Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Services Sector Activities

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

NORA Services Sector Council Activities

National Services Agenda – The NORA Services Sector Council created the National Services Agenda which was published on the internet in April 2009. The Agenda contains a set of 17 strategic goals with intermediate and activity/output sub goals for each. While preparing the agenda, the Council evaluated injury and fatality surveillance data as well as numerous stakeholder comments which were received at town hall meetings and through the NIOSH/NORA web site.

Priority Goals – The NORA Services Sector Council selected 10 priority goals from among those in the National Services Agenda. Each of the selected goals has an activity within the council to help achieve the goal.

Implementation Plans – For each of the priority goals selected by the NORA Services Sector Council, an implementation plan was developed and teams of council members meet to make progress on the plans. Accomplishments include 3 NORA Fact Sheets and a number of other activities.

Fact Sheets – A total of 4 NORA Fact Sheets have been developed by the NORA Services Sector Council and published by NIOSH. The fact sheets describe hazards and relevant NORA goals for the  automotive repair ,  education , and the  food services  ( Spanish ) industries and for  hotel room cleaners  ( Spanish ).

Solid Waste Industry – As a result of council activities, presentations about occupational safety and health issues have been made at three international solid waste industry annual meetings. Two webinars have been presented and another invitational presentation at a national industry meeting will occur in 2013.

Members of the NORA Services Sector Council helped create the NIOSH Fact Sheet: Solid Waste Industry ( NIOSH Doc. No. 2012-140 ) which was published March 2012. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the toll of injuries, illnesses and fatalities and how they can be prevented.

Cleaning Agents – Members of the NORA Services Sector Council, in collaboration with a number of others, created educational materials for workers and their employers who use cleaning agents as part of their jobs. The poster is available in English,  Chinese ,  Spanish , and  Tagalog . Print copies of the poster may be available using the NIOSH publication order form at  http:// wwwn. cdc. gov /pubs/ niosh. aspx  and requesting numbers 2012-125 (for English) and 2012-125sp (for Spanish). Electronic versions of the information sheet and poster may also be downloaded at  http:/ /www. cdc. gov/ niosh/ docs/ 2012-126  and  http:// www. cdc. gov/ niosh/ docs/ 2012-125 . Copies are also available from OSHA which co-branded the products with NIOSH.

Revised National Services Agenda – The NORA Services Sector Council revised the National Services Agenda and published it on the internet in August 2013. Goals were added for the Hair and Nail Salon industry. The Council also marked some goals “accomplished” after conducting a literature review and considering progress and remaining gaps. The literature review was published as an Appendix to the Agenda.

Second revision of the National Services Agenda – The NORA Services Sector Council revised the National Services Agenda for the second time and published it on the internet in July 2015. For this revision, the sector council reviewed the goals and identified additional completed research and intervention activities. Additionally, the goals were edited and reduced in number to better reflect goals that were accomplished and the level of effort currently available in the Nation to address the remaining priorities. The Appendix includes an updated literature review listing documents that helped advance the original goals.

List of NIOSH Intramural Projects

Descriptions of NIOSH Intramural Projects

Understanding and Promoting OSH in Low Income Older Workers; James Grosch, NIOSH; Ongoing
The proposed study involves two complementary research components. In the first component, a study will be conducted of a federally funded employment program for low income older workers called the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). SCSEP is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and run by several national non-profit organizations (e.g., Experience Works, AARP, National Council on the Aging, Easter Seals) and state-based agencies. In the second component, archival data will be analyzed from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative longitudinal survey of approximately 10,000 older adults that began in 1992 and is currently on-going. Together, the analysis of HRS and SCSEP data will provide a more complete picture of low income older workers than either data source can alone.

Priority Pops: Coordination Project; Sherry Baron, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project is the coordination project for a NORA research program on Preventing Barriers to Occupational Safety and Health in Priority Populations, including low income, minority, immigrant and/or older workers. This project will provide the coordination and integration of quantitative and qualitative data collected across four research projects and will promote improved surveillance data and research tools aimed at eliminating occupational health disparities.

The Epidemiology and Impact of Workplace Violence (WPV) in PA Teachers and Paraprofessionals; Hope Tiesman, NIOSH; Ongoing
The study will utilize a cross-sectional design, surveying teachers and paraprofessionals in urban, suburban, and rural public schools throughout Pennsylvania using a paper-and-pencil survey tool. Participants will be randomly selected from membership lists maintained by the unions representing all education workers in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State Educators Association or PSEA and the American Federation of Teachers or AFT). This cross-sectional study is designed to address the following three specific aims: estimate the number and prevalence proportions (rates) of physical, non-physical, and electronic WPV; identify circumstances and risk factors for physical, non-physical, & electronic WPV; and measure the impact of WPV on job satisfaction and quality of life.

Promoting School Employee Injury & Illness Prevention Programs; Sherry Baron, NIOSH; Ongoing
The goal of this public health practice project is to collaborate with Labor Occupational Health Program at the University of California, Berkeley (LOHP) to document lessons learned from the School Action for Safety and Health (SASH) program in California for the purpose of disseminating this information to school districts around the country. As part of this process, we will identify key challenges faced by districts in promoting effective programs, strategies for addressing those challenges, and case examples of successful program implementation with the goal of preparing best practice guidelines and tools for use by school districts nationwide.

Minority Health and Work Organization: Research to Practice; Rashaun Roberts, NIOSH; Ongoing
Although workplace stressors are known to affect physical and mental health, little is known about how this relationship contributes to racial/ethnic health disparities. One barrier to exploring this relationship is the lack of research measures and methods. This project will develop and evaluate measures to detect workplace risk factors to minority health. The work will be completed in three phases.

Improving the Health and Safety of Minority Workers; Rashaun Roberts, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project will use newly developed measures and methods to detect workplace risk factors salient to minority health. It will also evaluate the success of current workplace occupational safety and health programs and practices in addressing minority health needs. The project involves conducting a mixed-methods study in Chicago, IL to investigate the relationship between organization of work factors, stress, and stress-related problems and to identify variables that moderate these relationships among minority workers. A web-based survey will be administered to employers and community-based organizations (CBOs) to assess awareness of workplace risk factors found by the study to be the most salient to minority health and to evaluate current practices and policies intended to reduce exposure to these and other risk factors.

Changing Nature of Work; Akinori Nakata, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of the project is to characterize changes in work organization in the U.S. and to establish the foundation for assessing health and safety consequences of such changes. A second purpose is to establish baseline data for tracking trends in work organization factors, to detect emergent work organization factors, and to identify targets for interventions to improve worker health and safety.

Work Organization Predictors of Depression in Women; Naomi Swanson, NIOSH; Ongoing
This is a prospective study examining the relationship between non-traditional work organization stressors (e.g., work-family conflicts, harassment, discrimination), traditional work organization stressors (e.g., demands, control), and depression in working women. It is hypothesized that these stressors are related to depression in women. It is also hypothesized that workplace policies which prohibit discriminatory practices, and programs which promote career progression and work-family balance may attenuate the effects of work organization stressors on depression.

Work Organization Assessment Tools for Companies; Naomi Swanson, NIOSH; Ongoing
The goal of this developmental project is to develop a web-based diagnostic tool for measuring work organization factors that influence employee health, well-being, and performance. The project will have three phases: 1) Survey variable selection; 2) development of a web-based work organization assessment tool, containing the survey items and company productivity and health measures; and, 3) development of a methodology and analysis plan for the testing of the work organization assessment tool that will be incorporated into a 2013 NORA competition proposal.

Translating NIOSH Rest Break Research into Practice; Jessica Streit, NIOSH; Ongoing
This purpose of this project is to help to bridge the gap between NIOSH research findings and organizational practices related to the rest breaks provided to workers using computers intensively (those using computers 5 or more hours per workday). The measurable primary strategic goal of this study is to increase organizational exposure to informational materials describing the health- and productivity-related benefits of frequent rest breaks. A secondary strategic goal for the proposed work is to reduce self-reported levels of musculoskeletal and eye discomfort, injuries, and strains in computer-based workers in service-based occupations.

Building Related Asthma Research: Maine Public Schools; Jean Cox Ganser, NIOSH; Ongoing
The project builds capacity to solve respiratory health problems in damp schools in Maine by using existing databases on school facilities and performance measures to prioritize interventions and by promoting the use of inexpensive assessment tools for health and dampness indices in the New England school facilities. The project will also document the time course of changes in health and environmental measures after remediation of water incursion in school facilities in New England.

Persistence of Dampness Indicators in Building Dust; Christopher Coffey, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this laboratory-based project is to explore the relationship between dampness and the release of gas- and/or particle-phase contaminants from building materials in order to understand whether those contaminants represent known irritants or sensitizers that might cause health effects in building occupants or workers conducting dampness remediation activities. The goals of the project are to answer the following specific research questions: 1) What types and concentrations of gas- and particle-phase contaminants are released from damp versus dry building materials and are any of the contaminants unique to damp materials?; 2) Does high humidity or water condensation induce or contribute to higher contaminant loading?; and 3) Are current indoor air sampling methodologies sufficient for characterizing damp buildings contaminants?

Practical Application of a Dampness/Mold Tool in Schools; Ju-Hyeong Park, NIOSH; Ongoing
The long term objective of this project is to help school personnel evaluate dampness and mold by themselves in their facilities and be proactive in dealing with issues of dampness, poor indoor environmental quality, and any associated health effects. The three specific aims are: 1) to refine the existing paper-based copy of the assessment tool with feedback from participating school districts; 2) to develop a computer-based assessment tool with data entry and analysis capabilities; and 3) to market and disseminate the computer based dampness/mold assessment tool for use in schools.

Worker Respiratory Health Post-Remediation of Water Damage; Ju-Hyeong Park, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of remediation of water intrusion and water-damaged materials in an office building on the excess asthma, other respiratory disease, and absenteeism among its office workers. We generated ten interim reports and letters sent to the stakeholders that helped the management plan and conduct remediation work on the building. We also generated more than 10 scientific manuscripts which drew a lot of attention from scientists in this indoor environmental quality research area.

Health Risks for Latina Immigrant Women in Cleaning; Sheli Delaney, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this study is to gather more information about the work experiences of Latina cleaners. In order to better understand the risks encountered by Latinas in the cleaning industry, this pilot project proposes to conduct four to six focus groups of three to six Latinas who work in cleaning about their health and safety on the job. Goal 1 of this project is to identify Latina cleaners’ specific work-related health problems. Goal 2 is to explore psychological stressors that Latina cleaners encounter in the workplace. Goal 3 is to collect data about Latina cleaners’ workplace safety and health training experiences. Goal 4 is to produce a Best Practices document and distribute to employers.

Evaluation of STF Prevention Practices in Food Services; Jennifer Bell, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this project is to complete field evaluation of the efficacy of slip, trip, and fall (STF) prevention practices (with a focus on slip-resistant shoes and optimal floor cleaning) in reducing the incidence of STF-related injuries in food services. Because of the large size of the food services industry (~10 million workers) and the high rates of STF injuries, NIOSH has developed a goal to reduce the frequency of injuries by 30% among food service workers by 2015. Expected outputs include scientific publications and presentations, and lay documents in electronic format. It is anticipated that dissemination through stakeholder groups will encourage company participation in STF prevention measures leading to a reduction in STF injuries.

Partnering With Food Service Inspectors to Promote Restaurant Worker Protection; Matthew Groenewold, NIOSH; Ongoing
A current participatory research project involving the Labor Occupational Health Program of the University of California, Berkeley, the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco Chinatown, and the San Francisco Public Health Department, is looking at the health and safety of Chinese restaurant workers. One of the recommended interventions emerging from this collaboration is the engagement of public health/food safety inspectors in reaching out to restaurants about occupational injury and illness prevention. Based on initial experience, our proposal is to explore the alternative approach of having food inspectors provide information and resources, rather than incorporating occupational safety and health items into their food safety inspections.

Core OSH Training for New/Young Workers; Carol Stephenson, NIOSH; Completed
In FY 2003, NIOSH convened a multidisciplinary working group to select and refine the best of the existing OSH curricula and methods for use as a national foundation curriculum for youth. This curriculum currently consists of six modules: 1) understanding new and young worker risk of workplace injuries; 2) recognizing and finding hazards; 3) controlling workplace hazards by making jobs safer and working safety; 4) your roles in dealing with emergencies at work; 5) know your rights; and 6) taking action: getting the information you need and communicating with your boss and co-workers. All modules contain guidance for teachers as well as a variety of activities that are designed to be used in a participatory, interactive manner within classrooms.

Evaluation of OSHA Restaurant E-Tool Learning Tool; Carol Stephenson, NIOSH; Ongoing
The primary goal of this project attempts to answer two research questions: 1) Do student preferences for graphical and navigational elements on OSHA’s Restaurant E-Tool affect how they view the risks of workplace hazards and, 2) Is the etool effective in communicating to students the desired safety messages? EID will run web usability assessments on the OSHA Restaurant E-Tool among 30-40 adolescents. Each participant will run through a series of tasks while researchers record their feedback. Resulting participant comments will be coded and quantified to determine patterns and/or problems in the E-Tool design. Furthermore, participant comments will also be correlated to pre-test and post-test data to determine knowledge gain and attitude change.

Dissemination and Integration of OSH to Young Workers; Carol Stephenson, NIOSH; Ongoing
The goal of this project is to maintain, improve, and promote “Talking Safety”, the NIOSH curriculum for young workers. Through this project NIOSH conducts exhibit activity each year to promote the use of the curriculum among targeted audiences, especially high school teachers. NIOSH also publishes articles in teachers and trade magazines to raise awareness about the product, conducts training workshops for teachers and administrators, and otherwise promotes the widespread dissemination and use of the product. Through this project NIOSH engages in continuous quality improvement of the curriculum based on input from student and teacher users, employers, and the OSH community.

Integration of OSH Curriculum into USA High Schools; Carol Stephenson, NIOSH; Ongoing
This is a demonstration project to assess the feasibility of integrating OSH training into high school programs of study through use of the ‘Talking Safety’ curriculum. The aim of the project is to provide intensive support for capacity building of two state teams so that they may build the necessary infrastructure and conduct the appropriate activities that will lead to integration of OSH training for high school students in their state before they enter the workplace.

Adapt & Validate Spanish Ergonomic Job Exposure Tools; Kellie Pierson, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this project is to provide the ergonomics research community with two previously unavailable, scientifically validated tools that will allow them to characterize exposure to musculoskeletal disorder risk factors. The specific aim of the project is to provide the scientific community with two empirically validated, culturally and linguistically appropriate ergonomic assessment tools for application with Spanish speaking workers in the United States.

Upper Limb Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders; Susan Burt, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this study is to quantify risk for work-related upper limb musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) at varying levels of exposure to physical job stressors, such as repetitiveness, forceful exertion, and awkward posture. Data will be used to evaluate existing and proposed guidelines that have been developed to limit these exposures and to prevent work-related MSDs. An example of existing guidelines that will be evaluated include the Hand Activity Level scale (Latko 1997). This research includes multiple work sites from the service and manufacturing industries with job tasks that represent a range of exposures to physical job stressors. The job tasks of each participant were studied using a combination of direct field measurements and observational ratings from videotapes.

Long Term Study of Ergonomic Mouse Effectiveness; Naomi Swanson, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project will provide empirical evidence of the effectiveness of various ergonomic mouse input devices in preventing or relieving musculoskeletal problems in computer users. The results will be used to develop recommendations regarding effective mouse designs. The present project consists of a comprehensive long-term field assessment of the efficacy of ergonomic mouse input devices in preventing or reducing musculoskeletal disorders among computer users.

Dissemination of Information about Computer Input Devices; Naomi Swanson, NIOSH; Ongoing
NIOSH has collaborated with State Farm on two longitudinal computer input device studies. Both studies provide comprehensive information about input device design and usability issues that is currently lacking. The project will use these data to develop separate informational brochures and NIOSH topic pages for alternative keyboards and computer mouse devices.

Development and Validation of an Automated Biomechanical and Physiological Assessment Suite (ABACAS); Frank Buczek, NIOSH; Ongoing
The Advanced Biomechanical and Cardiopulmonary Assessment Suite (ABACAS) aims to develop instrumentation that measures biomechanical, physiological, and psychometric loads in the workplace. ABACAS will have immediate application by quantifying exposure to repetitive motions and musculoskeletal loads using existing laboratory models. By providing previously unavailable data in actual employment conditions, ABACAS will also improve basic science models of musculoskeletal loading. Used in a survey mode, such characterizations will allow risk managers to objectively identify tasks which may cause injury. Such identification allows for more effective prevention strategies. Interventions founded on these strategies are more likely to succeed because the correct object of intervention is identified.

Observational Sampling Methods for Ergonomic Risk Assessment; Oliver Wirth, NIOSH; Ongoing
The main purpose of the project is to evaluate different observational sampling methods for the assessment of ergonomic risk factors. The accuracy of different observational methods will be compared with continuous or direct reading technologies to determine their reliability in ergonomics risk assessment and safety monitoring processes. Laboratory-based simulation studies and statistical resampling methods will be used to evaluate various assessment strategies with different tasks involving either upper or lower extremity exertions. A major goal is to develop a comprehensive guidance or best-practices document that aids ergonomists and safety professionals in the selection and use of various observational methods for ergonomics risk assessment.

Using Training to Improve OSH for Waste Collection Workers; Robert Malkin, NIOSH; Ongoing
The hypothesis of the project is that interactive training will be effective at disseminating training information. The goal is for improved safety to be evident to an independent rater.

Hazards in Recycling Industry; Deborah Hornback, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project proposes to develop a series of special hazard reviews and educational documents on occupational hazards in the recycling industry. The series under development will contain a critical assessment of the relevant health effects literature and identify hazards and preventive strategies to reduce/prevent exposures to them. Topics of concern include (but are not limited to) musculoskeletal disorders, chemical exposure, exposure to unsanitary settings, injuries and other hazards.

Hazards in the Private Housekeeping Industry; Deborah Hornback, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project proposes to develop a series of special hazard reviews and educational documents on occupational hazards in the housekeeping industry. The series under development will contain a critical assessment of the relevant health effects literature and identify hazards and preventive strategies to reduce/prevent exposures to them. Topics of concern include (but are not limited to) musculoskeletal disorders, stress, violence, chemical exposure, exposure to unsanitary settings, injuries from domestic animals, and other hazards.

Economic Burden of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in Small Businesses; Anasua Bhattacharya, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project will address the different direct and indirect economic consequences associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and estimate the total costs of such injuries and illnesses in small businesses and for four different NORA sectors, Wholesale and Retail trade, Construction, Manufacturing and Services. The intermediate outcomes obtained from this project suggest that there exists cost shifting from WC to group medical coverage.

Calibration Methods for Direct Reading Aerosol Monitors; Terri Pearce, NIOSH; Ongoing
The project will test the hypothesis that aerosol concentration results from direct-reading aerosol monitors are comparable to results from conventional filter-based samplers. The aims are: 1: Evaluate the comparability of measurements made with the real-time aerosol monitors measuring total and size-fractionated (respirable, inhalable) aerosols of a test dust. 2: Repeat the monitor evaluations using dusts with different densities and refractive indices, namely titanium dioxide and carbon black.

Occupational Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and Brain Cancer; Joe Bowman, NIOSH; Ongoing
This new study called INTEROCC aims to exploit the occupational exposure data collected by the INTERPHONE study. It has three specific aims: 1. To evaluate the possible association between the occupational EMF exposure and tumors of the brain and central nervous system (specifically, glioma and meningioma). 2. To evaluate the possible association between selected occupational chemical exposures and tumors of the brain and central nervous system. 3. To investigate the possibility of synergism and/or confounding between chemical and EMF exposures on the risk of brain cancers.

Biomarker Development for Field Studies; Clayton B’Hymer, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this Molecular and Genetics Monitoring Team “umbrella” project is to identify and develop biomarkers of exposure, biomarkers of susceptibility and biomarkers of effect for occupational toxicants which is an integral part of the biomonitoring program at NIOSH. Workers can be better protected by the knowledge gained from more accurate determinations of exposure from the use of the appropriate biomarkers. This project addresses the need to relate exposure and susceptibility markers to markers of early effects and to determine which markers must be characterized to best reflect exposure or early indicators of disease.

Biomonitoring in Blood and Urine for Worker Exposures; Rosa Key-Schwartz, NIOSH; Ongoing
NIOSH is involved in conducting research for developing biomonitoring methods for worker exposure. The specific aims of this project are: 1) complete the research pending for 9 biomonitoring methods in collaboration with established partners (e.g.: U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio), 2) validate these methods, 3) complete the NIOSH document approval process and required peer reviews, 4) publish the validated methods in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM), and 5) co-author peer-reviewed technical journal articles.

Indoor Chemistry of Consumer Product Mixtures; John Wells, NIOSH; Completed
This project provided insight into important chemical structure and consumer product formulation trends that can be exploited to improve indoor air quality models, interpret field data, and enhance engineering controls. Terpenes are chemicals of low toxicity and are used in indoor work environments for cleaning and surface finishing. It has been shown that the indoor environment is a dynamic chemical reactor with ozone, the hydroxyl radical and the nitrate radical playing key roles in oxidizing volatile organic compounds. However, their oxidation products, typically complex aldehydes and carboxylic acids, appear to be strong lung airways irritants, and may be implicated in the induction of asthma.

Determination of UV Inactivation Rate Constants for Standard Microorganisms in Air; Stephen Martin, NIOSH; Ongoing
The project aims are to provide concrete scientific results regarding deactivation rate constants for use in a proposed Dose Effectiveness Rating (DER) system for in-duct UVGI devices. This rating system will represent the first microbiologically-based rating system for UVGI devices that describes performance while incorporating energy usage.

Development of New Immunodiagnostic and Detection Techniques for Indoor Fungi; Don Beezhold, NIOSH; Completed
The goal of this project was to identify major allergens of Paecilomyces variotii and produce species-specific monoclonal antibodies towards these allergens. Paecilomyces inhabits the soil, decaying plants or foods and its spores can grow and contaminate damp indoor environments. Exposure to fungal spores and fragments of this species can be as extremely high in occupational environments and has been shown to be a risk factor for a number of allergic and invasive diseases. In this project we addressed the problems associated with measuring personal exposure to this fungus in occupational settings by identifying the major allergens and produced species-specific monoclonal antibodies towards these allergens.

Characterization of Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI) Exposure Biomarkers; Justin Hettick, NIOSH; Ongoing
The overall goal of the proposed project is to isolate and characterize specific proteins of the respiratory tract and skin that react when exposed to occupationally-relevant levels of TDI. This project will result in the identification of specific biomarkers of TDI exposure and better reagents for identification of diisocyanate sensitized workers (e.g. appropriate hapten-protein conjugate to screen workers for TDI-specific antibodies). Furthermore, it will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between exposure and formation of allergenic TDI-protein conjugates within the workers following occupational exposures.

Reactions of VOCs with Nitrate Radicals on Indoor Surfaces; Jason Ham, NIOSH; Ongoing
The current observations of increased respiratory complaints highlight a need to more accurately describe the chemistry of indoor environments yielding clarification of chemical reaction mechanisms, secondary aerosol formation, and more accurate assessment of human exposure. Consumer products act not only as primary emission sources for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but, through indoor environment chemistry reactions with nitrate radicals (NO3), lead to the formation of secondary pollutants such as dicarbonyls, aldehydes, ketones, organic nitrates, and particulate matter precursors. These reactions can also occur on surfaces after cleaning products have been applied to them.

Cutaneous Bioactivation of Xenobiotics: Hapten vs. Prohapten; Itai Chipinda, NIOSH; Ongoing
The proposed research seeks to develop a model that can be utilized to distinguish between direct acting and metabolic activated haptens (pro-haptens) associated with allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) or respiratory allergies. The research correlates the in vivo local lymph node assay (LLNA) or mouse ear-swelling test (MEST) with cutaneous bioactivation (and inhibition of metabolism) of low molecular weight compounds.

Chemical Transformations in Indoor Workplaces; John Wells, NIOSH; Ongoing
The research effort has been designed to test the hypothesis: During the course of volatile organic compound (VOC) indoor chemistry, many high yield oxygenated organic compounds, such as carboxylic acids, that could impact occupant health, escape detection by conventional sampling methods. The research results will address the following questions: 1) What are the chemical structures that comprise “missing” or undetected carbon? 2) How are the reaction products partitioned in gas phase or particulate phase? 3) Does exposure to mixtures of different oxygenated organic compound structures result in disease “greater” than the sum of the parts, i.e. Do the reaction products combine to result in a more “toxic” mixture?

Immune and Inflammatory Aspects of Occupational Rhinitis; Victor Johnson, NIOSH; Ongoing
Occupational rhinitis is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the upper airways, although reported prevalence rates vary with occupation and from study to study, ranging between 5% and 65%. It has been suggested that epidemiological studies underestimate the incidence of rhinitis in the workplace due to lack of physician awareness and standardized diagnostic criteria. Importantly, the coexistence of occupational rhinitis in patients with occupational asthma has been reported as high as 92%. In fact, development of rhinitis symptoms often precedes the appearance of asthma symptoms by one year.

Identification of Occupational Allergens; Don Beezhold, NIOSH; Ongoing
This is an emerging issues project within the Branch that provides resources for investigations of new or emerging problems and develops assays appropriate for use in such investigations. The objectives of this project are to develop and validate assays to assess the inflammatory and immune responses of workers exposed to inciting agents; to provide support for field investigations related to such exposures; and to use laboratory approaches to identify agents associated with inflammatory or immune-mediated occupational disease and better understand how they exert their effects.

Immunotoxicity of Workplace Xenobiotics in Humans; Don Beezhold, NIOSH; Ongoing
The objective of this project is to add to the immunological database that has been established for humans exposed to xenobiotics in the workplace. The need to expand this database and validate current testing strategies has been recognized by several expert panels and international organizations. This information would 1) improve risk assessment strategies by providing data to determine if a correlation exists between rodent and human immunotoxicity data; 2) determine the types of responses and classes of chemicals which alter immune parameters to predict whether immunologic endpoints can be utilized as biomarkers of xenobiotic exposure, and 3) determine if xenobiotic-exposed populations with altered immune function have a greater risk for the development of clinical disease.

Genetics in Occupational Diseases; Berran Yucesoy, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project undertakes studies to identify and characterize genetic variants that may confer susceptibility to two common occupational diseases, irritant contact dermatitis and occupational asthma. Our strategy relies on hypothesis-based approaches and focuses on studying candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms, their haplotypes and patterns of linkage disequilibrium in well-characterized worker populations. This project addresses the following specific aims: 1- To investigate the contribution of genetic variability to the development and severity of irritant contact dermatitis in health care workers. 2- To study the influence of genetic variability in the development and outcomes of occupational asthma induced by low molecular weight sensitizers, diisocyanates.

Industry and Occupation Computerized Coding System; John Lu, NIOSH; Ongoing
The overall goal of this project is to develop a computer system that will efficiently, accurately, and uniformly translate industry and occupation in free text found on employment and health records to standardized I/O codes. This system will be used by researchers, federal government agencies, state health departments (vital statistics, cancer registries, etc.) and other organizations that collect and/or evaluate information using I/O. This program will ensure that I/O narratives are translated into standardized I/O classification codes which may be compared across studies and organizations.

Follow-up Studies on Occupational Injury Underreporting; Larry Jackson, NIOSH; Ongoing
To meet the intent of the appropriation, NIOSH will examine underreporting of occupational injuries and illnesses through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System—Work-Related Injury/Illness Supplement (NEISS-Work) by focusing on: an evaluation of NEISS-Work to attain information through routine emergency department (ED) medical chart abstraction on the injured/ill worker’s economic relationship to their job and type of employer and the expected payer for medical services; and development of the statistical basis, primary research issues, and a model telephone interview for injured/ill workers that focuses on identifying the employment status, prior injury/illness experience, and injury/illness reporting practices of ED-treated workers with an emphasis on non-governmental workers who are self-employed or otherwise excluded from the BLS survey; and researching various forms of contingent workers where ambiguity about injury/illness reporting mechanisms exist along with significant reporting disincentives.

ED-Treated Occupational Injuries by Industry Sector; Larry Jackson, NIOSH; Ongoing
The NIOSH Injury Surveillance Team conducts surveillance of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses treated in US emergency departments through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System—Work-Related Injury/Illness Supplement. Through this surveillance system, NIOSH collects and publishes data on demographics, treatment month, nature of injury, body part affected, hospital disposition, and injury circumstances (event/exposure and source) to aid public health action. The Injury Surveillance Team makes the data publicly available through an online data system, the Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System.

National Health Interview Survey Occupational Health Module; Sara Luckhaupt, NIOSH; Ongoing
The overall objective of this project is to provide data on the prevalence and correlates of work-related health conditions in the U.S. population to the NORA Sector Councils and other stakeholders to supplement the data currently available through traditional occupational health surveillance systems. We will accomplish this by collecting and analyzing data on psychosocial exposures, work organization characteristics and work-relatedness of common health conditions (e.g., hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, arthritis, low back pain, and other musculoskeletal problems) through an occupational health supplement to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Occupational Health Surveillance Research Using National Health Surveillance Data; Sangwoo Tak, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this project is to conduct surveillance research to identify and report emerging occupational health issues and problems. Studies will also focus on the causes, incidence, trends, and cost of diseases and disabling illness.

National Surveillance of Fatal Occupational Injuries; Suzanne Marsh, NIOSH; Ongoing
Goals of this project are to utilize fatal occupational surveillance data to identify high-risk worker groups and work environments, assess trends over time, encourage enhancements of existing surveillance systems, and continue to monitor and evaluate access to restricted-access data systems housed within the NIOSH Division of Safety Research (DSR).

Barriers to Occupational Injury Reporting by Workers; Larry Jackson, NIOSH; Ongoing
In collaboration with an expert workgroup representing federal injury surveillance, state health and labor departments, compensation insurers, health policy, emergency medicine, organized labor, and academic researchers, this project will develop and test a standardized telephone survey questionnaire addressing respondents’ recent reporting behavior and attitudes and perceptions regarding barriers to reporting occupational injuries.

National Surveillance of Nonfatal Occupational Injuries Using the NEISS; Larry Jackson, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project conducts surveillance of nonfatal occupational injuries in hospital emergency departments which is nationally representative, timely, allows for analysis of narrative data, case identification, and detailed telephone follow back investigations. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System—Work-Related Injury/Illness Supplement (NEISS-Work), which is conducted collaboratively with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), collects demographics of the injured worker, and a description of the injury event. National estimates of all work-related traumatic injuries can be made, as well as estimates for injuries to special populations (e.g., children, women, African-Americans), injury events (e.g., falls), and types of injuries (e.g., eye injuries).

Communication of Best Practices in Hearing Loss Prevention; Thais Morata, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project aims to address a recommendation put forth by the National Academies review, by making it attractive to industry safety personnel to volunteer their success stories by nominating their hearing loss prevention initiatives for an award. With the award we aim to: 1. Establish a validated process by which industries can measure the performance of their health practices against accepted key performance indicators. 2. Use a rigorous systematic review process to capture and evaluate the successes and lessons learned. 3. Recognize businesses that uphold effective hearing loss prevention as a business value and document measurable achievement. 4. Share leading edge and best practices information for educational purposes worldwide.

Research Efforts in Support of the NIOSH Skin Notation Project; H. Frederick Frasch, NIOSH; Ongoing
This purpose of this project is to address existing knowledge gaps that prohibit NIOSH from assigning appropriate Skin Notations to chemicals. By providing timely and focused data collection when insufficient data currently exists, the project will fill these data gaps. The project will perform several in vitro tests which will enable NIOSH to appropriately assign skin notations.

Physiological Evaluation of Air Fed Ensembles; Nina Turner, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this laboratory-based research project is to evaluate the metabolic and respiratory responses of men and women wearers of commercially available air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity exercise on a treadmill. The specific goals are to measure inhaled gas concentrations, pressures, and temperatures while men and women wear three different manufacturers’ air-fed ensembles at rest and during low-intensity treadmill walking.

1-Bromopropane Quantitative Risk Assessment; David Dankovic, NIOSH; Ongoing
The primary objective of this project is to conduct a quantitative risk assessment for 1-bromopropane, which will contribute to the on-going process of developing a recommended exposure limit for this substance. This project will review the available health effects studies for 1-bromopropane in humans and animals and identify those studies with dose-response information sufficient for quantitative analysis.

Emergency Response Personnel; Richard Neimeier, NIOSH; Ongoing
The major purpose is to evaluate and provide the type, format, and delivery channels of current, concise information in the most appropriate form to meet the emergency worker’s needs when facing various risks, including terrorism events and other chemical disasters, and to provide the necessary information for preparation of more effective training in planning for emergency actions. This project continues to evaluate the key occupational safety and health information needs of the composite emergency response workforce during response to all kinds of emergency activities. The goals also include a continuous update in order to communicate new threats, new information on existing threats, improvements in decontamination methods, first aid, PPE needs, toxicological evaluations, from various sources.

NIOSH Extramural Projects

Respiratory Effects in Workers from Post-Katrina Related Airborne Exposures; Roy J. Rando, Tulane University of Louisiana; Completed
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Modeling Shoe-Floor Interface Properties to Predict Slips and Falls; Mark S. Redfern, University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh; Completed
 Description in NIH RePORTER

A Randomized Intervention in Collision Repair Shops; David L. Parker, Park Nicollet Institute; Ongoing
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Effects of Localized Muscle Fatigue on Risk of Occupational Slips and Falls; Thurmon E. Lockhart, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Completed
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Evaluation of Protective Clothing to Prevent Diisocyanate Exposures in the Collision Repair Industry; Michael G. Yost, University of Washington; Ongoing
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Is Sputum Eosinophilia A Prognosis Factor for Occupational Asthma? A Proof of Concept; Catherine Lemiere, Sacré-Coeur Montreal Hospital; Completed
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Novel Systems for Rapidly Identifying Toxic Chemicals during Emergencies; Suresh Khushi Bhavnani, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Ongoing
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Green Cleaning: Exposure Characterization and Adoption Process Among Custodians; Timothy F. Morse, University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Dentistry; Completed
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Retrospective Assessment of Military Occupations & Neurodegenerative Diseases; Lorene M. Nelson, Stanford University; Ongoing
 Description in NIH RePORTER

Activities of Other Organizations

The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), in cooperation with their members Rumpke Consolidated and McNeilus Companies, developed a national campaign called Slow Down to Get Around. Messages from the campaign encourage motorists to identify stopped or slow moving refuse collection vehicles as work zones and to be careful as they pass them in either direction on the roadways. To reach the intended audience, campaign flyers are being inserted into billing statements by a large number of waste collection businesses.
Slow Down to Get Around website , accessed 12 August 2013)

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Industry – A third annual newsletter for the industry has been published by a Services Sector Council member, Gil Fried of the University of New Haven, and distributed to the industry contacts. This 3rd newsletter provided an overview of workplace violence prevention programs for the industry. The 1st and 2nd newsletters evaluated occupational injuries and fatalities data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the industry and sub sectors.

Questions or Comments?

Are you interested in partnering? Are you interested in posting information on activities involving you and/or your organization and related to a NORA Services goal? Contact the NORA Coordinator or the Services Program Coordinator at

Sidney C. Soderholm, PhD
NORA Coordinator
Cherie Estill, PhD
Services Sector Program Coordinator