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Program Description

The mission of the NIOSH research program for the engineering control cross-sector is to eliminate occupational diseases, injuries, and fatalities through a focused program of research and prevention. The program strives to fulfill its mission through:

  • High Quality Research: NIOSH will continually strive for high quality research and prevention activities that will lead to reductions in occupational injuries and illnesses among workers through the reduction of exposures to hazardous substances and conditions.
  • Practical Solutions: The NIOSH program for the engineering control cross-sector is committed to the development of practical solutions to the complex problems that cause occupational diseases, injuries, and fatalities.
  • Partnerships: We recognize that collaborative efforts in partnership with labor, industry, government, and other stakeholders are usually the best means of achieving successful outcomes. Fostering these partnerships is a cornerstone of the NIOSH program for the engineering control cross-sector.
  • Research to Practice ( r2p ): We believe that our research only realizes it's true value when put into practice. Every research project within the NIOSH program for the engineering control cross-sector formulates a strategy to promote the transfer and translation of research findings into prevention practices and products that will be adopted in the workplace.

Controlling exposures to occupational hazards is the fundamental method of protecting workers. Traditionally, a hierarchy of controls has been used as a means of determining how to implement feasible and effective control solutions. One representation of this hierarchy can be summarized as follows:

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls
  • Personal Protective Equipment

NIOSH engineering control efforts include the following activities:

  • Plan and conduct research on engineering control technology to prevent worker exposures to hazards.
  • Promote the application of effective engineering control technology for safeguarding worker safety and health.
  • Provide expertise in formulating effective and credible workplace standards.
  • Provide consultation in the application of effective control solutions and techniques for hazard prevention.

Employing a hierarchy of controls, NIOSH scientists and engineers have worked collaboratively with companies, labor unions, trade associations, labor organizations, and local, State and Federal governments, both in the United States and around the world. This approach has allowed NIOSH and its partners to develop practical engineering controls in a cost-effective manner.