Engineering Controls Program

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The NIOSH Engineering Controls Program seeks to protect workers by engineering interventions that can eliminate hazards or make work safer.

Featured Items

New Engineering Control for 3D Printers

3d printed part

Although 3D printing is still a new and rapidly growing field, some studies show that workers are experiencing exposures to emissions from 3D printing processes and suffering health effects from the exposures. NIOSH developed an effective engineering control solution to help protect workers from potentially harmful exposures. Researchers evaluated the engineering solutions using 20 3D printers operating at the same time in a simulated workspace. The number of particles measured in the room air was more than 20 times the background levels without the engineering controls but remained at or below background levels with the engineering controls in use. NIOSH researchers uploaded instructions and part files for the engineering control solution to make the solution publicly available. Users can freely download at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 3D print exchange under model #: 015467.


Engineering controls protect workers by removing or reducing hazardous conditions such as harmful dust or dangerous noise levels. Well-designed engineering controls can be highly effective in protecting workers through solutions like machine guards or local exhaust ventilation (LEV). The mission of the NIOSH Engineering Controls Program is to eliminate occupational diseases, injuries, and fatalities through a focused program of research and prevention across all industries and sectors. Traditionally, a hierarchy of controls approach has been an important tool for determining how to implement feasible and effective control solutions.

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.
  • Promote the application of Prevention through Design (PtD) as one of the best ways to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by “designing out” or minimizing hazards and risks using engineering control solutions.
Research Priorities

The Engineering Controls Program protects workers by removing or reducing occupational hazards. This is done by researching, developing, and promoting engineering technologies that block, filter, or otherwise reduce hazards. The Program works closely with the NIOSH Program Portfolio, including sectors and cross-sectors. Ten sector programs represent industrial sectors, and seven cross-sector programs are organized around health and safety outcomes. Engineering Controls is one of numerous core and specialty programs that represent core activities, mandates, special emphasis areas, and methodological approaches. The sector programs intersect with cross-sector programs in a matrix-like fashion, with relevant core and specialty programs playing a supporting role.

This approach allows multiple programs to work towards accomplishing the shared research goals in the NIOSH Strategic Plan. The Engineering Controls Program contributes to several goals for reducing hazardous exposures, including:


Program Performance One-pager
The Engineering Control Program Performance One-Pager offers a snapshot of the Program’s priorities, strategies, recent accomplishments, and upcoming work.

Success Stories

To learn more

More information and useful resources can be found in the NIOSH Directory of Engineering Controls.

Contact the NIOSH Engineering Controls Program at with any questions.

Page last reviewed: May 3, 2022