Volume 17, Number 3 (July 2019)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

My Safe Summer Job – It Takes Teamwork

What was your first summer job?

Mine was painting fences in my neighborhood. I combined my love of the outdoors with earning money! One homeowner paid me in silver dollars that he had won in Las Vegas.

Whether painting fences, working in the family business, or working in a local shop, restaurant, or office, summer jobs provide valuable opportunities for young people so they can earn money, gain independence, build self-esteem, and explore vocational interests. They can also acquire valuable social and emotional learning skills, such as teamwork and critical thinking, which help them transition to adulthood. Many young people are seizing these opportunities: a recent GAO report estimates that in 2017, 2.5 million adolescents 15–17 years old worked during the summer months (June through August). [1]

Despite these benefits, work can also have serious risks. A NIOSH analysis of nonfatal occupational injury data reveal that, in 2017, the rate of work-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments for workers 15–17 years old was estimated to be more than one-and-a-half times higher than the injury rate for adult workers 25 years and older. [2]

A 2017 NIOSH report paints a troubling picture of the enduring problem of young worker injuries and deaths in the United States, especially in high-hazard industries such as agriculture. Conditions such as workplace hazards, child labor law violations, [3] fast-paced work, minority status, and insufficient experience, training, and supervision contribute to an increased risk of injury and death among adolescent workers.

While employers have the main responsibility to provide workers, including teen employees, with a safe and healthy workplace, safety takes teamwork. Parents, teachers, government agencies, and young people themselves also play a crucial role in contributing to safe and healthy work experiences for youth. A recent NIOSH blog provides general guidelines, complied from a number of sources, for keeping youth safe and healthy at work.

NIOSH understands and appreciates the importance of being part of the team promoting young worker safety and health. That’s why we joined up with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, CareerSafe, the National Safety Council, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, and other professional and nonprofit organizations on #MySafeSummerJob. This 5-week, social media campaign was designed to disseminate information about workplace safety and health to young workers, parents, and employers as high school and college youth begin their summer employment.

Media messaging was based on the NIOSH Youth@Work—Talking Safety curriculum and other sources to raise awareness about job-related hazards and how to address them, workers’ rights, and how to speak up when  feeling unsafe or threatened at work. Stakeholders were encouraged to follow along on the NIOSH Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, and to visit the My Safe Summer Jobexternal icon website for materials, resources, and information. CDC also highlighted the campaign in a May press release, Eight Tips for Safe and Healthy Summertime Work and Play. Preliminary reports and social media metrics indicate that the campaign was a success and had a substantial reach. The CDC press release alone (that raised awareness about #MySafeSummerJob) had a potential audience of 108 million readers! The campaign was included in communications from major media outletsexternal icon and generated positive buzz in the occupational safety and health community and beyond.

The My Safe Summer Jobexternal icon campaign is an exceptional example of teamwork to promote young worker safety and health. It is only one of the many collaborations in which NIOSH is engaged on this important public health topic. The NIOSH Safe-Skilled-Ready Workforce program and Young Worker Safety and Health webpage have more information on these collaborations, as well as access to young worker research and resources. Also provided there are links to other federal agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administrationexternal icon, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Divisionexternal icon, and multiple state agencies and community organizations that provide guidance for young workers, employers, parents, and teachers.

It’s summertime! A perfect time for picnics, painting fences, and redoubling our efforts to work together to ensure that every young person’s first summer job—and every job—is safe and healthy.


[1] United States Government Accountability Office. Working children: Federal inquiry data and compliance strategies could be strengthened. icon. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 2018. Accessed May 9, 2019.

[2] NIOSH. Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System [Internet]. Morgantown (WV): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (US). May 2019. Available from:

[3] Information on the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) child labor provisions is available from: icon.

Illustration of three youth workers. A female lifeguard, a female server, and a male light industry worker. Hashtag MySafeSummerJob

Image by NIOSH

NIOSH eNews is Brought to You By:
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  • Christina Spring, Editor in Chief
  • Tanya Headley, Story Editor
  • Kiana Harper, Monthly Features Editor
  • Cheryl Hamilton, Copy Editor
  • Steve Leonard, Technical Lead
  • Joe Cauley, Web Developer
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NIOSH Kicks Off Future of Work Initiative

NIOSH recently launched a new Future of Work Initiative to more broadly address future worker, safety, and well-being. This new initiative is a collaborative effort across NIOSH and other agencies and organizations to identify novel research solutions and practical approaches to address the future of work.

New Study Looks at Participation in Workplace Health Promotion Programs

A new study by NIOSH researchers found that close to 47% of workers have access to workplace health promotion programs, and among those with access, only 58% of workers take advantage of them. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Health Promotion. The study describes the availability of these programs and how sociodemographic and work organization characteristics affect participation in these programs. A NIOSH Update provides more information.

Vote Today! NIOSH Researcher “Sammie” People’s Choice Award Finalist

NIOSH behavioral scientist Emily Haas has made it to the Final Four category in the 2019 Service to America (also known as “the Sammie”) People’s Choice Awards. This nomination is in addition to Emily’s selection as a finalist in the Safety and Law Enforcement category. Cast your voteexternal icon through July 8.

Partnership Opportunity to Develop New Designs of Powered Air-purifying Respirators for Healthcare Workers

NIOSH announces the opportunityexternal icon for inventors, researchers, and/or respirator manufacturers to participate, through a collaborative agreement, in a project titled “New Generation Powered Air-purifying Respirators.” The project aims to develop new designs of powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) for healthcare workers.

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 Congratulates

Dr. Christine Branche

NIOSH Principal Associate Director Honored with ASSP President’s Award
Dr. Christine Branche, NIOSH Principal Associate Director and Director of the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health, recently received the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) President Awardexternal icon. She received the award for her outstanding achievements in research and interventions that help protect construction workers, and for steadfast support of the organization’s members, mission and vision. CDR Elizabeth Garza of NIOSH accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Branche.

NIOSH Researchers Recognized for Health Care Paper
The 2017 JOEM Fast Track paper, Recognition of the Relationship Between Patients’ Work and Health: A Qualitative Evaluation of the Need for Clinical Decision Support for Worker Health in Five Primary Care Practices, by Baron S., Filios M., Marovich S., et al. was awarded the 2019 RADM Julia Plotnick Publication Award for Health/Nursing Policyexternal icon. The award is given by the United States Public Health Service Professional Advisory Committee for Nursing.

Monthly Features

New Communication Products

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Reports
Health Hazard Evaluation Reports

Police Officers’ Exposure to Secondhand Cannabis Smoke at Open-air Stadium Events

Finding measurable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (the active ingredient in cannabis) in personal and area air samples, HHE Program investigators recommended assigning police officers who report being bothered by secondhand cannabis smoke to a work location where potential exposure is believed to be relatively low or nonexistent. Read the HHE reportexternal icon to learn more.

Evaluation of Workplace Exposures at a Ceramic Tile Manufacturer

Finding low concentrations of acids, areas where the exhaust ventilation could be improved, and the potential for heat stress conditions, HHE Program investigators recommended eliminating sharp turns and extra length in exhaust ducts and implementing a heat stress program. Read the HHE reportexternal icon to learn more.

NIOSH Science Blog

Federal Register Notices

Mesothelioma Registry Feasibility; Request for Information

The noticeexternal icon was posted on April 8. Comments must be received by July 8.

Partnership Opportunity to Develop New Designs of Powered Air-Purifying Respirators for Healthcare Workers

The noticeexternal icon was posted on July 1. Letters of intent must be received by July 31.

Mining Automation and Safety Research Prioritization; Reopening of Comment Period

The noticeexternal icon was posted on June 24. Comments must be received by August 23.

See the NIOSH Federal Register website for a full listing of NIOSH official publications for rules, proposed rules, and notices.

National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)

Get Involved in Construction Council Workgroups

For those interested in getting involved with the NORA Construction Sector Council, there are three workgroups looking at: 1) Preventing Falls, 2) Preventing Struck-by Injuries/Fatalities, and 3) Work Organization. If interested in joining one or more of these workgroups please email the Sector Coordinator or NORA Coordinator.

Stop Sticks Campaign Refresh

The Stop Sticks campaign is a communication intervention aimed at raising awareness among health care workers about their risk of workplace exposure to bloodborne pathogens from needlesticks and other sharps related injuries. Stop Sticks was originally created by NIOSH, but is now updated and maintained by the NORA Healthcare and Social Assistance Sector Council. Check out the refreshed Stop Sticks campaign website.

News from Our Partners

Register for the NIOSH Education and Research Centers Ergonomic Webinar Series

The NIOSH-funded Education and Research Centers (ERCs) will hold the sixth installment of their 2019 Ergonomics Webinar Seriesexternal icon on Wednesday, July 17. The series offers free monthly webinars on occupational safety and health topics related to human factors and ergonomics. This month’s featured speaker is Amit Bhattacharya, PhD, CPE, of the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Bhattacharya will focus on heat-stress-associated changes in postural balance among firefighters. This event is 3:00–4:00 p.m. (ET).

Prepare for Fireworks Safety This Summer

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is encouraging the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to take steps to protect workers throughout the summer season. Visit the OSHA website to read about the common hazards and solutionsexternal icon on how to protect workers this summer.

Information From National State of the Science Firefighter Cancer Symposium Now Available

Photos and recorded video sessions are now available from the State of the Science National Firefighter Cancer Symposiumexternal icon that was held June 10–11 in Miami. Recent reports that firefighters have an increased risk of developing cancer have led to a nationwide effort to combat cancer in the fire service. This meeting provided the latest research on firefighter cancer prevention and aimed to create a scientific roadmap for the control and prevention of cancer in the U.S. fire service. The meeting was hosted by the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and was partially funded by a NIOSH R13 grant.

Learn About the WVU School of Public Health Program

West Virginia University (WVU) School of Public Health (SPH) has released a new promotional videoexternal icon to encourage students to consider studying Public Health at WVU. The video includes mention of the partnership and close working relationship SPH has with NIOSH.

Opioid Crisis Forum: September 17, Washington D.C.

Register by August 15external icon for the Human Services Programs and the Opioid Crisis forum, September 17, in Washington, D.C.  The forum will focus on how the opioid epidemic has affected the delivery of human services, and what role those services can play in mitigating the effects of the crisis on individuals, families, and communities. It is convened by the Institute for Research on Povertyexternal icon at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Webinars, Conferences & Events

Call for Abstracts

7th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health
Deadline for abstractsexternal icon is October 30.

Call for Manuscripts

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

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

BCSP Foundation Inaugural Research and Innovation Summitexternal icon
August 5–7, Indianapolis, IN

Fraternal Order of Police 64th Biennial Conference & Expoexternal icon Look 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 iconLook for Us!
August 19–22, Nashville, TN

Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare National Conferenceexternal iconLook for Us!
September 4–7, Baltimore, MD

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

United Steelworkers of America Health and Safety Expo and Conferenceexternal icon
September 9–13, 2019, Pittsburgh PA

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 15–18, Phoenix, AZ

Annual Poverty Research and Policy Forum: Human Services Programs and the Opioid Crisisexternal icon
September 17, Washington D.C.

Mid Atlantic Safety and Health Allianceexternal iconLook for Us!
September 26, Cranberry Township, PA

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

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at NIOSH Conferences and Events.
Page last reviewed: July 8, 2019