Updated April 8, 2022
The Manufacturing Program provides leadership to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among the nation’s 14.7 million manufacturing workers.
NIOSH research on silica in stone countertop finishing
There have been multiple cases recently in the United States of silicosis in engineered stone countertop workers, including deaths. These workers perform tasks such as cutting, grinding, drilling, and polishing that can release high levels of respirable dust into the breathing zone of the worker. Newer engineered stone materials may contain a much higher level of silica than natural stone.
To help address this issue, NIOSH researchers have studied engineering controls that may be used to reduce worker exposure to silica dust. Some of this work was featured in Stone Update Magazine, Avoiding the Silica Dust-up, Sometimes, it’s more than throwing water on the problemexternal icon. The article includes an interview with a NIOSH researcher and videos created by NIOSH during engineering control studies. Other NIOSH products include a science blog, Outbreak of Silicosis among Engineered Stone Countertop Workers in Four States, and an infographic.
NORA Manufacturing Sector Council COVID-19 workgroup publishes Ventilation Strategies to Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 in Manufacturingexternal icon and Small Business Respiratory Protection and Face Covering Guideexternal icon.
Ventilation and respiratory protection are controls effective in reducing rates of respiratory disease, including communicable diseases such as COVID-19. These controls are complex in their applications for the manufacturing environment. The Manufacturing Sector Council’s COVID-19 workgroup has created guidance on the application of these controls by manufacturers to promote safer workplaces.
The Manufacturing sector includes establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products under NAICS codes 31-33external icon. There are 21 manufacturing sub-sectors, including food, beverages, tobacco, textiles, petroleum, chemicals, metals, machinery, computers, transportation equipment, and furniture manufacturing. The largest sub-sectors are transportation equipment manufacturing, fabricated metal products manufacturing, and food manufacturing.
The Manufacturing Program has selected research priorities on the basis of burden, need, and impact and collaborated with other NIOSH research programs to write the research goals in the NIOSH Strategic Plan for FYs 2019-2024. The priority areas are:
- Reducing hazardous exposures in the workplace and related chronic conditions, such as cancer, reproductive disorders, and neurologic disorders
- Preventing hearing loss from exposure at work to loud noise or chemicals that damage hearing
- Reducing hazardous exposures to chemicals and related immune diseases
- Reducing musculoskeletal disorders, which are soft-tissue injuries caused by sudden or sustained exposure to repetitive motion, force, vibration, and awkward positions.
- Reducing three respiratory conditions: dust-induced respiratory diseases, fixed airways diseases and work-related asthma.
- Preventing injuries and fatalities due to contact with objects and equipment
The Manufacturing Program Performance One-pager offers a snapshot of NIOSH programs’ priorities, strategies used to make progress towards priorities, recent accomplishments, and upcoming work.
Learn more about health and safety issues related to manufacturing, such as hazardous energy control, musculoskeletal disorders, noise and hearing loss, respiratory health, and occupational cancer. Manufacturing workers are also among the first to be exposed to potential hazards of emerging technologies, such as advanced manufacturing, robotics and nanotechnology. Additionally, small businesses in manufacturing, like other industries, are challenged with fewer resources to devote to occupational safety and health.
The NIOSH Science Blog provides an opportunity to learn about various workplace safety and health topics and exchange ideas with leading researchers from NIOSH. Check out Manufacturing-themed NIOSH Science Blogs.
The Manufacturing Program helps lead the NORA Manufacturing Council, which brings together individuals and organizations to share information, form partnerships, and promote adoption and dissemination of solutions that work. The council seeks to facilitate the most important research, understand the most effective intervention strategies, and learn how to implement those strategies to achieve sustained improvements in workplace practice. The final version of the research agenda for the Manufacturing Council can be found here.
Contact Manufacturing Program leadership at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.