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Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Activities

Current NIOSH Intramural Projects
(TWU-related goals are addressed at least at 50% or greater)

Fatigue Prevention in Commercial Pilots in Alaska; Mary O'Connor, NIOSH; Ongoing
The purpose of this project is to partner with industry to identify, develop, and evaluate interventions to address pilot fatigue in Part 135 operators in Alaska. Part 135 includes commuter (scheduled) and on-demand (non-scheduled, or air taxi) operations. There are 263 Part 135 operators in Alaska; they range from small companies with one aircraft to larger operations with multiple aircraft and many pilots. Part 135 operations often require flexibility in scheduling due to weather, limited staff, and maintenance and positioning challenges. Therefore, unique solutions may be required, and a "one-size fits all" approach is unlikely to be effective.

Evaluating Interventions for Airplane Cargo Baggage Handling; Ming Lu, NIOSH, Ongoing
The objective of this project is to assess the impact of ergonomic interventions on incidence rates and costs of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in baggage handlers working in the airport tarmac area, where airplanes are parked for services at a terminal gate. In addition to the existing intervention (automatic baggage stacking assisting system) in the workplace, two other interventions (vacuum lifting system and plastic bag slider) for reducing intensities of manual baggage handling will be introduced and evaluated through a prospective study design with a control group.

Breast Cancer Incidence among Former Pan Am Flight Attendants; Lynn Pinkerton, NIOSH; Ongoing
This study will evaluate the incidence of breast cancer and other cancers among a cohort of approximately 10,000 women who worked for Pan American World Airways as a flight attendant for one or more years. The primary analysis will evaluate the relationship between the primary exposures of interest (cosmic ionizing radiation and circadian rhythm disruption) and the risk of breast cancer in the cohort. The secondary analysis will compare the incidence of breast cancer among flight attendants to that in the general population, adjusting for non-occupational risk factors that may be associated with both breast cancer risk and employment status.

Flight Crew Studies; Barbara Grajewsk, NIOSH; Ongoing
The overall objective is to determine whether work as an aircrew member is hazardous to health. Health effects under investigation include menstrual function, pregnancy outcome, infertility, cancer, respiratory symptoms, job stress, physical demands and overall mortality. To meet this objective, the studies include assessment of the air cabin environment for multiple workplace exposures which may impact health, including radiation, travel through time zones, and cabin air quality.

Assessment Technology and Intervention for Package Drivers; Christopher Pan, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project will research causal factors at the worksite by developing new, innovative and miniaturized electronic exposure-assessment instrumentation that will allow researchers to understand what the driver was doing when risk factors emerged, and how vibration, manual material handling and fall potential all converge to produce an injury event.

Strengthening Occupational Health Surveillance through BRFSS; Aaron Sussell, NIOSH; Ongoing
Purpose of project is to add industry and occupation (I/O) questions to CDC’s Behavioral Risk factor Surveillance System (BRFFS) to leverage a large and highly successful CDC population- and state-based surveillance system to collect (I/O) information annually from 2013 to 2016.

Evaluation of an intervention to reduce collisions in light and intermediate size truck drivers; Jennifer Bell, NIOSH; Ongoing
The primary purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of two types of feedback to the driver on their unsafe driving behaviors (in-cab lights and in-cab lights plus supervisory feedback of safety critical events [SCEs]) to reduce collisions, near collisions and other SCEs. Secondary purposes are to estimate the duration of time after onset of feedback to achieve the maximum reduction of SCE rates, the maintenance of the reduction in SCEs following withdrawal of the feedback, the attitudes and perceptions associated with the program, and return on investment of the program from reduction of motor vehicle injuries and reduction in maintenance and fuel costs.

Taxi Driver Survey on Motor Vehicle Safety and Workplace; Cammie Menendez, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project describes the occurrence of motor vehicle events among taxicab drivers and evaluates workplace violence events among taxicab drivers. The occurrence of motor vehicle events among taxicab drivers will be used to design an evaluation of a preventive measure.

Evaluation of Commercial Vehicle Active Safety Systems and their Effect on Truck Driver Behavior; Christopher Pan, NIOSH; Ongoing
This project analyzes the effect of active safety systems on professional truck driver behavior, on corresponding driver reactions, and on risk factors related to professional driver safety. Active safety systems refers to driving safety systems or devices that help avoid crashes by providing warnings (e.g., forward crash warnings) or taking actions (e.g., crash mitigation braking systems).

Recently Completed NIOSH Intramural Projects
(TWU-related goals are addressed at least at 50% or greater)

Impact of a Truck Driver Public Health Practice Project; Edward Hitchcock, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this PHP Project is to critically evaluate new training products currently being developed as part of a FY07-9 NIOSH Public Health Practice Project (PHPP) titled "training to reduce possible broad impacts of work-related sleep loss". The PHPP training products consisted of a low-cost, web-based curriculum derived from accumulated information from NIOSH and the broader scientific community and specifically tailored for dissemination to four types of workers: nurses, retail workers, miners/blue collar workers, and truck drivers.

Induction of Lung Fibrosis by Cerium Oxide in Diesel Exhaust; Jane Ma, NIOSH; Completed
Our hypothesis is that cerium oxide will cause lung inflammation, pulmonary fibrosis, and further dampen the host defense mechanism against bacterial infection in response to diesel exhaust particulate (DEP) exposure. By identifying factors involved in the immune/inflammatory cascade, this study will provide understanding of cerium oxide- and DEP-induced cell responses and their chronic effect on the development of lung diseases.

Aviation Safety in Alaska; Mary O'Connor, NIOSH; Completed
This project is designed to reduce the number of work-related fatalities and injuries in the aviation industry. This goal is reached by collaborating with industry to improve our collective knowledge of aviation industry hazards, and by working together to implement effective safety interventions.

Evaluation of Workplace Violence Safety Ordinances for Taxi Drivers; Cammie Menendez, NIOSH; Completed
The Multi-City Study is one of three separate yet complementary projects designed to determine the role taxicab safety equipment plays in reducing workplace violence-related homicides, injuries from assaults, and robberies.

Health and Injury Survey of Truck Drivers; Karl Sieber, Guang Chen, NIOSH; Completed
The overall objective of this project was to develop and conduct a national survey that provided for the occupational safety and health surveillance needs of truck drivers. This objective was achieved through five specific aims: (1) Design and pilot test a survey instrument that will provide data on working conditions, wellness, health behavior, and injuries among truck drivers; (2) Conduct the survey at approximately 50 truck stops across all major regions of the U.S.; (3) Compile and analyze the survey results; (4) Determine the prevalence of health conditions and risk factors; characterize working conditions, injury causes and outcomes, and health behaviors; and explore associations among health status, individual risk factors, and occupational exposures related to work organization and hours of service; and (5) Share results with stakeholders, the general public including workers, labor organizations, industry carriers, and the scientific and regulatory community including researchers, governmental agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association and safety and health professionals.

Reduction of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Baggage Handlers at TSA; Ming-Lun Lu, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of the project was to provide ergonomic expertise to assist TSA in reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) due to manual baggage screening and handling operations. The goals of the project included (1) determining risks of WMSDs due to different manual baggage lifting and handling operations at airports of different sizes, (2) prioritizing the risks of WMSDs for designing interventions that can effectively reduce the risk of WMSDs associated with the assessed baggage screening operations, (3) evaluating the effectiveness of commercially available lifting assist devices in reducing the risk of WMSDs, and (4) providing consultation on designing airport baggage screening operations.

Improved Truck Cab Design through Applied Anthropometry; Jinhua Guan, NIOSH; Completed
The goal of this project was to establish an anthropometric database of U.S. truck drivers for the design of ergonomically efficient truck cabs. This study collected anthropometric and workspace data for over 2,000 truck drivers across the United States and traditional anthropometric measurements were collected on 1,950 truck drivers. In addition, 3-D whole body digital scans, truck cab workspace measurements as well as traditional anthropometric measurements were collected from and additional 160 - 200 truck drivers. Truck cab accommodation models were developed based on these data and shared with industry partners.

Comparison of Existing AFCS and Proposed AFCS 200; Duane Hammond, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this project was to evaluate new sorting equipment at the U.S. Postal Service and the ability of this equipment to detect anthrax. NIOSH engineers conducted tracer gas, smoke, and air velocity testing for the equipment at a U.S. Postal Processing and Distribution Facility. This methodology evaluated capture efficiency of the biohazard detection system (BDS) on an existing and proposed advanced facer canceller system (AFCS) mail processing machine.

Control of Carbon Monoxide on Houseboats and Marine Vessels; Alberto Garcia, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this project was to assist manufacturers and governmental agencies in evaluating and recommending controls to reduce carbon monoxide poisonings on recreational boats. Methods being used to conduct this research include air sampling with a variety of technologies and computer modeling with FLUENT software to assist in evaluating more complex issues. Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling is being used to evaluate the effect of worst case ambient conditions, including temperature and wind velocity, on carbon monoxide dispersion characteristics. Results of the CFD modeling are being shared with both the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA.

Work Organization Influence on Fatigue in Truck Drivers; Edward Hitchcock, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between exogenous organizational and industry factors (e.g., scheduling practices, economic pressures, wage schemes, types of freight) and endogenous driver factors such as fatigue and circadian disruption that in turn may negatively impact safety by increasing crash risk in commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators.

Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders among Forklift Operators; Thomas Waters, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which forklift operators may be at increased risk of neck and back pain due to the extreme twisted trunk and neck postures and exposure to whole body vibration required during typical operation of a forklift vehicle.

Detection of DNA Damage in Workers Exposed to JP-8 Jet Fuel; Mary Butler, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this project was to characterize the potential genotoxic health hazard associated with occupational exposure to jet propulsion fuel-8 (JP-8) and its civilian equivalents in both military and civilian occupations.

Mortality of Independent Truck Drivers; Toni Alterman, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this project was to provide a summary of mortality results for truck drivers who are independent owner-operators. Previous research has shown truck drivers to be at increased risk of cancers of the lung, prostate, bladder, and stomach, myocardial infarction, hypertension, and ulcers. Although the literature does not distinguish between company drivers and independent owner-operator truck drivers, this group of drivers may be at increased risk of mortality from cancer and stress-related diseases. Independent truck drivers are likely to face increased financial pressures, isolation, and other occupational and social risk factors.

Safety Training for Workers with Developmental Disabilities; Sherry Baron, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this project was to address the need for increased health and safety training for workers with developmental disabilities (DD) by creating and promoting a basic occupational safety and health curriculum to be used by the organizations that support adults with DD in the workplace and by the employers who hire from this population. The project will adapt existing NIOSH developed curriculum for young workers for use with workers with DD.

Silent 911 Dialer; Shengke Zeng, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this project was to develop a low-cost wireless emergency dialer for the taxi services industry (NAICS 48531), which has the highest homicide rate among all sub-sectors, in order to enable taxi drivers to silently communicate with the rescue unit and/or colleague/family members of their emergency status when they face the danger of assault, robbery or murder. This project is to develop a silent emergency dialer which consists of a wireless trigger and a mobile phone docking device for taxi drivers.

Toxicity of Moon Dusts; Patti Erdely, NIOSH; Completed
This project was a direct response to a request from NASA from hazard assessment and dose-response data evaluating the health risk from pulmonary exposure to moon dust. The project had the following aims: (1) expose mice by pharyngeal aspiration and rats by intratracheal instillation to various concentrations of moon dust (2) evaluate pulmonary inflammation and damage markers in alveolar lavage fluid; and (3) evaluate histopathology of the lung.

Promoting Global Initiatives for Occupational Road Safety; Jane Hingston, NIOSH; Completed
The purpose of this project was to demonstrate the injury reduction and economic benefit of workplace initiatives to prevent road traffic injuries among workers in the U.S. and globally, so that these approaches will be incorporated into the ongoing global road safety initiatives. At the same time, the project promoted inclusion of workplace initiatives that highlight problems and solutions for working people into existing World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank international initiatives on global road safety.

NIOSH Extramural Projects

Go to the NIH project summary website ( ) and key in project officer/principal investigator name to see a detailed description and details about active projects related to TWU.

Warning beacons for front line service worker safety; Mark S Rea, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Ongoing
Description in NIH RePORTER

A miniaturized gas chromatography with MEMS-Enables selective pre-concentration for monitoring exposure to transportation-related and other workplaces; Masoud Agah, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Ongoing
Description in NIH RePORTER

Assessing and reducing taxi drivers’ exposure to ultrafine particles; Yifang Zhu, University of California Los Angeles
Description in NIH RePORTER

Risk Factors for Crashes in a Retrospective Cohort Study of Commercial Truck Drivers; Matthew Thiese, University of Utah; Ongoing
Description in NIH RePORTER

Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Commercial Drivers; Indira Gurubhagavatula, University of Pennsylvania; Ongoing
Description in NIH RePORTER

Effects and Feasibility of a Computer-based Intervention on Truck Driver's Sleep; Karen Heaton, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Ongoing
Description in NIH RePORTER

Using New Technologies to Characterize and Reduce Whole Body Vibration Exposures; Peter W. Johnson, University of Washington; Ongoing
Description in NIH RePORTER

Assessing Occupational Electric Shocks, Magnetic Fields and ALS; Leeka Kheifets, University of California, Los Angles; Ongoing
Description in NIH RePORTER

NORA TWU Sector Council

March 2014 – TWU Sector Council Meeting held in Washington, DC. Council discussed progress of NORA TWU agenda goals. Council discussed activities to be conducted before NORA 2 concludes and NORA 3 begins.

February 2014 – Transit focused webinar was hosted by NIOSH. The topic was Best-Practices for Improving Bus Operator Health and Retention by Robin Gillespie, Transportation Learning Center.

February 2013 – Transit industry sub-sector meeting held at NIOSH Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This meeting had brief presentations from NIOSH researchers and partners on ongoing research related to the trucking industry.

February 2012 – Aviation industry sub-sector meeting held at NIOSH Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This meeting had brief presentations from NIOSH researchers and partners on ongoing research related to the aviation industry.

October 2011 – National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS) 2011 in Morgantown WV. Several members made presentations and had posters.

July 2011 – NORA 2011 Symposium in Cincinnati. Several members made presentations and had posters. The posters and full program are available on-line at .

June 2011 – Annual meeting of executives of the Transport Workers Union of America in San Francisco. NIOSH had an exhibit and handed out TWU and NORA materials.

May 2011 – Warehousing Education and Research Council annual conference in Orlando. NIOSH had an exhibit and handed out TWU and NORA materials.

February 2011 – Trucking industry sub-sector meeting held at NIOSH Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This meeting had brief presentations from NIOSH researchers and partners on ongoing research related to the trucking industry. This was a great information-sharing opportunity and it was apparent that there are considerable research and related activities underway to advance safety and TWU goals in the trucking industry.

November 2010 – The USDOT Transportation Research Board/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-sponsored the International Conference on Commercial Driver Health and Wellness in Baltimore. Members organized and held two sessions focused on obesity.

July 2010 – Warehousing industry subsector meeting. This meeting was held in collaboration with the NIOSH Wholesale and Retail Trade Sector and the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) Cross-sector Programs. This meeting presented a unique opportunity for a discussion of problems related to MSDs and potential solutions. One outcome of the meeting was the Manual Materials Handling Workshop originally scheduled to be held in Cincinnati in October 2011. Due to a number of factors, this workshop has been rescheduled for February 8-9, 2012 at the Georgia World Congress center in Atlanta (see ).

August 2009National TWU Agenda was finalized.

March 2009 – TWU Sector Council Meeting held in Washington, DC. Council members prioritized strategic and intermediate goals and developed ways to disseminate the research agenda.

July 2008 – National TWU Agenda was posted on the NIOSH website for public comments.

July 2008 – TWU Sector Council Meeting at the NORA Symposium held in Denver, CO

March 2008 – TWU Sector Council Meeting held in Washington, DC. Developed intermediate goals based on workplace safety and health issues in the TWU sector.

March 2007 – TWU Sector Council Meeting held in Washington, DC. Developed four strategic goals based on workplace safety and health issues in the TWU sector.

November 2006 – First TWU Sector Council meeting held in Washington, DC. Identification of workplace safety and health issues in the TWU sector.

April 2006 – NORA Symposium breakout session to focus on the TWU sector safety and health issues.

January 2006 – TWU Sector began solicitation of public comments through a NIOSH docket.

December 2005 – TWU Town Hall meeting in College Park, MD.

Questions or Comments?

Are you interested in partnering? Are you interested in posting information on activities you and/or your organization is involved in related to a NORA TWU goal? Contact the NORA Coordinator, Sid Soderholm, or the TWU Sector Program Coordinator, Karl Sieber at

Sidney C. Soderholm, PhD
NORA Coordinator
Karl Sieber, PhD
TWU Sector Program Coordinator