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workers sampling, testing, and report

Inputs: Partnerships & Stakeholders


The following persons can requests an HHE and are the Program’s primary customers

  • An employer
  • A union representing the affected employees for purposes of collective bargaining
  • An employee representing at least two other employees at the workplace in question
  • A single employee, if the worksite of concern has three or fewer employees
  • A federal agency safety and health committee (at least one-half of the members must be in agreement)
  • Federal agency employees not covered by a certified safety and health committee
  • The Secretary of Labor, in the case of a federal agency

NIOSH is specifically authorized to conduct HHEs in the following types of workplaces:

  • Workplaces covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This includes private sector workplaces, unless occupational safety and health issues fall under the jurisdiction of another agency (e.g., railroads, airlines).
  • Workplaces covered by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.
  • Federal agencies including civilian employees of the military services.

Employees can request confidentiality, i.e., their name will not be revealed to the employer. Requests for technical assistance from requesters and workplaces not included in the Occupational Safety and Health Act are conducted in the same manner as an HHE except that the HHE Program has no legal recourse should the employer decline to permit all or part of the evaluation. Requests for HHEs can be made using the HHE request form, by letter, or electronically using the form available on the NIOSH website.

For statistical purposes, the HHE Program classifies its customers as employees, unions, management, government, and other. Figure 1 shows the distribution of customers for the past five years. Employees constitute the largest group of HHE requestors.

Figure 1. HHE requests by requestor: 2008 – 2012

Chart of HHE requests by requestor: 2008-2012, Employees 51 percent, Employers 24 percent, Other 12 percent, Union 10 percent, Government 3 percent

Although the primary customers of the NIOSH HHE Program are the employees and employers who submit requests for investigations, employers and employees in non-investigated facilities are also customers. Workers in similar workplaces or workers using the same substance but in a different process receive added protection once the information relating health effects to exposure becomes widely disseminated and other employers adopt HHE Program recommendations in their facilities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the national and local levels also is a customer of the HHE Program. Nationally, OSHA uses data generated by the HHE program to support rulemaking. Local OSHA offices often refer employees or employers to the HHE Program or request technical assistance from the HHE Program as an offshoot of their own investigations. Other government agencies at the federal, state, and local level also are customers. In some cases agency managers ask the HHE Program to address problems in their own facilities. In other cases, agencies ask the HHE Program to help them carry out their mandate.


In addition to the specific customers noted above, many NIOSH stakeholders have a vested interest in the results of HHEs including organized labor, industry trade associations, and insurance companies. These stakeholders have informally told HHE Program managers and staff that they rely on the HHE Program's thoroughness and objectivity to propose solutions to problems that affect their clientele.


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