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Program Description

Exposure Assessment is the multi-disciplinary field that identifies and characterizes workplace exposures, develops estimates of exposure for exposure-response and risk assessment studies, and evaluates the significance of exposure and effectiveness of intervention strategies.

Thus, occupational exposure assessment is identification, characterization, estimation, and evaluation of workplace hazards. Throughout the entire process of exposure assessment, there is an informal iterative process of risk identification and management. At each stage, health professionals consider the available information and develop a course of action that may include continuing along the original exposure assessment process, determining that no further action is required, performing additional hazard identification, refining the exposure assessment, or improving or adding engineering and/or administrative controls.

The mission of the NIOSH Exposure Assessment Cross-Sector Area is to provide national and international leadership in the development and use of effective exposure assessment tools to prevent work-related illness and injury. The NIOSH Exposure Assessment Cross-Sector Area strives to fulfill its mission through:

  • High Quality Research: NIOSH and its international partners continually strive for high quality research and prevention activities that will lead to reductions in occupational injuries and illnesses among all workers.
  • Practical Solutions: NIOSH and its international partners are committed to developing practical solutions to the complex problems that cause occupational diseases, injuries, and fatalities among all workers.
  • Partnerships: NIOSH is committed to building and maintaining collaborative partnerships with international organizations in labor, industry, and government, as well as with other interested stakeholders. Fostering these partnerships is a cornerstone of the NIOSH the Exposure Assessment Cross-Sector Area and is essential for achieving successful outcomes.
  • Research to Practice ( r2p ): The Exposure Assessment Cross-Sector Area contributes to a strategy of transferring and translating exposure assessment methods and research findings into prevention practices and products that will be adopted in occupational settings. This contribution occurs through international research, technical assistance, capacity building, and information sharing.

The following Strategic Goals have been developed to ensure that NIOSH sector and cross-sector programs and external partners have and apply appropriate exposure assessment tools:

Strategic Goal 1: Develop or improve exposure assessment strategies to understand and prevent work-related illnesses and injuries.

Strategic Goal 2: Develop or improve specific methods and tools to assess worker exposures to critical occupational agents and stressors.

Intermediate Goals have also been developed to identify and reduce barriers and gaps in exposure assessment understanding and tools through communication, research, and service.

The Management Goals of Exposure Assessment Cross-Sector Area are to achieve the strategic goals of the exposure assessment emphasis area through oversight of annual and intermediate goals, and to provide evidence of outcomes and impacts. This includes decision-making concerning beginning and completing exposure assessment initiatives to meet stated goals.