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Input: Engineering Control Cross-Sector Research Agenda

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is located in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, within the Department of Health and Human Services. NIOSH was established in 1970 by the Occupational Safety and Health Act at the same time that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in the Department of Labor. The Act mandated NIOSH to conduct research and education programs separate from the standard-setting and enforcement functions conducted by OSHA. An important area of NIOSH research deals with methods for controlling occupational exposure to potential chemical, biological, radiological, and physical hazards.

The Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch (EPHB) of the Division of Applied Research and Technology (DART) has been given the lead within NIOSH to study and develop engineering controls and asses their impact on reducing occupational illness. Since 1976, EPHB (and its forerunner, the Engineering Control Technology Branch) has conducted a large number of studies to evaluate engineering control technology based upon industry, process, or control technique. The objective of each of these studies has been to develop, evaluate, and document the performance of control techniques in reducing potential health hazards in industry or for a specific process.

Although EPHB has been given the lead within NIOSH to study and develop engineering controls, other divisions within NIOSH also contain functions that conduct engineering control studies. For example, the Pittsburgh Research Lab (PRL) and Spokane Research Lab (SRL) have a long history of engineering research in the mineral extraction industries. Other divisions such as the Division of Safety Research (DSR) conduct engineering studies to protect workers from safety hazards in industry. The Division of Respiratory Disease Studies (DRDS) has a Laboratory Research Branch (LRB) and Field Studies Branch (FSB) that conduct engineering research related to respiratory diseases.

In 2006, the Engineering Control Cross-Sector was created from the new decade of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) under the new sector based approach. The new decade of NORA is organized into eight sectors and twenty-four cross-sectors. The primary purpose of the engineering control cross-sector is to guide engineering control research across all divisions within NIOSH and to interact with other NORA sector and cross-sector programs that have overlapping research interests. This strategic plan provides a description of the engineering control cross-sector program, economic factors, a list of our partners, and a detailed description of our program goals.

View the draft of the Engineering Control Cross-Sector Research Agenda [PDF - 104 KB] .