outstanding article(s) published in JOEM.

NIOSH Award-winning Technology Partnership
NIOSH and the Becton, Dickson, and Company (BD) received an Excellence in Technology Transfer Awardexternal icon from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) at the annual FLC National Meeting in April for their development of a handheld device that detects commonly used chemotherapy drugs. The chemicals used to fight cancer are dangerous to the people who prepare and administer them, especially if those workers aren’t aware that their work area is contaminated. Use of this device enables nurses, technicians, and doctors to know in real-time what precautions they need to take to protect their own health as they care for others.


NORA Agenda Available for Comment
The draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Healthy Work Design and Well-Beingpdf iconexternal icon is available for public comment until May 13.

safety-stand-down campaign

NORA Construction Council Contributes to the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction
It’s time for the re-launch of the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Constructionexternal icon and the 2019 Stand-Downexternal icon set for May 6–10! Falls remain the top cause of construction-worker fatalities with 366 fall fatalities out of 971 total fatalities in construction in 2017 (BLS data). This year, the NORA Construction Council contributed to new resources, including the 2019 NIOSH Stand-Down Science Blog and 2019 Stand-Down infographics (in English & Spanish). We encourage all industries that are involved with work at heights to join us!

New Resources Available on the NORA Hazardous Energy Control Website
The NORA Manufacturing Council reviewed, adapted, and compiled resources to create this resource guide to help companies start or improve and maintain their existing Hazardous Energy Control/Lockout Program. Recently, a new partner, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, added a video and companion poster to teach steps for “single person lockout” in a simple, visual way.

Free Webinars for Working Safely at Heights: May 7–9
The National Roofers Contractor Association will host three free webinarsexternal icon during the National Safety Stand-Downexternal icon, May 6–10. Roofers are at the highest risk of death from falls but other construction groups are also at risk (see infographic at right). The webinars are as follows:

  • May 7, Noon–1:30 (ET): Ladder use and setup, guardrails, and warning lines and safety monitors systems
  • May 8, Noon–1:30 (ET): Personal Fall Arrest Systems, including calculated clearance distances
  • May 9, Noon–1:30 (ET): Rescue Techniques and Suspension Trauma

News from Our Partners

New CDC Health Literacy Course for Healthcare Providers with FREE Continuing Ed
Health care professionals and nonmedical staff can register for Effective Communication for Healthcare Teams: Addressing Health Literacy, Limited English Proficiency and Cultural Differencesexternal icon. The lessons and practice activities in this course help healthcare professionals assess their patients’ health literacy and language needs and practice culturally competent care. Register todayexternal icon by setting up a CDC TRAIN profile and launching the course. Continuing education will be provided for certain healthcare groups. For more information email

NNI Celebrates 15 Years Of Progress in Nanotechnology
To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)external icon, special episodes of the Stories from the NNI podcast series will showcase experts from academia, government, and industry who will provide their perspectives on key research and development advances in nanotechnology and how the NNI has changed the nanotechnology landscape. The series will also highlight what has been learned about the potential environmental, health, and safety implications of nanomaterials, as well as the safe handling procedures that have been developed. Look for new podcasts every Monday. NIOSH researchers will be featured throughout the year.

Washington State SHARP Releases Annual Evaluation
The Washington State Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARPexternal icon) program recently published their annual evaluationpdf iconexternal icon of the effectiveness of the Washington State OSHA activities. The results confirmed that workplace safety inspections and consultations performed by Washington’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health staff are associated with reductions in future workers’ compensation claims rates for employers that are visited.

U.S. Ag Centers Launch Mental Health Awareness Campaign, April 29–May 26
The NIOSH-funded Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health (Ag Centers) are launching a new mental health awareness campaign in recognition of Mental Health Month in May. This campaign runs from April 29 through May 26. Each week will highlight a different focus area related to mental health:

  • Week 1: Science of Stress and Suicide Risk
  • Week 2: Referral Resources
  • Week 3: Prevention of Substance Abuse
  • Week 4: Cultivating Resiliency
  • Week 5: Break the Stigma

Activities include a free webinar on May 10external icon, social media messages, PSAs, and more. Please see the Center’s webpageexternal icon for more information.

Register Now for the Western Agriculture Safety and Health Conference
Registration is open for the 2019 Western Agriculture Safety and Health Conferenceexternal icon, which will be held August 7–9 at the University of Washington in Seattle. This year’s conference theme is “Cultivating Collaborations.” The conference will highlight innovative research related to injury and illness prevention in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing sector and facilitate discussions on emerging health and safety issues. The conference is being sponsored by the NIOSH-supported Ag Centers at University of Washington, Colorado State University, University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of California Davis, and University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

Register Now! Upcoming Webinars

OSHA Quarterly Update on Compliance Assistance Resources
OSHA recently released a quarterly updateexternal icon on new safety and health resources from January 1–March 31. The update include OSHA resources, Alliance Program materials, NIOSH resources, and additional resources.

New FACE Reports

Construction Laborer Died in a Trench Wall Collapse—Michigan
A pipe layer died in a trench collapse. The excavator operator asked the pipe layer if he wanted a trench box; and he declined. While the pipe layer and coworker were in the trench, the foreman (competent person) arrived and saw the impending wall collapse. He yelled to exit, and the coworker exited safely. The pipe layer was buried to his waist, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Farmer Starting Tractor From Ground Run Over by Tractor—Michigan
A farmer died when he was run over by his tractor. The farmer started the tractor while standing on the ground. When the tractor started, the rear wheel struck the farmer, pulling him under the wheel while the tractor moved forward. The farmer was declared dead at the scene.

Construction Worker Killed When Trench Collapsed—Oregon
A construction worker died when the trench he was working in collapsed and buried him. The worker was installing a sewer pipe at a residential property. The collapse occurred in an unprotected area of the trench. Emergency responders spent several hours recovering the construction worker’s body.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Update

Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies After Being Ejected From Rear Seat of Fire Department Pickup Truck—Iowa
A volunteer fire fighter died from being ejected from the department’s pickup truck. A patch of ice and snow caused the driver to lose control; the truck rolled and came to a stop on its roof. The fire fighter in the rear seat was not wearing a safety belt and was ejected. The driver and the fire fighter in the front seat were wearing their safety belts. The fire fighter died at the scene.

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

Evaluation of Law Enforcement Officers’ Occupational Exposure to Illicit Drugs
Finding that law enforcement officers experienced adverse health effects when responding to a scene where illicit drugs were found, HHE Program investigators recommended following guidance available from NIOSH and other public health agencies. Recommendations also included coordinating joint training with other nearby local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS organizations that work together. Read the HHE reportexternal icon to learn more.

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Federal Register Notices of Public Comment

Draft-National Occupational Research Agenda for Healthy Work Design and Well-being
The noticeexternal icon was posted on March 12. Comments must be received by May 13.

Request for the Technical Review of 10 Draft Skin Notation Assignments and Skin Notation Profiles
The noticeexternal icon was posted on March 15. Comments must be received by May 14.

Mining Automation and Safety Research Prioritization
The noticeexternal icon was posted on March 18. Comments must be received by May 17.

Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations
The noticeexternal icon was posted on March 20. Comments must be received by May 20.

National Firefighter Registry; Request for Information
The noticeexternal icon was posted March 28. Comments must be received by May 28.

Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations (Stakeholder Interviews for the Evaluation of the World Trade Center Health Program for Impact Assessment and Strategic Planning for Translational Research)
The noticeexternal icon was posted on April 8. Comments must be received by June 7.

Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations (Survey of Engineered Nanomaterial Occupational Safety and Health Practices)
The noticeexternal icon was posted on April 23. Comments must be received by June 24.

Mesothelioma Registry Feasibility; Request for Information
The noticeexternal icon was posted on April 8. Comments must be received by July 8.

Call for Manuscript Submissions

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Special Edition
Deadline for manuscript submissionexternal icon is January 31, 2020.

Upcoming Seminars/Conferences

2019 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expoexternal icon
May 20–22, Minneapolis, MN

Ohio Tactical Officers Association Conferenceexternal icon
June 3–7, Sandusky, OH

Safety 2019 Professional Development Conference and Expositionexternal icon
June 9–12, New Orleans, LA

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Conferenceexternal iconLook for Us! Booth #1638
June 12–14, Philadelphia, PA

Fraternal Order of Police 64th Biennial Conference & Expoexternal iconLook for Us! Booth #800
August 12–15, New Orleans, LA

2019 National Conference on Health, Communication, Marketing & Media
August 13–15, Atlanta, GA

International Association of Firefighters Redmond Health and Safety Symposiumexternal icon
August 19–22, Nashville, TN

Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare National Conferenceexternal icon
September 4–7, Baltimore, MD

National Safety Council 2019 Congress and Expoexternal icon
September 6–12, San Diego, CA

Twenty-Fourth International Symposium on Shiftwork & Working Timeexternal icon
September 9–13, Coeur d’Alene, ID

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

National Association of Occupational Health Professionals 33rd Annual National Conferenceexternal icon
September 15–17, Phoenix, AZ

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expoexternal icon
November 2–6, Philadelphia, PA

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

7th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Healthexternal icon
May 27–29, 2020, Durban, South Africa

XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Workexternal icon
October 4–7, 2020, Toronto, Canada

Page last reviewed: May 6, 2019