eNews: Volume 19, Number 11 (March 2022)

Volume 19, Number 11 (March 2022)

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D. Director, NIOSH

Listening Safely for 2022 World Hearing Day

The universal language of music unites people across all cultures but listening safely is crucial to preventing hearing-related problems. The modern music industry employs a wide range of professionals who are at risk from unsafe listening practices.

NIOSH has made many contributions to efforts to keep workers within the music industry safe. For example, a NIOSH Workplace Solutions provides information to help reduce the risk of hearing disorders in musicians and others in the music industry. It looks at the specific risks of hearing loss and tinnitus among music industry workers and provides specific prevention recommendations.

NIOSH also works with partners to recognize real-world hearing loss prevention efforts through the Safe-in-Sound Awards. NIOSH, the National Hearing Conservation Association, and the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation have presented the award to music industry-related prevention efforts in 2009, 2010, and 2014.

The 2022 Innovation in Hearing Loss Prevention winner is the latest example of a prevention effort in the music industry. Rational Acoustics received the award for their efforts to manage sound exposure risk for those who work at or attend live concerts, such as audio engineers, event staff, and concert attendees.

The efforts of both NIOSH and the Safe-in-Sound winners contribute to this year’s World Hearing Day theme, “To hear for life, listen with care!” World Hearing Day is hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and celebrated each year on March 3. This year, along with communication products focused on safe listening, the WHO released their Global Standard for Safe Listening Entertainment Venues.

This standard focuses on the specific needs of music venues and related populations, including monitoring and limiting sound levels, optimizing venue acoustics and sound systems, making hearing protection devices available, creating access to quiet zones, and providing training and safe listening information.

NIOSH encourages using all of these resources to protect yourself at home and on the job from hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing-related injuries. Protect your hearing with safe listening practices so you can enjoy it for a lifetime.

Research Rounds

For 2022, we are returning to our standard series of Inside and Outside NIOSH, where we look at one internal and one external study each month. We hope that you enjoyed last year’s NIOSH 50th Anniversary series reflecting on research from the past half century.

Inside NIOSH:

Certain Health-related Conditions More Common Among Maritime Workers

Compared with workers in other industries, maritime workers were more likely to report certain health-related conditions, according to research recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The maritime industry encompasses a variety of jobs in multiple sectors, including shipyards, marine terminals, commercial fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing, commercial diving, and marine transportation. Previous research has showed that maritime workers, especially commercial fishermen, are at greater risk than workers in other industries for work-related injury, illness, and death. However, little was known about the overall health and well-being of these workers. This study compared the frequency of several health-related conditions, which can increase the risk of injury, illness, and death, between maritime and other workers: binge drinking, current smoking, long-term asthma, overweight or obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a serious lung disease. In addition, they calculated the estimated frequency of flu shots and health insurance coverage.

Researchers first reviewed 2014–2018 telephone survey results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a CDC program that collects state-based information about health-related behavior, long-term illness, and healthcare use. With this information, they calculated the estimated frequency of the health-related conditions.

The study showed that 6 of the 10 health-related conditions occurred more frequently among maritime than other workers. Specifically, maritime workers were more likely to report binge drinking, smoking, overweight or obesity, diabetes, cancer, and COPD. Of these six health-related conditions, they were at greatest risk for binge drinking and smoking. Compared with workers in other industries, maritime workers were 28% more likely to report binge drinking and 39% more likely to report smoking. These findings can help inform future research aimed at improving safety and health among maritime workers.

More information is available: NIOSH | Maritime Worker Safety

Outside NIOSH:

“Active” Seat Reduces Truck Drivers’ Exposure to Whole Body Vibration

For truck drivers, exposure to whole body vibration is a key risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders, including low back pain. The standard prevention method is a type of seat suspension system, similar to a shock absorber in a car, which reduces the vibration a driver feels from the road or a vehicle. However, previous research showed that this so-called passive seat does not adequately protect against exposure to whole body vibration.

Addressing this issue, NIOSH-funded researchers at Northeastern University evaluated the effectiveness of a new seat in reducing whole body vibration, low back pain, and disability. The study included 135 truck drivers in Arkansas, California, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas. Participants were mostly white males, with an average age of 48 years and an average 12-year tenure with their company. Researchers compared a new version of the passive seat to a so-called active seat, which uses an adaptive technology to actually respond to shock and change the seat’s performance according to the measured road conditions. Researchers measured and compared both seats for whole body vibration. Participants completed surveys about their experience of low back pain and disability before using the seats and at five intervals over the following 24 months. The study occurred between 2014 and 2018.

Published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, the study linked the active seat to a lower exposure to whole body vibration, reducing it by 50% compared with the passive seat after 12 and 24 months of use. However, drivers in both seats reported up to 50% decreased low back pain and disability. One reason for the decrease could be that the truck drivers received training on seat adjustments, which may have led to better driving posture and overall lower risk for low back pain, according to the researchers. These results indicate that the active seat can help reduce whole body vibration, but low back pain among truck drivers may have additional causes.

More information is available: NIOSH | Investigator-Initiated Research & Mentored Research Scientist Career Development

Photo by Michael Lawrence, Rational Acoustics, LLC

Photo by Michael Lawrence, Rational Acoustics, LLC

NIOSH eNews is Brought to You By:

John Howard, M.D., Director
Christina Spring, Editor in Chief

Managing Editor
Tanya Headley

Section Editor
Anne Blank, Research Rounds
Kiana Harper, Highlights & Monthly Features

Contributing Editors
Sarah Mitchell
Donjanea Williams

Copy Editor
Cheryl Hamilton

Technical Support
Steve Leonard, Technical Lead
Margaret Bertsch, Web Developer

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Nominations for Prevention Through Design Award Are Now Open!
Nominations for the 2022 Prevention through Design (PtD) award are now being accepted. This award recognizes individuals, teams, businesses, or other organizations that have improved worker safety and health by designing-out hazards or contributing to the body of knowledge that enables PtD solutions. Nominations are due by May 2. For more information or to submit a nomination see the award website. The award is sponsored by NIOSH, the National Safety Council, and the American Society of Safety Professionals.

NOIRS 2022

NOIRS 2022 Is Going VIRTUAL—Register Today! 
Join us online for the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS), which occurs May 10–12 from 12–4 p.m. (EDT). A poster session will take place May 11 from 4–5 p.m. Registration for this free event is now open! Learn more about NOIRS 2022.

New Safety Materials for Lawn Care Workers 
NIOSH recently published an infographic and other graphics to promote safe work practices in the landscaping industry. Landscaping is one of the highest risk industries in the service industry.

National Academies Release Report on Protecting Workers and the Public From Inhalation Hazards
NIOSH, partners and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a new report to provide recommendations for the oversight and guidance of respiratory protection in the United States. This report was developed in response to the need for available and appropriate respiratory protection for workers who were not already within a workplace respiratory protection program. It also offers guidance to the public who could be exposed to inhalation hazards such as viruses, wildfire smoke, and mold as a part of daily life. Read the NIOSH update for more information.

NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors Seeking Nominations for New Members
The NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors is seeking nominations for new members to serve starting in 2023. The Board is composed of 15 experts who meet twice a year to provide advice on NIOSH’s occupational safety and health research and prevention programs. NIOSH welcomes nominees from diverse backgrounds and with expertise in a variety of disciplines related to occupational safety and health. Nominations are due by April 15. For more information see the full announcement.

job vacancy megaphone

Job Vacancy: Supervisory Research Engineer 
NIOSH has an exciting career opportunity for a supervisory research engineer in the NIOSH Division of Safety Research. The position is for Chief of the Protective Technology Branch. The Branch Chief provides guidance, technical direction, and managerial oversight to a team of research scientists, engineers, technicians, and other professional staff. The team is responsible for designing, developing, and improving safety engineering systems and personal protective equipment. The announcement closes March 17.

NIOSH and Board of Certified Safety Professionals Renew Partnership
NIOSH and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) have renewed their partnership. The aim of this partnership is to continue to improve occupational safety and health at workplaces throughout the United States and enhance the development of safety and health professionals.

NIOSH Congratulates

NIOSH Congratulates icon

NIOSH Researcher Chosen as Engineer of the Year
On February 28, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Lieutenant Commander and NIOSH engineer Chaolong Qi received the 2022 USPHS Engineer of the Year Award. This award recognizes a commissioned officer who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, innovation, dedication, and service to the federal agency to which they are assigned. Dr. Qi was also selected by the National Society of Professional Engineers as a 2022 CDC Engineer of the Year. He was the only engineer from the Department of Health and Human Services who was a top 10 finalist for the NSPE 2022 Federal Engineer of the Year Award.

NIOSH Senior Researcher Wins 2022 Media Award 
Senior NIOSH researcher Dr. Thais Morata and partners were awarded the National Hearing Conservation Association’s (NHCA) 2022 Media Award at the 46th annual NHCA conference in February. The group has worked to improve hearing health-related information on Wikipedia platforms on both national and international levels. This is the third year NIOSH researchers have won the media award, which is presented to individuals and groups who work towards increasing public awareness of noise through writing and other media outlets.

Monthly Features

New Communication Products & Reports

Fact Sheets

Federal Register Notice

Solicitation of Nominations for Appointment to the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
The notice was posted on February 14. Comments must be received by April 15.


Oil and Gas Extraction Summit
The NORA Oil and Gas Extraction Council is organizing the Spring Health and Safety Summit on April 6–7 from 12–4 p.m. (ET) each day. This free virtual event will bring together representatives from NIOSH, OSHA, and upstream oil and gas industry partners to provide state-of-the-art knowledge on occupational exposures to noise and heat stress in the upstream oil and gas industry. Register for the summit today!

National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents
Save the date! The third annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents will be held April 11–15 in coordination with National Work Zone Awareness Week. The NORA Construction Sector Council  will host several webinars spread across that week.

Understanding Respiratory Protection and Face Coverings
The NORA Manufacturing Council recently published Understanding Respiratory Protection and Face Coverings on the National Association of Manufacturers  website. The publication aims to help small businesses understand the difference between face coverings and respirators as part of deploying a respiratory protection program.

News from Our Partners

WHO/ILO Issue New Publications Related to Worker Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) recently released two new joint reports:

  • The first is a technical brief on healthy and safe teleworking. The brief outlines the health benefits and risks of teleworking brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation of work. It also suggests changes needed to accommodate the shift towards different forms of remote work arrangements
  • The second is a guide for the development and implementation of occupational health and safety programs for health workers. This guide provides an overview of the key elements of occupational health and safety programs for health workers at various levels, as well as advice for the development and implementation of such programs. The initial stage of preparing the guide was supported by a WHO/NIOSH cooperative agreement.

Call for Proposals

  • 32nd Annual Art and & Science of Health Promotion Conference: The deadline to submit case study and posters presentations is March 15.

 Brief Updates From NIOSH-Supported Centers

Updates from the Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health (Ag Centers):
Updates from the Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health®:
Updates from CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training:
New Publications From the Education and Research Centers (ERCs):

Conferences, Meetings, Webinars, & Events

This page provides a list of publicly available occupational safety and health-related conferences, meetings, webinars, and events sponsored by NIOSH as well as other government agencies, and nongovernment agencies, such as universities, professional societies, and organizations.