NIOSH Testimony on NIOSH Contributions to Occupational Safety and Health by E. J. Baier, June 29, 1977.
This statement concerned the contributions made by NIOSH in the area of occupational safety and health. The problem itself was large as there were more than 80 million workers in the United States employed in over 5 million establishments. Most of these businesses employed 25 or fewer persons. During the National Occupational Hazard Survey over 70 percent of the exposures to which workers were subjected were to trade name products for which the company using the product does not know the chemical composition. NIOSH has estimated that roughly 100,000 Americans may die each year from occupational diseases. Occupational exposures may also play an important part in 80 to 90 percent of the cancers considered to be caused by environmental factors. A guide has been recently developed which was designed to assist State agencies, physicians and others concerned with occupational disease compensation. There was a great need currently for more trained safety and health professionals. During this reporting year NIOSH began funding Educational Resource Centers. Training grants were available for schools of occupational medicine, nursing, public health and engineering. The development of a uniform system for reporting occupational medical data would facilitate the collection and analysis of workplace health and safety problems. The importance of the Criteria Document program was stressed and the establishment of a uniform policy for identifying and regulating cancer causing chemicals was supported. Additional research needs and means of informing workers of various hazards to which they were exposed were noted.